Neversoft’s Guitar Hero 5, the fourth and latest Guitar Hero game for the Nintendo Wii in the last year, contains several improvements over prior releases which unfortunately cancel out when compared to its glitches and frustrations imposed on the player.
What are the strengths of Guitar Hero 5? First of all, this installment loads up faster and quicker than any of the previous games. For example, Guitar Hero Metallica took a few extra clicks to get through the acknowledgment screens, wasting valuable playing time.
The menu screen is more user friendly and cuts right to the chase of rocking out clubs and stadiums. Career mode is now based solely on the amount of stars earned for performances rather than cash and the “GH Studio” feels more accurate than ever when you want to work on your songs. There is also a new option called “Roadie Battle” which requires a Nintendo DS. During a Guitar Face-Off, friends can fix your equipment and annoy the opposition from the DS.
Seriously dude, that is so weak: If you are an avid user of the old games you might find the game play to be very awkward, especially in the beginning. The timing is very different causing you to earn say 3 stars instead of 5. At first you may try to adjust the calibration, thinking that the problem is your HDTV. However, the calibration mode is different as well and is unreliable to automatically fix the lags and timing problem. After manually adjusting the video and audio lags for 30 minutes, I finally found a somewhat acceptable setting, but still far from perfect.
Wii users now have the option of playing songs that they downloaded from Guitar Hero World Tour, but you have to download a free add-on from the Wii Music Store (at the present time the Wii Music Store does not work with this game…ugh).
On to the set list: Perhaps the greatest frustration and weakness of Guitar Hero 5 is the song selection. One would think that the Guitar Hero title would define the types of guitar players and bands chosen. In the past, GH games contain approximately one song by a band that no one cares about for every ten classic songs by an established act of rock music. On GH5 that ratio favors the unestablished. For example, you might have to play through Scars on Broadway, The Screaming Trees, Arctic Monkeys, Darker My Love, and Kaiser Chiefs just to get to a Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, or Queen track.
Characters featured in the game include guitar legend Carlos Santana, man in black Johnny Cash, killer of rock music Kurt Cobain, Shirley Manson of one hit wonder (“Stupid Girl” was not that big) Garbage, and Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy. World Tour clearly offered a stronger cast with Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Travis Barker, and Sting and GH Metallica gave us rock giants Lemmy and King Diamond.
Is this game worth $59.99? Due to the series of frustrations, I would recommend this game only to serious fans of the GH franchise and to people that purchase the game before October 1, 2009 since you can get Guitar Hero Van Halen for free. I would recommend GH Metallica, Smash Hits, and World Tour over Guitar Hero 5 for the smoother game play and stronger track selection for fans of rock music -Meds
Note: My Guitar Hero instrument of preference is the drums on expert mode which was used as my main reference point throughout the test. This game was also tested on a Sony Bravia LCD HDTV. Also, a couple of weird things happened during my first run with the game. The drum pads reversed on me without changing to lefty mode and Shirley Manson’s name blocked the hit line during the entire song. A restart of the game remedied these issues.