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Fred Rocks Out to Guitar Hero 5

Published October 20, 2009 in Console Games
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Guitar Hero 5Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

Guitar Hero can live in harmony with Rock Band. They’re different games and they have different songs, so you can enjoy the advantages of both and switch back and forth at will. Who cares what came first? Just build off each other and make the best games for us.

Gaming Review: Guitar Hero 5

I love the competitive modes new to Guitar Hero 5. Momentum kicks my ass when it goes up to expert. Do or Die is fun, you can streak sections and maybe your strengths will be the difference between you passing a section instead of your opponent. In Pro Face-Off, missing one note can be the tie breaker. You lose your multiplier and you’ll never catch up. Sure, other games have competitive modes too, but I enjoy these unique challenges.

It is surprisingly hard to find online players. Maybe they’re all Expert level and I’m slumming it at Hard. Or maybe I’m staying up past the 12-year-olds’ bedtime. I can usually find a player or two during the day. Once you learn the songs, you can strategize against your opponents picking set lists and voting for which competition mode serves your strengths.

The catalog included is good. Ramstein is not as hard as I expected. Like most songs, once you figure out what it’s asking you to do, it makes sense. “Scatterbrain” is the new “Through the Fires and Flames.” That’s not even a song. It’s just notes. I will still need to practice some of the songs. “Saturday Nights’ All Right For Fighting,” I’ll have to find the right place to keep my hand for the chord switches. Some you can figure out after a verse or two, like “Sex on Fire.” Some are just intuitive, like “Ring of Fire, Feel Good Inc.” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

Since I do most of my playing solo, I really like the additional challenges in career mode. There’s something for one of the instruments on each song. As a guitarist, I like the streak and multiplier challenges because I’ll just do my best. For multipliers, you can use your star power to jump from 2x to 4x, or 3x to 6x as the challenge demands. For streaks, I just won’t try any risky whammies or star powers. The whammy ones are hard though. I usually mess up some notes trying to whammy up, and I still can’t get gold.

I really like the nonlinear career path, and the gigs that let you pick the song. If there’s one that comes with a challenge for chords or streaks, you can pick a song appropriate for it. “Song 2” has enough chords.

Importing old songs is great. I finally got “Jessie’s Girl” working. It had glitches on GH:WT. You can’t take everything from Smash Hits so you’ll want to keep that game around. And they didn’t include an import for GH: Metallica. Oh well, sorry Metallica fans.

GH5 has great songs. You’ll actually want to play the bass part to “Under Pressure” because that’s the part you hum. Sometimes it seems like they fudge it, like I think you’re actually strumming the horn part on “Superstition” but that’s okay. It’s fun.

Everything comes unlocked for Quickplay so you can start your parties. I guess you kind of don’t need Career mode at that point but it’s habit now.

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Fred Topel
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