Guitar Hero 5 Preview

Guitar Hero 5 Preview

Activison has not been shy about releasing Guitar Hero games since it acquired the property from Harmonix in 2006. We’ve seen Aerosmith and Metallica specific editions, as well as Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, which all act as glorified song packs to varying degrees. However, the main series is where we see steps forward in game play. Guitar Hero 3 brought the game to all three major home consoles, and Guitar Hero World Tour introduced a drum kit and microphone. So what does Guitar Hero 5 herald as the next music game revolution? Flexibility.

Guitar Hero 5’s major selling point is the ability for players to drop in and out of songs with any instrument. You can play lead guitar from the opening, have a friend jump in mid-song on the drums, and have another join in on lead guitar, on the fly, for the final shredding solo. The only instrument restrictions will be physically having the hardware, so unless friends are lugging their instruments over to have a drum quartet, expect to have a familiar Guitar Hero experience. However, those who are always stuck on bass will now have the option to switch things up. How smaller or standard definition TVs will handle the clutter of having four note highways remains uncertain.

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Competitive multiplayer is also receiving an update. “Rock Fest” contains five new modes such as “momentum,” and can be played with four locally and up to eight online. Mode descriptions have not been released. Other multiplayer tweaks include players having their own star power meters that can spill into band mates’ meters as it overflows.

The career mode will also be receiving a revamp. The instrument-specific careers are being replacing by a single one – you can choose any combination of instruments for any song. The refreshed career also has goal oriented “challenges,” where rather than just finishing a song, objectives include scoring the most points in star power or hitting the whammy bar as much as possible on sustained notes.

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Any music game’s existence relies on its track list, and Activision is boasting 85 on-disc songs from 83 artists including Megadeth, Tom Petty, Iron Maiden, Bon Jovi, and Johnny Cash. And most of the Guitar Hero World Tour downloadable songs will also cross over into Guitar Hero 5 with the new flexibility features added. However, Activision has not confirmed the ability to rip the songs from World Tour to console hard drives to play with Guitar Hero 5. Rock Band, Guitar Hero’s largest competitor, allowed the majority of songs from the first game to be transferred to the sequel, but if recent Guitar Hero titles like Metallica and Smash Hits are any indication, it seems Activision might be content with having you switch discs.

If you are still yearning for your music game fix, Guitar Hero 5 is set to release on September 1, 2009 in North America for the Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360.

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