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E3 07: Guitar Hero 3 Hands on

Posted by: Chuck at 7/13/2007 2:13 AM
With all the hype about Rock Band at E3 this week it seems like Guitar Hero 3 is getting lost in the shuffle. This is a shame as Red Octane and Neversoft have managed to really tune and polish an already great game and I think a lot of people are going to miss a very solid evolution of the this segment of the industry.

The user interface has received a lot of attention and everything is much more streamlined than the Guitar Hero 2 interface. Bonus and downloaded tracks now have their own separate tabs on the song selection screen which makes it easy to quickly get to new tracks. The Red Octane person I met with did confirm that they will have several new tracks ready to go with the launch of the game and they are planning on making a lot of new content available after the game ships.

The characters have all received a major overhaul and there are several new playable characters including Midori Sour a j-pop type singer. 

The new head to head competitive mode is a lot of fun especially since you can now play the game online. As you play the game you can pick up power ups which you can use against other player. These are activated in the same way you use Star power and you can do things like increase the difficulty level of your opponent, break on of their strings (which forces you to tap one of the buttons to fix it), damage their whammy bar, double their notes, and a few other fun things. I know it sounds a bit like a gimmick but playing against someone and being able to sabotage their game is a lot of fun.

Red Octane was also showing off their new wireless guitars and those with the money to splurge on new guitars as there are several new improvements. Red Octane has moved the Xbox 360 system up the neck of the guitar so that you don’t have to worry about pushing it accidentally while you are playing. They also increased the size of the start and Star power buttons so they are more inline with the old PS2 guitar. One interesting new feature is that the neck of the guitar comes off for easy storage and for “future potential” uses…take that how you will but I’m thinking we could see some new guitar add ons from Red Octane in the future. The guitars also have removable faceplates and there will be a wide variety of faceplates for you to purchase to further customize your guitar. I’m just hoping someone comes up with a blank one so that you can create your own faceplates. 

The biggest feature is that the new guitars are wireless. Not being connected to the controller is nice and should allow gamers to really rock out with the guitars. The guitars are a little heavier than the old Explorer guitars but it’s really not too bad. The only problem I had with the guitars is that they really didn’t pick up some of my star power moves that well. Hopefully that’s either a problem with the demo unit or a problem with the operator (i.e. me).

Also new to the game is the concept of boss battles. We found out that there will be three bosses in the game with two of them being real people and one of them being a fictional one created for the game. Slash has already been introduced as one of the bosses and I was unable to get any more info on the other boss in the game. The boss battles are fun and I’m guessing Slash is the first boss you defeat because I was able to take him out in my time with the game. I think GH3 is going to be another great game in the series and hopefully it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle later this year.