previews\ Mar 12, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Guitar Hero Metallica - WII - Preview

Imagine, if you will, seven or more juke boxes in the same general rooming space, all playing different songs. Add to that din this element – the songs are player directed, in that the person in control of the juke box can alter or vary the song to some degree. If you can imagine that, you have a decent handle on the cacophony emanating from the Temple Night Club in San Francisco when Activision hosted a media event to allow hands-on time with the upcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica release.

The game itself is a great tribute to Metallica, featuring songs that span the ages, starting back in the 1980s. In addition, there are 21 guest artists contributing a song to the expansion, and while apparently Metallica selected the artists, this is an eclectic mix from Lynryd Skynyrd and Bob Seger to Slayer, Alice in Chains, Corrosion of Conformity, Judas Priest and System of a Down. (Ok, the other bands are Diamond Head, Foo Fighters, Kyuss, Machine Head, Mastodon, Mercy Fate, Michael Schenker Group, Queen, Samhain, Social Distortion, Suicidal Tendencies, The Sword and Thin Lizzy.)

For those unfamiliar with Guitar Hero, the Metallica release is based off the World Tour edition, which features the guitar and bass, drums and microphone for the four-player band set-up. The peripherals are not included with the Metallica title. This is a rhythm-based game in which players match scrolling note bars with color-coded keys on the instruments (for vocals, there is a pitch meter).

The Metallica release features 28 tracks from the title band, and that list includes:

  • All Nightmare Long

  • Battery

  • Creeping Death

  • Disposable Heroes

  • Dyers Eve

  • Enter Sandman

  • Fade To Black

  • Fight Fire With Fire

  • For Whom The Bell Tolls

  • Frantic

  • Fuel

  • Hit The Lights

  • King Nothing

  • Master of Puppets

  • Mercyful Fate

  • No Leaf Clover

  • Nothing Else Matters

  • One

  • Orion

  • Sad But True

  • Seek And Destroy

  • The Memory Remains

  • The Shortest Straw

  • The Thing That Should Not Be

  • The Unforgiven

  • Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

  • Wherever I May Roam

  • Whiplash

What makes the Metallica tracks so amazing are not only the length of the song, but the instrumentality that goes with them. The songs often vary tempo, going from lyrical phrases that could almost be considered to border on the ballad format, to crunching guitar riffs with furious note strings that will challenge players.

Of course, there are those who have mastered the whole GH experience on the expert setting. Well, for them the development crew at Neversoft has added an expert+ difficulty setting. But even at the relatively tame medium setting, some of the Metallica songs were finger-twisting excursions into the realms of endurance. A few times it almost felt easier to play the songs at the hard setting as opposed to the medium.

And the group of media assembled for this hands-on assault was rather diverse. There were those that could play on the hard settings (at least) and still carry on coherent conversations with others, and those who sat behind the drums and were a blur of motion as they tackled the more difficult game settings, and did it well. When you first hear someone who can’t really sing belt out Enter Sandman at the top of his voice, two things immediately come to mind – the first is the broad and enduring appeal of Metallica; the second is that some people should not be allowed near an open microphone when music is playing.

Still, the event was a great look at the upcoming title, which is one that should definitely appeal to Guitar Hero gamers – whether they are die-hard Metallica fans or not. A challenge is always welcomed in the Guitar Hero universe, and when you couple that with some outstanding music, you have the ingredients of a sure-fire winner.

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