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Guitar Hero Metellica XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 9.1
Graphics 8.0
Sound 9.5
Value 9.1
Distributor: Activision
Review Date:
August 2008
Andrew Bistak


Guitar Hero Metallica

You immediately know that you are in for a treat from the spectacular opening sequence of Guitar Hero Metallica which features the band majestically walking into a stadium with music taken directly from a Western film. Even the characters in the game look like their real-world counterparts such as Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield thanks to the Metallica agreeing to be motion captured for the title. It's these little things that makes the game so damn good and Guitar Hero Metallica is one of those games <cue record scratch sound> ... provided you like Metallica!


  • Becoming the Band – For the first time ever, Guitar Hero Metallica will allow fans to come together and thrash as the explosive, world-renown metal and rock band, Metallica, whose album sales have exceeded 100 million worldwide. Transform into metal legends Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo as full body scans and signature moves motion capture allow players to virtually experience the high intensity of a Metallica performance.

  • Live Like Metal Legends – Follow the path of the metal legends in either single instrument or band career game modes playing as the band to a soundtrack of their greatest hits while also rocking with over 20 additional artists selected by the band. Featuring in-the-round stage designs and custom camera angles new to Guitar Hero, further highlighted by custom lightshows, special effects and encores, gamers and Metallica fans alike can fulfill their rock ‘n’ roll fantasies in a variety of new and famous settings, ranging from Tushino Airfield to The Forum. All venues reflect Metallica’s most memorable tours including themes from their album artwork to offer the authentic Metallica atmosphere.

  • Drum Like Lars – In addition to using the redesigned, more responsive and advanced Guitar Hero World Tour guitar controller and microphone, Metallica fans will truly be able to pound like Lars on the drums with a second bass pedal compatible with the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit controller. The all-new “Expert+” difficulty level gives gamers access to the double bass drum note track which offers the authentic Metallica experience with a note-for-note translation of many tracks appearing in-game and adds a new difficulty option to all gameplay modes.

  • Seek and Destroy – Immerse yourself in themed Battle Mode attacks, such as briefly blacking out your fellow rocker’s note track or modifying the amp overload to include the signature Metallica lightening.

  • Test Your Metal – After nailing a song, test your Metallica know-how by replaying the song with trivia pop-ups. The on-screen displays give information about the song being played, and with guest artist songs, information about how the band is tied to Metallica will be displayed along with details such as band history and lyrics.

  • Off to Never Never Land – Guitar Hero Metallica is loaded with tons of bonuses throughout the game, such as unlockable venues, commentary, videos and behind the scenes footage, giving all Metallica fans exclusive content to enjoy.

  • All that Remains – Guitar Hero Metallica cranks all the great features, gameplay and fun of Guitar Hero World Tour to a new level with updates to the Music Studio featuring samples from James Hetfield’s ESP Truckster guitar and of Slayer fame, Tom Araya’s signature ESP bass guitar, GHTunesSM, and the Rock Star Creator. Online game modes allow competing gamers to see who tops the charts in Face-Off, Pro Face-Off, eight-player “Battle of the Bands” and Battle Mode as well as the online Quickplay mode that allows up to four gamers to shred together regardless of physical location.

With Aerosmith one of the first bands to appear in their own Guitar Hero spinoff, it was inevitable that other bands would follow and Metallica is the latest band to follow in their steps. Of course Aerosmith had a mixed reaction to the gaming community and fortunately both Activision and Neversoft  have ensured not to make the same mistake twice and have included a few new tweaks and additions to this current game.

Although at its heart, Guitar Hero Metallica is almost a carbon copy of previous titles in the series, however new tweaks such as the ability to unlock new venues and songs through the collection of stars makes for a much smoother and less frustrating experience. What these means to the gamer is that as you play, the more stars that you earn for perfect playing will assist in opening up new venues and tracks.

Also, by completing songs, gamers are always awarded some great videos of Metallica and Metallifacts which gives the player some in-depth and sometimes mundane information about the band. Other unlockable items include band photos, original music sheets and full lyric information for those true Metallica fans. Definitely some great treats for fanboys and fangirls!

As with Guitar Hero World Tour, this current installment of the game still allows gamers to play lead guitar, bass, drums and vocals for that true Rockstar experience that is made even heavier with the Metallica tracks.

Of course, by successfully matching the notes to the music or the pitch level of the vocals from the onscreen prompts, you are awarded points and stars to assist in your progression. The Guitar, both lead and bass are perfect as are the drums for this game, however Neversoft haven't yet mastered the vocal aspect of the game which is still a little off when compared to Singstar. Even so, the instruments are what make this game great so Rock on!

Featuring a variety of different difficulty levels, Guitar Hero Metallica boasts a new level of difficulty called Expert+ which truly transgresses the whole experience for drummers through the inclusion of a new foot pedal. Interestingly enough, it's only recommended for the hardcore gamers due to the difficulty level but those who have mastered the previous versions may want to investigate. Of course this pedal comes at an additional cost.

As with the other games in the franchise, the song list is either a make or break feature of the title and if you're not a fan of Metallica then I highly suggest you steer yourself away from this game, even though it contains around 20 or so non-Metallica songs which are quite "rocky" heavy.

The coolest thing about the songs from Metallica is the length of the tracks which sometimes seem to go on forever and is like a rock opera. Depending on difficulty level chosen, these do become extremely tricky with a variety of notes required to be strung on the guitar or hit on the drums, definitely rewarding though. Fortunately for those who have never played Guitar Hero World Tour before can jump into the tutorial which teaches you the basics of becoming a rockstar!

The track list for Guitar Hero Metallica is as follows and although it contains 28 Metallica tracks, the rest of the tracks included are either influenced or have toured with Metallica. Although I'm really not sure about Queen's Stone Gold Crazy, however it was still fun to play. Guitar Hero Queen? Maybe...

  • 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

Complementing Metallica's intensity are the following 21 rockin' tracks personally chosen by the band:

  • Alice In Chains - "No Excuses"
  • Bob Seger - "Turn The Page (Live)"
  • Corrosion of Conformity - "Albatross"
  • Diamond Head - "Am I Evil?"
  • Foo Fighters - "Stacked Actors"
  • Judas Priest - "Hell Bent For Leather"
  • Kyuss - "Demon Cleaner"
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Tuesdays Gone"
  • Machine Head - "Beautiful Mourning"
  • Mastodon - "Blood And Thunder"
  • Mercyful Fate - "Evil"
  • Michael Schenker Group - "Armed and Ready"
  • Motörhead - "Ace of Spades"
  • Queen - "Stone Cold Crazy"
  • Samhain - "Mother of Mercy"
  • Slayer - "War Ensemble"
  • Social Distortion - "Mommy's Little Monster (Live)"
  • Suicidal Tendencies - "War Inside My Head"
  • System of a Down - "Toxicity"
  • The Sword - "Black River"
  • Thin Lizzy - "The Boys Are Back in Town"

The gameplay features a strong career mode that has your band inspired by Metallica (hence the introduction) and as you progress by completing songs with more stars, additional songs and venues are open. The cool thing about the career mode is that there is another rival band that you are playing against who attempts to sabotage you along the way, a cute little side note to the game. You are also awarded money which can be purchased for cosmetic accessories such as new guitars or clothes.

Apart from career, there are a variety of other gameplay modes, including Music Studio and you can play the title online as per all good Guitar Hero titles. Unfortunately for now, the downloadable content is a little limiting for Guitar Hero Metallica,  however we're sure that there will be more tracks to follow.

Graphically, the characters of Metallica look great, even though they are quite cartoony and although the graphics are pretty much the same on all systems, the star of this game is the music itself.

In conclusion, Guitar Hero Metallica is a decent improvement over Guitar Hero Aerosmith and hopefully this will inspire other bands to join in the fun. If you're a fan of Metallica then you're definitely in rockstar heaven, however if you're not... this is definitely a big pass but fortunately we're fans and this is one rocking game!


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