×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Guitar Hero: Metallica

"Guitar Hero" may have brought videogames to the music-loving masses, but its new spinoff based on the music of Metallica is for headbangers only.

Guitar Hero” may have brought videogames to the music-loving masses, but its new spinoff based on the music of Metallica is for headbangers only. Featuring venues from the heavy-metal gods’ history, with fully motion-captured avatars of the band’s current lineup, the game targets die-hard fans with a selection of 28 songs, as well as a broader selection of 21 more from related acts that cover classic, hard rock and speed metal. Solidly executed but lacking in unique features or a coherent narrative focus, “Guitar Hero: Metallica” will likely enjoy a somewhat short tour.

Rather than taking the approach of last June’s first band-focused title, “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith,” and following the act from high school days to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “Metallica” skirts the personal details and career highlights. Instead, it places the titular group firmly on a pedestal, following it from successful tour to successful tour until the bizarre finale. But while the game never lets players fully engage with the band, bright lighting and a sparing use of visual effects impressively emulate the look of a high-def concert video. And the character animations are detailed, if somewhat plastic.

“Metallica’s” material is perfect for a title aimed at players of all skill levels: the songs selected are melodic and accessible, yet technically challenging. Amateurs can hum along to “Enter Sandman,” while expert skin-slappers can woodshed the drum part on “Battery.” The disc includes fewer, albeit longer, tracks than the main “Guitar Hero” titles, and metalheads are the key demographic, with classics by Thin Lizzy and Bob Seger straying the farthest from headbanging territory.

But even players who would have preferred a “Guitar Hero: Shawn Colvin” will find the gameplay rewarding, as the set-list boasts a good mix of shredders and ballads, portentous rests and finger-breaking solos.

All of the “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” instruments can be deployed at five settings, from Beginner to Expert, and on most tracks, the drums add an “Expert+” tier, meant for players who have — and know how to handle — dual bass pedals. Head-to-head battles, several online modes and a copy of the “Guitar Hero” music studio round out the package, giving those who don’t own “World Tour” a solid value.

Although many players will just jam with friends, those who dive into the career mode will find that it’s “Metallica’s” biggest weakness, offering a confusing presentation of a rock star fantasy. On half the songs, players steer their own band, dubbed ‘Tallica Jr., as they seize a shot at opening for their heroes. The rest of the time, the player controls the already successful titular band.

The main “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” games cast the players as the true stars, giving them the thrill of rising from a sweaty garage to the pinnacle of rock. Here, switching between a personalized band and a real one may make a wannabe wonder: Is the goal to worship Metallica? To be Metallica? Or someday, to usurp Metallica as the world’s greatest metal band? Ultimately, it may be the supplicants who enjoy “Guitar Hero: Metallica” most.

Guitar Hero: Metallica

Production: An Activision/RedOctane presentation of a game developed by Neversoft for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, Vicarious Visions for the Wii, and Budcat Creations for the Playstation 2. Reviewed on Xbox 360. Rated T. $40-$60

More Digital

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content