Will this ever happen in somebody's living room? Probably not, but if you ever find three more drum controllers lying in the street, you know what to do. As soon as I booted up Guitar Hero 5 , it started playing a random song. When I pressed Start, it jumped me not to the game's main menu but immediately into playing that song. This is the new Party mode, crafted to let players simply turn on Guitar Hero 5 during a gathering and let the game's music serve as the party's soundtrack.
If anyone wants to pick up and play the game, they can; when they drop out, the music will continue playing. If you're a dedicated, competitive player, you'll probably want to play through Career mode, where you perform songs of increasing difficulty and hone your skills while unlocking bonus content. Guitar Hero 5 's Career mode has an interesting addition: You can play through it with any instrument you choose, and earn bonus points for achieving certain goals with specific instruments. For example, you might earn more points for completing a song using guitar and hitting a certain number of chords.
Activision made a big deal about the inclusion of Nirvana's defining hit in this game, and with good reason: Everybody knows it, it's fun to sing, it's fun to play on guitar.
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And it's fun to do both if you have the coordination. Young gamers are getting turned on to classic rock songs recorded before they were born, with videogame consoles functioning almost like radio did in its hit-making heyday. Of the recordings featured in the first three releases of Guitar Hero , only nine are original recordings.
The other 97, including the Heart hit, are re-recordings done by a stable of studio hired guns at WaveGroup Sound in Fremont, California, according to Will Littlejohn, WaveGroup's president.
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In terms of the arrangements, we often make changes to the guitar and bass parts in order to make gameplay more interesting in Guitar Hero. While record labels and classic rock groups are enjoying newfound success as a result of music games' popularity, at least one band is not happy about the situation and is challenging Activision in court.
Members of '80s rock band The Romantics are suing Activision, claiming their hit " What I Like About You " and the Guitar Hero cover version of the song sound so much alike that gamers are confused and the band suffers as a result. Activision insists it obtained proper licensing to include the song in the game, and says the band is on a fishing expedition. The U.
District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has agreed with Activision at least at the preliminary stage, finding that the band sold its rights in the song and recordings to a music publisher and record company, neither of whom is suing. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds noted that the lead singer of the song, Jimmy Marinos, is not even a plaintiff and is no longer in the band. The court held a summary judgment hearing July 9 and is expected to decide soon who wins.
Studio magic tweaks classic rock songs for today's hottest videogames. Anders, Marcus Henderson and Scott Dugdale left to right lay down tracks. Photo courtesy WaveGroup Sound Perhaps in part because of litigation fears and the game's wild success, Activision is now more often using record labels' original master recordings or going to original band members for re-recordings of their hits rather than using sound-alike recordings. Instead, the difficulty in Guitar Hero Live comes from chords in this case, that involves pressing multiple buttons at once and alternating single notes between the two rows of buttons.
It's interesting to see just how creatively Freestyle has mapped the complex fingerings of a real guitar onto the six buttons of the Live controller, aping classic fingerings like the three-finger spread of an open C, or beefy bar chords with added extensions, represented by pressing down across a single row and adding in a higher note with another finger. Not that it really matters how much the game apes a real guitar.
What matters is that on the lower difficulty levels it's way easier to just worry about three notes, while on the higher ones it's far trickier to alternate between the two sets of buttons.
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Everyone wins. There's still no way to slow down tracks on advanced levels to practice them, though. This has always bugged me about Guitar Hero.
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Some people get on just fine with Guitar Hero 's method of removing notes from easier levels, gradually adding them back in on harder ones. Others, like me, learn better when all the notes are there in the first place, just slower. Maybe I'll finally get my wish in the next one.
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It's not just the guitar that has seen some big changes. Guitar Hero Live is essentially two games: The former will be the most familiar to veterans of the series. You play through a set of gigs trying to earn as many points as possible along the way, while unlocking other gigs and tracks to play through in quick play mode.
Locked content, particularly for a game like this, is an odd throwback to ye olde gaming days of yore.
What won't be familiar is the look of Live, which ditches the awkward 3D avatars of old, and replaces them with live-action footage instead. It's also filmed from first-person perspective, essentially putting you in the shoes of the band's guitarist, all the way from backstage high-fiving and cringe-worthy pep talk through to taking to the stage in front of hundreds, if not thousands of screaming fans.
For one, some of the acting is, uhh, not so convincing. Ostensibly, the theme behind Live is "stage fright," except no one seems all that frightened about going on stage—and the less said about some of the pre-show pep talk the better.