Review: Guitar Hero Metallica (Sony PS3)

Guitar Hero: Metallica
Genre: Band Simulator
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: 03/29/2009

Since Lars Ulrich posted an advertisement in a local newspaper, Metallica’s line-up has primarily consisted of him, rhythm guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and an assortment of bassists (currently Robert Trujillo).

Metallica has sold an amazing assload of albums, with five consecutive debuts at number one on the Billboard 200. They are the only band in history to do so.

They also signed on to sue Napster, providing what was the inevitable pwnhammer which set back internet piracy of mp3s back hours, perhaps days.

guitar-hero-metallica-rocking-outPicking Metallica for a fandom release/expansion of Guitar Hero: Wold Tour sounds like a really good idea from a perspective of fans and rockability. (Let us not speak of Aerosmith. I hate Aerosmith.)

There is no doubt that the Metallica fanbase ran out and bought it immediately. Adding a harder rock collection of Metallica-approved bands like Alice in Chains (and 24 other bands) is pretty sweet. Do not lose focus that half of the songs in this release are Metallica. Unless you love them and want to play their very long songs over and over again, this is not the title for you.

Then again, it seems likely to me that most people who would be Guitar Hero players love real guitar heros like Metallica.

Story / Modesguitar-hero-metallica-full-band

This is the same story as in every other Guitar Hero title except there is a Metallica slant on it. You start a band with your boyfriend/girlfriend (depending on your perspective, I imagine) with the hopes of opening for Metallica. You show up and proceed to rock. You succeed in rocking and venture forth to rock even harder. Finally, you rock so amazingly hard that you have reached the pinnacle of roxxing and may rox no harder. Play credits.

You get the idea.

What is slightly different from previous releases is that literally half of all of the songs are Metallica. The other half are Metallica approved tracks from peoples that they like; influential bands, people who they had beers with, etc.

Playing well in this title allows you to view bootleg videos of shows from the good old days and other extras like pieces of the band’s equipment that only the super-ultra-fanboys should be able to identify.

Additionally, there are online multiplayer options that expand the offering introduced in Guitar Hero: Wold Tour. “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.” Pretty sweet.

Story Rating: Very Good


More of the same that you expect from the Guitar Hero series with a couple of minor additions that you might miss if you’re just casually playing the game.

guitar-hero-metallica-guest-act-girl-rockerFull motion capture of the current members of Metallica has been performed so that the digital avatars of mainstream metal can be as accurately depicted as possible as they jam out on stage. This may only be of interest to people watching players of this game as I’ve never been able to look at the background while trying to keep my timing in the game.

This was my first exposure to Guitar Hero: World Tour gear, so I was impressed at the way that the three instrument beat commands ran down the screen and the pitch level for the vocals ran across like a flaming match head. Neat!

That the vocal and musical graphics sync up well in an intuitive fashion is pretty cool. This is one of the strengths of the Guitar Hero franchise has to be the ease of picking it up for newcomers.

Two new graphical features in this release include real-time tracking of how many stars your performance merits and individual and shared meters for group performance.

The ability to make your own rock avatar to play in this game is also a nice touch.

Graphics Rating: Good

This is a music game, so all of the songs are as expected and well done.

It might just be my imagination, but I thought that this title did a better job of cutting out the music when you screw up at your band-job; no baseline when you fumble the drums, the riffs stop when you bone your guitar rhythm, etc.

So yes. Your enjoyment of this game will directly correspond to the amount you like the songs in it. The effects, cut-outs and fade-ins, and related effects sound to be of the highest order.

The game is also headset compatible and you can compose your own music. Cool updates to the series.

Songs from every studio Metallica album, 45 tracks in all, are featured in this release. Additionally, the new Metallica album, Death Magnetic, is available for download from the Playstation Store and can also be played fully in this release. Influential and bands-Metallica-thinks-are-cool that appear in the playable track list include Alice In Chains, Bob Seger, Foo Fighters, System of A Down and Queen.

Sound Rating: Great

Control and Gameplay

This title has all you would expect from a Rock Band or Guitar Hero game with some slight tunings. There is never a need to calibrate your equipment to have it work right. It is good to go immediately.

guitar-hero-metallica-and-justice-for-allIt is pretty hard to play; a bit like the difficulty settings got a bit of an upgrade. This is likely the case for the Super Extreme Guitar Hero Fanboys out there. To add extra challenge, you need to associate with other super supreme fanboys, buy an extra accessory so that you have two bass drum pedals, and play on the expert+ difficulty setting to unlock various PSN network trophies.

This is something that I will never do, but I can appreciate the coolness of it all.

Control and Gameplay Rating: Incredible


This really depends on how much you like Metallica since this is basically the same game of more of the same.

If you get a bunch of metal friends over who are Guitar Hero fanboys and they want to show how badassed they are online beating other people, than this is your game. You’ll be playing it until your eyes shrivel up and drop out of your sockets and you strum and thump your hands to bloody stumps.

With multiplayer options and music composition, it ups the replayability factor quite a bit.

Replayability Rating: Good


Not really sure how you can assign a balance rating to a game like this anymore. I detected that they ratcheted up the difficulty level in this release from the previous ones, but I’m sure that’s just because people are huge massive ultrafanboy fans. Single player is enjoyable, but online multi is getting bigger and badder with this release.

Balance Rating: Average


Since this is basically the same game as Guitar Hero: World Tour with the addition of expert+ play with the double bass drum pedal, there isn’t a huge score here. It is an expansion with some spunk though as it has all new Metallica extras, little cute Guitar Hero storyline cutscenes which are enjoyable as always.

It really is Guitar Hero: World Tour with a couple of bells and whistles, but they are appealing whistles to the right player.

Originality Rating: Poor


Guitar Hero is really the new expressive art form of the new generation. Some people think this is cool and hold competitions in bars, libraries, and schools. Some people think it is a terrible replacement for actually learning an instrument.
What is most assuredly true is that a lot of people play Guitar Hero. They play it a lot.

If these typical fanatics play this specific expansion to the Guitar Hero world is questionable, but if they thought enough of Metallica to pick up this title, the addictiveness of this game is assured.

Addictiveness Rating: Enjoyable

Appeal Factor

The combination of Guitar Hero with the existing and past popularity of Metallica can only be great. The people who enjoy the both of them will not be disappointed.

The idea of being in a popular band is one thing, but if you idolize Metallica and get to play in a band with them in a video game, this appeal can not be denied.

Unless, of course, you’re not a fan.

Appeal Factor: Great


As this is the umteenth release of the Guitar Hero franchise, things are polished. They should be polished after this much time at the forge.

The promise of player content development is interesting. I hope that it is successful in that players create worthwhile content and also equally successful in managing the community of created content online so that there is a richer experience for players to enjoy.

There are a couple of surprises that go above and beyond my expectations for this release, like King Diamond and Motörhead’s Lemmy, who were also digitized and are added to the roster of available characters later in the game. Nice touch, Neversoft. There are several other characters available as unlockables, but you’ll just have to play the title to experience them all.

Miscellaneous Rating: Enjoyable

The Scores
Story: Very Good
Graphics: Good
Sound: Great
Control and Gameplay: Incredible
Replayability: Good
Balance: Average
Originality: Poor
Addictiveness: Enjoyable
Appeal Factor: Great
Miscellaneous: Enjoyable


Short Attention Span Summary
This is the latest installment of Guitar Hero with a tweak on for Metallica fans. If you’re not a fan of the band, you should continue on. If you are a fan, than this game will be a dream come true in playing songs, video extras, and surprise bonus features. Middle-of-the-road Guitar Hero enthusiasts will see in this a couple of new features to the series offering and another set of content to conquer.

Pssst! There are some cheat codes that you may wish to be aware of:

Always Drum Fill (“Drum Over” mode)
Red, Red, Red, Blue, Blue, Green, Green, Yellow

Black Highway (All black note highway)
Yellow, Red, Green, Red, Green, Red, Red, Blue

Always Slide
Green, Green, Red, Red, Yellow, Red, Yellow, Blue

Air Instruments
Red, Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Green, Green, Yellow

Invisible Rocker
Green, Red, Yellow, Yellow, Yellow, Blue, Blue, Green

Performance Mode
Yellow, Yellow, Blue, Red, Blue, Green, Red, Red

Green, Blue, Red, Yellow, Yellow, Red, Green, Green

Auto Kick
Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, Blue, Blue, Blue, Red

Gem Color
Blue, Red, Red, Green, Red, Green, Red, Yellow

Flame Color
Green, Red, Green, Blue, Red, Red, Yellow, Blue

Star Color
Red, Red, Yellow, Red, Blue, Red, Red, Blue

Vocal Fireball
Red, Green, Green, Yellow, Blue, Green, Yellow, Green

Extra Line 6 Tones!
Green, Red, Yellow, Blue, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green



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