Guitar Hero 5 Hands-On Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
Guitar Hero 5 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Neversoft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Activision 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 1, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4; up to 8 online 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Rocking the House Again
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

August 10, 2009 - Guitar Hero has been the quintessential music/band franchise for quite some time. Although Rock Band has been building its own franchise base, nothing can compare to the brand power of Guitar Hero. Still, even though this brand has plenty of notoriety and fans, many have wondered if there is anything it can do to keep itself fresh. After all, there's only so many ways to rock out with plastic instruments, right? Wrong!

Guitar Hero 5 screenshot

Although last year's Guitar Hero: World Tour marked the most significant change to the franchise as a whole with the addition of drums and vocals, GH5 makes several changes to the formula laid down in World Tour. On the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 there have been several improvements made to the core game, particularly in the realm of multiplayer modes.

One of the biggest new features that we were able to check out on the PS3/Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero 5 was the new creation mode. Although World Tour has a pretty robust song creator, GH5 is going to take it to the next level. The mechanics are similar to World Tour, and you can add notes to multi-layer tracks using the guitar, bass, and drum instruments.

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However, instead of just starting off from scratch, you have the option to jam along to a template song. There are plenty of different genres to choose from, and we were able to try jamming along to a Bach-inspired classical track. In addition to the new backing tracks, there are also deeper production tools that give you more freedom to sample and mix your work to create your ultimate Guitar Hero tune.

Guitar Hero 5 screenshot

Also new for the PS3/Xbox 360 versions of Guitar Hero 5 is Party Mode. This mode allows you to create party mixes of your favorite songs. The mixes will automatically play, even if there is no one actively playing the game. But, if someone at your party or get-together feels like they want to hop on the guitar for "Fame" by David Bowie, or the bass for "So Lonely" by The Police, they can just jump into the game at any point in time, without having to go through the menus or restart the song.

Guitar Hero 5 will also be backwards and forwards-compatible with Guitar Hero World Tour and the upcoming Band Hero. As long as you still own the discs to these games, you can put in a special code and re-download most of the tracks from these games after paying a re-licensing fee (the price of which has yet to be revealed).

Guitar Hero 5 screenshot

Although Guitar Hero 5 still features the same tried and true Guitar Hero gameplay that fans have grown to love, there are plenty of new features that will keep fans rocking. In addition, if you are planning on picking up the Xbox 360 version, you will also be able to rock out with your avatars. With new multiplayer and creation modes, the newest Guitar Hero will really let you come into your own and rock any way you want to. You can look forward to the newest iteration of Guitar Hero to hit store shelves next month!

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor


Game Features:

  • Living room legends will rock any way they want in Guitar Hero 5. The entire set list is at your finger tips from the start, featuring genre-defining hits from some of the biggest rock artists and bands of all time, including The Rolling Stones, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Santana and Vampire Weekend.
  • You will take complete control as Guitar Hero 5 allows you to personalize and customize how you experience music by being able to play with any in-game instrument combination -- multiple vocalists, guitarists, bassists and drummers, in any game mode.
  • With the game's all-new Party Play Mode, getting the band back together has never been easier. You can now jump in or drop out of gameplay seamlessly, without interrupting their jam session.
  • Elevating the Guitar Hero series to new heights with unmatched social gameplay, an enhanced style, new in-game artists and more rock legends, Guitar Hero 5 features new surprises and challenges that will fire-up long-time fret board fanatics and create a new generation of addicts.


  • Screenshots / Images
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