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 additions to the formula laid down in World Tour. The Wii version of the game is surprisingly awesome and boasts more interactive features, a new Mii Jam Session mode, and even connectivity with the DS in the game's new "Roadie" mode.

Though it's easy to instantly think of any multiplatform game that comes out for the Wii as handicapped, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of extra features available for the Wii. First up is the all-new Roadie mode. This is a multiplayer mode which allows players to divide up into two teams of two with one rocker and one roadie on the Wii and DS, respectively. While the rocker is playing, the roadie will be able to sabotage the other player's rocker by playing touch-based mini-games on their DS. These games vary from messing up the sound board to reversing the other rocker's guitar strings.

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However, as a roadie, your job isn't as simple as just messing up the show for the other guy. You'll have to be able to fix the damage done by the roadie you are competing against as well. So, if for instance the other roadie set your rocker's guitar strings on fire, you can use the DS microphone to blow out the flames.

We were able to get some serious hands-on time with the Roadie Battle mode, and we have to say that it is a serious game-changer for the Wii version. While previous versions of Guitar Hero have been all about the music, the Roadie mini-games creates a brand new experience that will make it easier for less musically-inclined gamers to get in on the action and play with friends.

Guitar Hero 5 screenshot

In addition to the Roadie Battle mode, the game also implements the DS hardware in the Mii Jam Sessions mode. This mode allows you to rock out freestyle with your Miis, and it will be very familiar to those who picked up World Tour for the Wii last year. However, if you know someone with a DS, they can become the show manager and direct the camera and trigger special effects like pyrotechnics. If you have a really awesome show manager, you can even create a video of your Jam Session and send it to your friends using the WiiConnect 24 feature.

The DS connectivity features are both really awesome, and help to make the Wii version stand out, both in terms of playability (having a mode that is less focused on playing music is quite refreshing) and in terms of community. Although I was able to play Guitar Hero 5 on all three current-gen consoles, I kept coming back to the Wii version, as it felt so much different from the other titles. As much as I love rocking out with the plastic guitars, the DS minigames provide an excellent diversion, and I couldn't get enough of them.

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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