Seek & Destroy
Love them or hate them, no one can deny the importance Metallica has played in the metal scene since their beginnings. In fact, some would say that Metallica ranks up there with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and maybe even Elvis Presley. Without them, we wouldn’t have had so many bands that started just because they heard Metallica on the radio. For numerous reasons, Metallica finally gets the honor of being inducted to the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009. So, it seemed only natural that Metallica would grace the music rhythm games, but the question was always how much Metallica was going to be available?
It took the third Guitar Hero to finally give us Metallica’s “One.” Fans still wanted more. When Activision announced they would be releasing future band-centric Guitar Heroes, many felt Metallica was the solid choice. Thankfully, Activision waited. If it had been Metallica at first, we would have missed out on so much that makes Metallica the band they are. For starters, until GH: World Tour, we’ve been limited to just the guitar and bass options, with the occasional rhythm guitar feature. Now we’ve got the whole band.
Some may be wondering if this works the same with the character creation from previous titles. Yes it does, albeit with a Metal flair that you can put your characters in. Of course, the other options are there, but if you picked up this game, chances are you won’t be the ones wanting to Pop out the characters to play sick Metal cords. In addition to the character customization, you’ll also be able to customize the guitars, drums, and microphone like normal, but with Metallica flair. Also, I want to recommend checking out our cheat codes section for an option to play as Metallica in either zombie costumes or with a look reminiscent of the 80s.
Speaking of the look of this game, it is wonderful to see the accurate representation of the band. Lars Ulrich looks the best by far with his drum animations mimicking his chaotic movement from live shows and his facial expressions are spot on. James Hetfield looks consistent with one exception: his eyes are rather small and almost beady and can be distracting at times. Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo look good too with the exception of their hair; it moves but doesn’t have the natural flow other movements have. The stages from memorable concerts are also represented accurately. In fact, they are near-perfect. The added animations of the stages at the end of set lists will make any fan chuckle.
One thing fans of Guitar Hero: World Tour will notice is the abandonment of the gig sessions. You can make your own set lists, up to six songs at a time, in Quickplay. Aside from that option, the game returns to the traditional brackets of songs familiar to older fans of the Guitar Hero series. However, instead of beating a certain number of songs to move on to the next stage, it all relies on the number of stars you get. So, if you are really good at a few songs and can five star those and only three stars on others, you won’t be hindered as much. In fact, if you select the songs you are sure of scoring high on, you will have the full track list open in no time; and what a track list it is!
A total of 45 songs are packed into this game, ranging from Metallica’s beginnings to the latest album. You will be able to scratch your throat to For Whom the Bells Toll, thrash Master of Puppets, and break your drum set on All Nightmare Long. While some might say this track list from Metallica would make a greatest hits album, I disagree. By excluding songs such as Ride the Lightning, And Justice for All, Until it Sleeps, and Damage Inc. (to name a few), Guitar Hero: Metallica fails to create “the perfect track list.” Nevertheless, it comes really close, even including excellent songs from other artists in order to change things up; tunes including Toxicity from System of a Down, Stacked Actors from the Foo Fighter, and Aces of Spades from Motörbreath. You are also given songs Metallica has covered from the original artists, Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Turn the Page by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Am I Evil? by Diamond Head, and Stone Cold Crazy by Queen. Some of these are great, others not so much. It would have been nice to have the option of playing Metallica’s versions. If you are a fan of Metallica, then you know which I am speaking about specifically.
If you liked how Guitar Hero: Aerosmith told the history of the band and gave little bits here and there to allow diehard fans to know more about them, GH: Metallica will surely please. There are even a few things that will surprise hardcore fans. The way the additional content is delivered is through behind the scenes, making of documentaries for how the game was made, notes from past shows, lyric sheets for aspiring singers, and photos.
There is another interesting addition for getting the info you need on GH: Metallica called Metallifacts. If you’ve ever seen Pop-Up Video on VH1, then you already know the concept. The game will take control from you and you just sit back and watch the stylized video of the songs you’ve chosen. Then, little facts about the band, the song, and various other informational goodies surrounding those particular songs pop up throughout the video. This is a perfect way to watch the game when you need to take a break. It allows you to see all the small things they paid attention to while character modeling, specifically the lip-synching. Capturing nearly all of Jame’s mannerisms has set the bar high for the next time either Rock Band or Guitar Hero comes out with a new iteration. If all of these Metallica-centric options are not enough for you, be sure to check out the Battle mode to see the new attacks named after some of Metallica’s hit songs to change the pacing of the battle. New attacks include Fade to Black, which blacks out everything on the player’s screen and Trapped Under Ice, which literally freezes the whammy bar.
Of course, the controls won’t surprise anyone, at least with the microphone and guitars; they feel the same as they always have. However, the drums received a new mode called Expert+. This mode is something all Rock Band and Guitar Hero fans should aspire to. This mode is so insane that you have to have a second kick pedal in order to fully immerse yourself into the song. Is it required? No, but if you are a completionist, you won’t feel accomplished without at least being able to check that out. Because Expert+ demands the use of the second kick pedal, it is important to point out that even though the Rock Band and Rock Band 2 drum kits will work for Guitar Hero: Metallica, you can not use the second kick pedal with them.
Guitar Hero: Metallica is nearly everything that a fan would want. An amazing track list compiling important songs from every album of the bands history, solid character animations of the band, accurate representations of the stages the band has played on that fans will recognize, a digital “diary” of the band, and even special attacks in the Battle mode. There’s not much else you could ask for. Guitar Hero: Metallica sets the bar for upcoming band-specific titles. Let’s hope they can keep up with the Metal Rock Gods.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
Similar flair as the Guitar Hero: World Tour game. The models for the band are amazing and the lip-synching work for the songs raises the bar for music games to come. 4.5 Control
Same Guitar Hero controls we have come to love. The inclusion of the second bass pedal creates an epic drum session that may tear your house down. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
It’s Metallica. ‘Nuff said. 4.4 Play Value
If you are a fan of Metallica, then you will want this. Even if you are only a moderate fan, the new addition of Expert+ for the drums will make you into a fan of Metallica. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.