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Review: Guitar Hero 5


With Guitar Hero World Tour only just starting to gather dust on my gaming shelf, I was very pleased to take delivery of Guitar Hero 5 from my friendly neighbourhood courier, find out what we thought after the jump.

If you are looking for a whole host of new features from the game leave your cash in your wallet as you’re not going to get that here, what you are going to get is a whole host of refinements on an already winning formula, such as music creator, (GH Tunes) 85 songs straight out of the box (with the ability to import songs from World Tour & Metallica) and loads of little things that make it that little bit better to play.

The question is though with lots of new music and rhythm games coming this xmas have the refinements done enough to keep us interested?

What We Liked:
Quick play – If you have ever fired up a game of Fifa in the last 3-4 iterations then you will have been able to take a few pot shots at goal whilst waiting for the game to load, GH5 takes this one step further enabling you to jump straight into a song directly from the main menu, and unlike previous versions every song is available from the start so no having to struggle through career mode just to unlock a few tracks to show to your mates.
Play What You Like – If you have two guitars and one mic, or if for some unknown reason you only have 4 drum kits and no other instruments you can all join in together and play, no restrictions are made – i.e. one bass, one guitar, one drums, one vocals. We also liked that the Lips microphones now work with GH5, meaning anyone who has invested in Lips has at least 2 wireless mics.

Navigation – One of the best refinements to the game has been the menu system, it sounds like such a small thing, but it makes the game so much easier to play; swap instruments, difficulties etc all on the fly not to mention the new drop in/out party play mode

Challenges – We are all aware of Xbox achievements and Playstation Trophies but aside from those Activision have added a set of song specific challenges such as hitting the whammy bar a certain amount of times in a song, on one hand they make you want to return to the song to try and get all the stars (which I personally liked) but I can understand that anyone who lacked the instruments might get fed up with it as they would not be able to complete the challenges as some are instrument specific.

What We Didn’t Like:
The Tracks – For me personally the best Guitar Hero of this generation of consoles was GH2, some of the tracks on GH5 are un miss able such as Sex On Fire by the Kings Of Leon or 2 Minutes To Midnight by Iron Maiden, but many more are poor and just not fun to play. The function to import songs from the previous games is a good idea, but it costs money to import them from GH World Tour, which I find a tad harsh since I already own the songs through buying the previous game!, But the worst problem with the tracks is that some of them your strumming away at your guitar but you are actually playing a synth part of the track, come on guys this is GUITAR HERO not synth hero.

Overall Guitar Hero 5 is a worthy addition to the family, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who had never played the series, sure the tweaks they have added have really improved the mechanics of the game, but let’s be honest who plays Guitar Hero to play in the menus? My main gripe with the game is the soundtrack; a few classic hits that will have you jumping around the lounge, but too much filler, and nothing that makes you think – “Wow I’ll check out this band later when I’m not playing” which is a big part of the game for me and a real disappointment.

Despite the main part of the game (the music) being a failure, the game is much improved, so let’s hope that GH6 features the same improvements with a decent soundtrack, and no ridiculous fees to enable you to play something you have already paid for.

Played GH5 to career completion on an Xbox 360, using a wired guitar and microphones from lips.

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