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Guitar Hero 5

Guitar Hero 5

Guitar Hero 5

Guitar Hero 5 is a music rhythm game and the fifth main entry in the Guitar Hero series. The game was developed by Neversoft and published by Activision, and released internationally in September 2009 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, 3 and Wii consoles. Similar to the preceding title, Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero 5 is geared towards playing in a four-person band experience, including lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals. The game is available as a standalone title, allowing players to use existing compatible instrument controllers, and as a bundle that provides these controllers. Guitar Hero 5 adds several new features, such as drop-in/drop-out play, bands composed of any combination of available instruments, a Rockfest competitive mode consisting of several various scoring mechanisms, and both song-specific and general Challenges to unlock new avatars, clothing, and other extras in the game. Many of these changes were added to make the game a more social experience, allowing players across a range of skill levels to be able to play cooperatively and competitively against each other both locally and online.

Guitar Hero 5's track list contains 85 songs by 83 separate artists, and like previous Guitar Hero games, several musicians with works in the game have been modeled through motion capture for playable characters in the game, including Johnny Cash, Carlos Santana, Shirley Manson, Matthew Bellamy, and Kurt Cobain. Players can also create their own character and instrument to play with. The game continues to support the user-created music studio introduced in World Tour through GHTunes, and additional downloadable content for the game was also made available. A majority of existing downloadable tracks from World Tour are forward-compatible with Guitar Hero 5, along with selected on-disc tracks from World Tour and Guitar Hero Smash Hits, and songs from the game could also be exported for a fee to play in its sequel, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, and spin-off game Band Hero.

The game was well received by reviewers, who appreciated the improvements in the accessibility of the game, allowing players to immediately jump in and play without spending excessive time in the game's menus. The game also sold well, however, it sold about less than 50 percent of Guitar Hero: World Tour's sales, specifically selling 1.2 million copies across all platforms. Improvements to both the Career and competitive multiplayer modes were also highlights of the game. However, the game's track list was considered to be too broad, and controversy arose over the ability to use the avatar of Kurt Cobain to perform in any other song within the game.

Guitar Hero 5 Gameplay

Gameplay in Guitar Hero 5 is similar to previous games in the series. Using a special game controller, players attempt to match scrolling notes as they appear on screen along a note track to mimic the playing of rock music and other songs. Hitting correct notes in time with the music increases the player's score and builds up the performance meter, while missing notes will cause the meter to drop. Should the meter fall below a certain threshold, the song will end prematurely with the player booed off the stage by a virtual audience. Correctly hitting ten consecutive notes will add to the player's score multiplier by one, up to a maximum of four times the original multiplier. Specially marked sections of the song, if completed correctly, help to build up Star Power, which can then be activated through an action with the controller to further double the current multiplier (up to 8x).

As with Guitar Hero World Tour, Guitar Hero 5 supports the playing of lead and bass guitar through guitar controllers, drums through a drum controller, and vocals through a microphone. Players can also play in groups of up to four local or remote players to form a band, co-operatively playing through a song. Whereas in World Tour, a band could only have one of each instrument, Guitar Hero 5 allows players to arrange for any combination of instruments, including all four players on the same instrument if they so choose. While playing in a band, Star Power is now tracked separately for each player, as opposed to collectively for the band as in World Tour. A new play mechanic called "Band Moments" will require all members of the band to play sections of a song successfully to gain rewards, both in a temporary scoring multiplier and visual effects on screen. The Band Revival meter will appear when a player fails out of the song, requiring the other band members to play well as a group together in order to bring the failed player back into the game. Failing to do so will end the song prematurely.

Reception
Guitar Hero 5 was well received upon release. Seth Schiesel of the New York Times called Guitar Hero 5 "the most enjoyable Guitar Hero game in several years" and "generally well-tuned, often exhilarating rock íní roll experience". Keza MacDonald of Eurogamer commented that there is "just nothing wrong" with Guitar Hero 5, given the various stumbling blocks the developers had made from previous iterations of the game, and the way the developers have continued to find new additions to the game. Reviewers greatly appreciated the new features in the game to make it easier to jump in and play music, from the simplification of the menu system to the availability of every song in all the game modes from the start. Erik Brudvig of IGN considers the menu change to be "one of the best things that Neversoft has done", although the menus are a minor part of the game, it removes much of the frustration with the World Tour and other previous Guitar Hero games' menu systems. Arthur Gies of GameSpy noted that by simplification of the interface, "Neversoft stripped Guitar Hero down to what works and built up from there". Reviewers appreciated the immediate launch of the game's Party Mode once the player put the disk in the system and the ability to jump right into that song through the new menus, and considered this to help make the game enjoyable for social gatherings. Chris Watters of GameSpot considered this mode to be "accessible, welcoming, and delightfully low key". The changes in Career mode, in which the players need not stick to the same instrument or difficulty throughout, was well appreciated. Brudvig appreciated how this allows the player to complete the Career mode without getting stuck on a song, having to go back to replay the Career mode on other instruments, and that with the addition of song Challenges, provides enough incentive to return to the songs to improve one's performance. The new multiplayer modes in Rockfest, which replaced more "arcadey" competitive modes, were considered a welcome replacement, as it allowed players of various skill levels to compete fairly against each other, making the game more friendly to the multiplayer experience. However, Matt Helgeson of Game Informer noted that despite the various RockFest modes, it "all comes down to hitting the notes correctly".

The track list, while well received for the most part, was found to be one of the weaker features. While Helgeson and others noted that the track list was "extremely diverse and for the most part well selected", this diversity was found to work against the game as well. Justin Haywald of 1UP.com noted that with the diverse track list, there would be a good chance players would find songs they liked, but at the same time, would also find songs they loathed. Brudvig noted that while "the goal was to include a bit of everything", the diversity of the track list ensures "that nobody will like everything on the disc". Gies noted that while the guitar difficulty progression in the Career mode was strong and better than in previous games, it leaves the vocals and drummer progression "all over the place", while Schiesel considered the vocals parts "somewhat rough" in comparison to The Beatles: Rock Band. Haywald noted that the singing portions of the game were still weak, with poor indicators to help the player's performance, and with the possibility of multiple vocalists performing at the same time, would make it hard for a player to keep track of his pitch. While reviews appreciated Activision's efforts to allow the importing of songs from previous games, the small amount of tracks that were available at launch felt at odds with the impression that Activision had made of the process prior to the game's release. The improvements made in GHTunes were seen as "leaps and bounds" above the original offering in World Tour, though was still considered to be too unwieldy for average players.

On its week of release in the United Kingdom, Guitar Hero 5 was the most purchased title across all game systems, beating The Beatles: Rock Band which was also released during that same week in the country. United States sales of Guitar Hero 5 for the Xbox 360 reached 210,800 units on its first month of release, making it the 9th best selling title for the month, and 499,000 units total across all platforms were sold, comparable to World Tour's first month sales of 534,000 units. The total revenue for United States sales in September 2009 was $33 million, driving primarily by sales of the standalone copy of the game. The game sold just under 1 million copies worldwide by the end of 2009.

Guitar Hero 5 has been nominated for the "Best Family Game" Interactive Achievement Award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.


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