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Neversoft is at it again with another gem in the "Guitar Hero" franchise. "Guitar Hero: Metallica," available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, and PS2, lets players experience the band’s killer music firsthand. This kind of music is what "Guitar Hero" was made for. Hits such as, "Enter Sandman," "Fade to Black" and "Fuel" provide a sense of familiarity to the songs and are expectedly fun to play, while other lesser known tracks show the group’s varied repertoire. Besides having more than 25 Metallica songs, there are over 20 other bands featured, including as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Slayer, and System of a Down. King Diamond of Diamond Head and Lemmy of Motörhead even appear as unlockable characters.
Gameplay is basically the same as any other version of "Guitar Hero." The classic formula of choosing a song, rocking out, and trying to earn five stars and a high score still holds true. In "Guitar Hero: Metallica" however, players are no longer forced to complete certain songs or gigs. The new system uses a star progression. For example, 20 stars are needed to get a new gig, any combination of stars from different songs can go toward it. Other new gameplay features include a star meter that shows how close a player is to getting stars, five being the max, and also the ridiculously challenging expert plus mode where two kick pedals are used. Players be warned, this mode is only for the hardcore, as it simulates drummer Lars Ulrich’s lightning fast skills.
Multiplayer remains unchanged from "Guitar Hero World Tour." Songs can be played locally with up to three friends or online for a battle of the bands experience to see who’s best. The music studio also returns with a few new effects and so does the rock star creator, albeit with some new Metallica flavored gear such as band T-shirts and guitars actually used by the band. Extra content, such as behind the scenes videos, images of band memorabilia and lyrics for all songs, round out the game nicely, but one of the most welcome additions is the "Metallifacts" option. Once a song is beaten, players can watch a video of the song with facts about it and the band. This feature is available for all songs and should be in every future "Guitar" Hero to expand the rock content.
Enhanced graphics, such as the extensive animations due to Metallica’s motion capture sessions, awesome sound quality, and overall great solo or cooperative gameplay make this a fun game to get lost in. There are, however, a few hang-ups. As in "Guitar Hero World Tour," if a novice player fails a song with a band, that’s it. This wouldn’t be too bad, except that since Metallica’s music is more challenging, frustrations are bound to arise. This could easily be fixed by implementing MTV’s "Rock Band" saving feature, where failing teammates can recover with help from a friend. Another big problem in "Guitar Hero: Metallica" is downloadable content. While players can rock out to the entire "Death Magnetic" album as the band if purchased from World Tour, all other paid for songs are nonexistent. This may keep the song style strict, but players should get to play what they pay for. Despite these problems, this is one of the best "Guitar Hero" games in a while and should be played by anyone looking to rock out with one of metal’s finest bands.