Guitar Hero 5

Common Sense Media says

Fresh, fun music game sequel with edgy lyrics.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

For the most part, the game has positive messages that teach music composition and encourage musical expression.


Positive role models

Despite some scantily clad women, shocking haircuts, and provocative tattoos, most of the game's virtual characters are good role models for being a musician. However, some have had tortured pasts.



Ease of play

The game offers many difficulty levels, making it both easy for a newbie to get going and challenging for an experienced player.


Some lyrics refer to violence, such as Iron Maiden's 2 Minutes to Midnight ("The napalm screams of human flames," "2 minutes to midnight/To kill the unborn in the womb").


Some lyrics include sexual references, such as "I'm so horny," "Your sex is on fire" and "He's gonna do another strip tease." Some animated woman characters are dressed provocatively and move seductively, including doing a pole dance.


While not too graphic, some lyrics contain potentially offensive words such as "hell," "damn" and "bitch."The lyrics of the songs also contain references to violence, sexual themes, and drugs and alcohol.


The game includes familiar music-related brands on the equipment.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some lyrics refer to drinking alcohol or smoking, such as "Wanna get a belly full o' beer" and "Light me up that cigarette," respectively.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this music simulation game has a "Teen" rating  mainly because of some off-color lyrics in a few of the 85 songs. This includes some sexual themes, references to drinking, smoking, and violence, and use of some swear words. One of the TV commercials for the game includes Playboy bunnies prancing around Hugh Hefner.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Music fans burned out by the never-ending stream of rhythm games might be tempted to disregard the new GUITAR HERO 5, but Activision's latest offers more depth and breadth than its many predecessors. Once again players are challenged to jam along with many songs over the past few decades -- either with previously purchased instrument peripherals (guitar, drums or microphones) or bundled with the game -- and the better they play, the more points they earn and the more songs, venues, and characters can be unlocked. Hit a few sour notes or poorly-timed taps and you're booed offstage. But this time around, players have access to a wide variety of music totaling 85 songs (with more than 150 songs available via download), the option to import some songs from past Guitar Hero games, and if gamers mail in the proof of purchase, they'll also get the upcoming Guitar Hero: Van Halen.

Is it any good?


In addition to the huge library of songs to play through, Guitar Hero 5 offers something fresh and new. For the first time in the series, players can have multiple guitarists, bass players, drummers, and singers, in any game mode, rather than everyone choosing a different peripheral. Plus, with the game's new social "Party Play" mode, players can now jump in or drop out of game-play at anytime, without interrupting the jam session. New in-game characters range from Nirvana's Kurt Cobain to the man in black, Johnny Cash, as well as Carlos Santana, Garbage's Shirley Manson, and others. Also fun is Guitar Hero 5’s enhanced "GH Music Studio," which lets gamers write, edit, and upload their own game creations -- now with many more tools available at their disposal. While some might feel the rhythm genre has already reached (and surpassed) it's peak, Guitar Hero 5 is a refreshingly fun game for the entire family.

Note: All the versions of Guitar Hero 5 are basically the same -- including the "GH Music Studio" feature -- but the PlayStation 2 version does not have an online component (for multiplayer games or downloadable songs).

Online interaction: Gamers can play with each other online or share user-generated content on all versions of this game except for the PlayStation 2 verison.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk aboout when creating games based on the same formula becomes too much. Should companies consider dropping it before the concept grows old? Activision is certainly milking this franchise, but they're also introducing a new "spin" on it with the upcoming DJ Hero.

  • Why do you think Activision hired Playboy bunnies for the advertising of this game? What demographic are they hoping to appeal to?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2
Price:$From $49.99
Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 1, 2009
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:T for Mild Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes (Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Guitar Hero 5 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bydesertstorm September 6, 2009

Love the series

I love the Guitar Hero series and I'm gonna get this game just because the band Rammstein is on it(my favorite band)
Kid, 10 years old November 6, 2011

Love it

It may have bad language from the Rolling Stones,Violent talk in 2 minutes till midnight, but i still love it. i could of used more Journey though.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpielberg00 July 25, 2011

Not as good as the last one; more explicit.

My rating: T: lyrics; suggestive themes; violence
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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