A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love rock 'n' roll
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.