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 very engaging musical rhythm game is best played on a guitar-shaped controller. The game includes sexual innuendo and alcohol references in the lyrics. One of the game's venues is a bar, and several of the characters are in sexy bar garb. More so than in the previous versions of Guitar Hero, name brands are everywhere, including branding the guitar controller as a Gibson guitar; most of the commercialism is confined to music-related products, but you will also catch a Pontiac truck.
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What's it about?
GUITAR HERO III: LEGENDS OF ROCK is the first truly cross-platform Guitar Hero, with versions for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Wii. Using a special guitar controller, you play along to a song by pressing the neck and \"strum\" buttons in time to the music. The career mode now features a beefed-up story that follows your band's rise to fame: You start out playing backyard parties and dive clubs and move up to shooting music videos and headlining sold-out venues overseas. The money earned from playing gigs can be spent on new characters, outfits, songs, videos, and guitars including Gibson's iconic Les Paul, SG, and Flying V (thanks to an in-game endorsement by the guitar maker).
Is it any good?
A music game is only as good as its song list, and Guitar Hero III delivers a steady stream of guitar-driven classics from the likes of Metallica, Black Sabbath, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rage Against the Machine, and the Smashing Pumpkins for a total of 42 songs. Guitar Hero III features a new co-op mode that lets a second person play along to the same song on a rhythm guitar or bass, and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions support the ability to jam with friends online. Boss songs, where you must out-duel another character on the guitar to continue, are another new addition.
Guitar Hero III features four levels of difficulty ranging from Easy to Expert, which means that both music game veterans and guitar newbies can rock out comfortably. If players have guitar controllers from previous games, they can buy the game only for $49.99 (PS2) or $59.99 (Xbox 360). Bundles that include a wireless controller cost $89.99 (PS2 or Wii) and $99.99 (Xbox 360 and PS3).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about product placement. Did you notice the name-brand rock equipment? Would you look for those products in a store? How about the Pontiac truck? How do these products benefit from this type of advertising? Why do you think they're targeting kids? Did you enjoy "battling" other characters or would you have preferred that the game was only about playing songs?
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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.