Home > Gaming, Ported Reviews > “Guitar Hero 3” Wii Review

“Guitar Hero 3” Wii Review

Hey, Frayed Wire readers! This is a review Josh made on his old site, but is now being moved here!

Guitar Hero is by far one of the best new game series in a long time. It completely dominates the music/rhythm game genre right now, and its fame is near to surpassing Dance Dance Revolution. Naturally, a lot was expected of Guitar Hero 3, and for the most part, the game delivers.

The set list is huge and expansive, with something for every one of the many Guitar Hero fans. There are classics such as “Paint It, Black”, “Rock and Roll All Nite”, and “Welcome to the Jungle” to name a few, but there are also newer songs like “3’s & 7’s”, “The Metal” (from Tenacious D) and many others. Even if you don’t recognize any of the songs you’ll still enjoy playing through them, and you may even find that you like the music from that band. That’s one part I like about the Guitar Hero games – hearing music from bands you haven’t heard of and loving them.

Fundamentally, not a whole lot has changed in terms of gameplay. You still hit the colored buttons on your guitar controller in sequence with the ones being displayed on the screen. Every so often you can activate “Star Power”, which doubles your score multiplier and gets the audience pumping. The sound of the guitar will also become louder than the rest of the band, and your character will perform while they play on stage.


While the gameplay may not have changed much, a few cool new things have been added this time around. The most prominent is online play, which allows you to play against a stranger over the vastness of the internet. You can almost always guarantee there will be someone looking for a game because all the different versions of Guitar Hero 3 use the same online database. In other words, you could be playing the Wii version, but your opponent is facing you through his Xbox 360 game. This was a very smart move on the developer’s part, because the replay value soars through the roof when you put the online mode into consideration.

But with all online modes, there’s always the chance of a lag. Lag could utterly destroy Guitar Hero 3’s online, since it relies so heavily on timing and rhythm. Fortunately, the developers have worked to make sure the game stays lag-free. I have played against online opponents quite a few times, and it has always worked so smoothly to the point of which it works just as well as the offline multiplayer. Hopefully this will not change as more people buy the game and fill the servers.

Leaderboards are another important part of a good online mode, and Guitar Hero 3 delivers in that category as well. There are leaderboards for each song, on each difficulty, whether you did it on Co-Op, and the coolest part, online or offline. That’s right, it even has an online leaderboard for the songs you do offline in Freeplay mode! Whether you’re actually playing against somebody, there will always be competition.

Online isn’t the only addition to the multiplayer in Guitar Hero 3. New to the series is Battle mode, which works kind of like Face-Off, except that you can send attacks to your opponent by tilting the guitar controller. The goal is to make the other person fail the song. Some people consider this a bit gimmicky, but I think it is fun and a nice change of pace.


The career mode has gotten a face lift along with the multiplayer. There are now short animated segments between sections of the career. No one ever talks, but instead they communicate through thought bubbles and the “rock on” hand sign. These segments do little to develop plot or character development, but they’re amusing and a huge improvement over the section transitions in previous Guitar Hero games.

As for a story itself… there really isn’t a whole lot. You start off as a nobody garage band, but after impressing a contractor at your first gig, you’re on your way to fame. Tom Morello and Slash notice your talent and challenge you in battle mode, where you play to songs created by them just for this game. Eventually you’ll also travel around the world to play at places like London, Japan, and even Hell, where the devil himself challenges you to a rock showdown. Like with the animation, the story is nothing groundbreaking, and is really kind of an extra thing thrown together quickly. But seriously, this game doesn’t need a story, and so it’s shortcomings really aren’t that big of a deal.

New to career mode is also the option to play through it on co-op mode, in other words, with a buddy. You can’t play a co-op career online, however. Still, it’s cool and necessary if you want to unlock every song (the encores are different for the single player and the co-op careers).


While you can play Guitar Hero 3 with guitar controllers from older games in the series, the one that is packaged with this is by far the best one yet. It’s completely wireless, but the star power-activating tilt mechanism works flawlessly. The fret buttons are cooler and a bit more natural looking, the strum bar is longer (thus more realistic), and the faceplate can be swapped out for personalization. For the Wii version, there is a slot for you to plug your wiimote in. It fits quite snugly and adds to the gameplay experience through a few different ways. First, all the squeaking sounds due to mistakes you make during a song are heared from the wiimote, not the TV. That way when playing with a friend, you can tell who made the mistake. Plus, the sound coming from the actual guitar makes things much more realistic. Secondly, the wiimote will cause the guitar controller to rumble for a moment to let you know that you have filled your Star Power meter up enough to use it, and when you are using Star Power, the controller will pulse to the beat of the song and the clapping of the audience. Believe me, it’s cool.


On the guitar controller itself is a small analog stick that serves a nifty purpose – it lets you control the hand pointer on the Wii Menu. This way, you can start up the game right when you turn on the system – you won’t need to worry about removing the wiimote from inside the guitar. The neck of the guitar can also be detached for travel. In the end, I think the Wii guitar is the best out of all the ones packaged with the game.

When it comes to a bunch of colored buttons, you really can’t go too wrong on the graphics department. Graphics don’t make that huge of a difference in these types of games, and Guitar Hero 3 should be glad. The graphics of the band and audience at the top of the screen are nothing special at all. The Wii version is especially bland. The singer is shown the most, and he is an incredibly ugly person. Fortunately, people playing the game won’t be paying much attention to him or the rest of the band anyway, so this isn’t much of a problem.

There have been rumors about sound problems with the Wii version of Guitar Hero 3, and they are in fact true. That is, the Dolby surround sound doesn’t work right with the Wii version. For me, this isn’t that big of a deal since I usually have the audio going through just the TV speakers (in my house, getting the Wii in surround sound is a quite a hassle), but for seasoned Guitar Hero experts, this might be a bit of a concern. There are ways to get the sound going through all your speakers besides Dolby, but if you’re looking for that exact perfection in you audio quality, you might want to pick this game up on another system besides the Wii. Keep in mind, there could be a way to run an update on the Wii to fix this problem in the future, but for now you’re out of luck.

Despite this, Guitar Hero 3 is by far the best of the series and will please fans. It contains over 70 songs and numerous challenges for Guitar Hero experts. The $90 – $100 price tag might be a bit steep for some, but it’s worth it (and you can buy just the $50 game disk if you already own controllers). Guitar Hero 3 sets a new standard for all music video games, and provides a deeply satisfying gameplay experience.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

By Josh60502

  1. Tomk
    August 31, 2009 at 8:49 am

    WII Guitar Hero 3 Legends of Rock
    When I play ‘Through the fire and the flames’ in expert mode, online on Wifi, the WII freezes, makes a weird noise, and despite getting more points, I lose against my opponent.
    What causes this? Can I do anything about it? Help, its so frustrating.

  2. September 2, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Really? Just one song? I guess maybe “Through the Fire and Flames” is too complicated to make it over Wi-Fi… Perhaps you should take this as a sign to pursue other things besides that song. Or of course, you can go to the Guitar Hero website and find a way to contact some professional help.

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