Guitar Hero III 4 Wii – a closer look
Here it is, the first Guitar Hero game for the wii, with over 70 songs and included online play this game is sure to be a hit.
Guitar Hero III for the Wii will be the “unique” one of the bunch as it’s the only version that requires players to plug in a Wii remote before they can start rocking out.
The back of the Wii guitar has a compartment that’s made specifically for the Wii remote. It only takes a few seconds for preparation before rocking: plug the connector into the bottom of the controller, rest the controller face down, put the wrist strap in the handy nook, and snap the compartment door back on. Easy.
The final product
The Wii version of the Guitar Hero guitar is essentially the same shape as the Les Paul Gibson guitar that will ship with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.
This updated, wireless guitar has a few unseen features, most notably the ability to pop off the neck for easy storage (and presumably upgrading purposes) as well as the ability to take off the faceplate so you can swap on available, customizable replacements. The device has been improved since the past versions of Guitar Hero: the “flapping” sound of strumming has been muffled significantly, and the buttons have been slightly modified with slightly smaller and slicker buttons to make it easier to maneuver along them quickly.
Along with the storage place for the Wii remote, the Wii version of the guitar has one other addition: an analog stick. Why? Well, when your Wii remote’s plugged into the guitar, you lose the Wiimote’s pointing ability – the analog stick is for players to maneuver the Wii’s menu system so they can select the game while the Wiimote’s properly plugged into the guitar.
What the Wii Remote/Guitar combo gets the game is, naturally, the inherent ability to be a wireless controller right out of the box since it’s essentially using all the wireless tech in the remote to talk with the Wii system. The motion detection for when you want to trigger the star power in-game (by lifting the controller) is now provided by the accelerometer within the Wii Remote. But this combo also adds a couple of features that won’t be in the other versions of Guitar Hero. First: rumble. The Wii version will be the only Guitar Hero game that will feature force-feedback thanks to the rumble in the controller, and believe it or not, in IGN’s hands-on, you really could feel the guitar shake to the beat when you rocked out with Star Power, as well as “buzz” when crazy effects are going on in the game.
The second feature? The Wii Remote speaker is used for the game’s “squelch” when you miss a note. Hearing it come from your guitar makes two player co-op and two player competition a bit more fun since you can easily tell which player’s the one that’s screwing up the notes – if player one misses a few notes, the “squelch” will come from his guitar and not player two’s. Players can bring the squelching back to the television speaker by turning off the remote’s speakers – since the mis-note sound effect is integral to the game, it will recognize if you’ve kicked off your Wiimote speakers and send the sound back to the main audio output.
The Wii version of Guitar Hero III is essentially the same design as what’s being produced for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The same track list on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will apply to the Wii edition, which means more than 70 different songs across the different eras of rock. Metallica, AFI, Guns ‘n Roses… even the Beastie Boys. In past versions of Guitar Hero, cover bands handled the track listing, but in Guitar Hero 3, more than 70% of the songs are the actual master recordings. So when you play, say, Paint it Black from the Rolling Stones, it’s the actual decades-old master tuned for play in the Guitar Hero engine.
The Wii version will be more in line with the PlayStation 2 game, with visuals running at 480p and widescreen at 60 frames per second. Naturally, during most of the game you’re watching the notes come flying at you down the center of the screen, so much of what’s going on around that – from the motion captured performers to the animated crowds to the spectacular effects happening on-stage – is more for the observers. And in the demo with a close-to-final version of the game, Guitar Hero III on the Wii never skipped a beat when pushing all those visual effects. One noticeable benefit: loadtimes are damn quick between menus and in-game challenges… you might not have much time to rest those fingers.
The first Wii shot shows the game will run in widescreen at 480p.
Multiplayer is a huge focus for the third iteration of the Guitar Hero franchise, so you’ll definitely want to invest in a second Wii guitar to take advantage of the co-op and competitive modes in Guitar Hero III. That’s right: competition. There are a few modes in Guitar Hero III where you’ll be able to screw with the other person. Earn a power-up after a successful string of notes and you’ll be able to do stuff like temporarily increase the opponent’s difficulty level, double up his notes, shake his screen for a few seconds, or “break” one of his strings that’ll require him to whack the whammy bar or one of the guitar buttons to fix the problem.
The Nintendo Wii version of the game will support the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, and though both Vicarious Visions and Red Octane are remaining tightlipped about the features within, every indication led us to believe that it’s safe to assume that at least a few of the modes, both co-op and competitive, will be playable over the Internet. Which features, and whether or not the Wii version will have downloadable content, remains up in the air. Unfortunately, during IGN’s playtime with the Wii game, they had to skip over the “Nintendo WFC” option in the menu. Damn.
Nintendo’s pushing a lot of attention to the casual gamer with its Wii system, and the Guitar Hero design fits that market like a glove. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Wii version top the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions in sales when they all ship this fall.
We think you’ll agree that Guitar Hero on Wii is looking to rock as hard as its competitors.