Guitar Hero III
Originally uploaded by ray_lukes.
Look/Feel: The new styling is good and not distracting. The cosmetic changes were likely made because it was developed by a different company than the earlier games in the series. Your "streak" status comes up on the screen when you reach a milestone, which adds a little visual noise to the interface, but it is soon ignored as you progress.
Setlist: Top notch. Almost every song deserves to be there. Some of the atonal guitar "noise" parts are less than fun to play. Melody is king in a game like this.
Game Play: Mixed. While little has changed over the course series, there seems to be a slight adjustment in the response of the strum bar for this game. The earlier games were more forgiving with the amount of "slap back" of the tab it would allow before counting it as a separate strum. This means one could flick the bar like one would strum a guitar. This game is much more finicky, so I had to change up my playing style to accommodate. This will only effect those players who strum in that fashion, which appears to be a minority.
The Hammer-on, pull-off technique is great, and the indication for it (a white ringed note) is much clearer with this game's design. The song encoders for this game took good advantage of this and made huge sections "hammer-onable."
Extras: Most of the cosmetic changes are not worth noting. Slightly different characters, outfits and guitars don't have an impact on my enjoyment of the game. The "star power" actions your avatar perform have been made more realistic, and less showy unless there is a mode I have yet to unlock.
Battle Mode: The addition of battle mode will make two person games much more interesting. I have only played against the in-game bosses on "Difficult," so I'm not sure how I would fare against another player.
Overall: A must have game, if you enjoy the series. The gameplay changes are minor, and are easily overcome. By the time you finish this game, going back to GH 1 will be like discovering it anew. The songs are great, and one always needs more songs to satiate the Guitar Hero cravings.