North America

Guitar Hero 5

by Neal Ronaghan - November 2, 2009, 8:00 pm PST
Total comments: 7


Its additions and refinements make it the sharpest full-band game from Activision to date.

Last year's Guitar Hero: World Tour left a little to be desired as it came off as more of a response to Rock Band than a true innovation. The latest in the series, Guitar Hero 5, brings a bevy of new features and ideas to the table, and even a few cool ones exclusive to the Wii.

One of the best new features begins right after you boot up the game: a random song begins to play, and you can hop in on any instrument on any difficulty, and join in at anytime. It is great for anyone who just wants to hop into the game and play a song quickly, and eliminates the obtrusive menus from Quickplay.

The song list is full of variety with artists such as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and such popular songs as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Queen & David Bowie's "Under Pressure." There are 85 songs by 83 artists and like recent Guitar Hero games, all of the songs are unlocked in Quickplay so you don't have to work through the Career mode to play the songs if you don't want to. A majority of songs from past full-band Guitar Hero games can be imported for a nominal fee depending on the game, and a good majority of the downloadable content can be imported into the latest game free of charge.

The Career mode features a few refinements. The songs are broken up into different venues, and as you gain stars you unlock more songs and more venues. Like past games, you gain stars by getting high ratings on songs, but you can also get stars by doing bonus challenges that are different for each song. For example, the challenge might be to hit every hammer-on or pull-off without strumming. You can get up to three more stars depending on how well you do, and each bonus is specific to an instrument or collection of instruments.

Speaking of instruments, you can use any combination of them you desire. If all of your friends love guitar, all four of you can rock out on guitar; if two people want to sing and one person wants to play drums, you can do that as well.

Returning features, such as the GH Music Studio and Mii Freestyle, get some upgrades, but GH Music Studio is still limiting to would-be creators, and Mii Freestyle is still a one-note mode that gets old quickly. Guitar Hero 5 offers some connectivity to the DS with Roadie Battles. A guitarist and a DS-touting roadie team up and compete against other guitarist/roadie teams. Players control the roadie with the touch screen on the DS, protecting their guitarist's gear while trying to attack their opponent's gear. It's a frantic and fun mode that is a mix of the Battle mode introduced in Guitar Hero III and the Duel mode in the Guitar Hero DS games.

Guitar Hero 5 also features a lot of new multiplayer modes in addition to Roadie Battles. The headlining part of the multiplayer is the new RockFest mode. There are multiple different game types in this mode, ranging from Elimination (the worst player is booted after different segments of a song) to Momentum (difficulty shifts depending on how well a player is doing). The RockFest mode can be played with up to eight players online, and players can connect with each other using Wii System Codes instead of the troublesome 16-digit friend codes in almost every other online Wii game.

Simply put, Guitar Hero 5 is a fantastic and full-featured Wii rhythm game. You can import songs from past titles, you have a large and diverse set list to go through, and there are interesting new challenges to tackle. Any Guitar Hero fan with Wii instruments would be remiss to ignore this excellent title.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8 9 9 9 10 9

Guitar Hero 5 looks a bit better than past games in the series, and the presentation retains the same cartoony rock music feel.


Each song in the 85-song set list is a master and sounds great. It's also a diverse set list with everything from Blur's "Song 2" to Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."


My personal beef with the Guitar Hero drums aside (I just don't like them), the latest game controls just as solidly as previous games entries.


For a game that is just about playing songs, there is a good deal of variety with tons of multiplayer modes, a robust Career mode, and a well-implemented online mode.


With all the songs you can import into the game from previous downloadable content (World Tour, Metallica, and Smash Hits) and more downloadable content on the way, there's well over 200 songs at your disposal if you're willing to spend a little money.


Guitar Hero 5 is a fully-realized game that checks all of the boxes necessary for an awesome rhythm experience, and then adds some new wrinkles such as Party Play and new multiplayer modes. It's a marked improvement over past games, and stands as one of the most ambitious games on Wii.


  • Great new features
  • Import songs from past games
  • Wide-ranging set list
  • GH Music Studio and Mii Freestyle are lame
Review Page 2: Conclusion


BranDonk KongNovember 02, 2009

Wow, just wow. Graphics and "party play" aside, this is the worst "main" guitar hero game I've ever played. You can't import ANY of the GH: Metallica songs, and only 35 from GHWT and 21 from GHSH, not including DLC, of course. Sure there's quite a bit of music to choose from, but it can't even compete with Rock Band, which will have over 1,000 songs by the end of the year.

PlugabugzNovember 03, 2009

*continues waiting*

Quote from: Brandogg

Wow, just wow. Graphics and "party play" aside, this is the worst "main" guitar hero game I've ever played. You can't import ANY of the GH: Metallica songs, and only 35 from GHWT and 21 from GHSH, not including DLC, of course. Sure there's quite a bit of music to choose from, but it can't even compete with Rock Band, which will have over 1,000 songs by the end of the year.

I find this funny since I think you disagreed with every other Guitar Hero review I've written.

I thought this was the best GH game that Activision/Neversoft/VV has made without any help from Harmonix. To me, it's the final realization of a lot of concepts and ideas that they've introduced or messed around with.
For example, in the last GH DS game, they had fan requests, which Lauren (my fiancée who reviewed it for NWR) thought were a good idea but poor execution. Those return in this in the form of bonus challenges, and they're awesome.
I also really like the set list in the game, and this is the first Wii GH to allow importing and use of almost all of the World Tour DLC.
Do I still like Rock Band better? A million times yes, but GH5 is a very good game and the first GH game since Rock Band launched that I think even comes close to rivaling Harmonix's game.

UltimatePartyBearNovember 03, 2009

They did make some big improvements to Mii Freestyle mode, and I have to admit I've had more fun with it than I thought I would.  Not that I've made anything worth saving.

They also finally fixed the user interface.  The player-specific setup menus are way more usable than the ridiculous layered menus that were getting more cumbersome with each new feature.

It's funny, because I found Mii Freestyle mode to not be any fun this time around.

StratosNovember 03, 2009

All of the GHWT DLC is transferable except for the Hendrix stuff, right?

KDR_11kNovember 04, 2009

IIRC IGN was raving a lot about Roadie Battle.

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Genre Rhythm
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Guitar Hero 5
Release Q4 2009

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