The Guitar Hero 3 demo is out—no need to download a semi-pirate copy or buy Tony Hawk to get it. We've had the Guitar Hero 3 guitar in our possession for a while (we've given our thoughts on battle mode), but now everyone gets their chance to jam out. So what should you do once you download it?
Play "Even Flow" Guitar Hero 3 will feature over 70 songs, and many more of them will be master tracks compared to previous games. "Even Flow" is a great track for Guitar Hero 3, and you may be surprised by how challenging it is. This is a song that I'm guessing would have been slaughtered by a cover, but having the original is just great.
Get a note streak In Guitar Hero 3, if you hit 20 notes in a a row, a little streak counter pops up under your rock meter. This allows you to keep track of how many notes you've played in a row. While watching that counter instead of the notes can be a problem, this is a great way to keep track of how close you are to having a song mastered.
Own a friend in Battle Mode Opinions are mixed on this one. Some people say Battle Mode makes the game unfriendly, but it's not like the developers took away Co-op or Face-Off modes. If anything, this gives you a more aggressive game to play in addition to all the friendliness. The attacks, gained the same way you gain star power in the previous games, allow you to royally mess up your opponent; you don't know pain until someone throws you into expert mode before breaking a string with two attacks. It might be a gimmick, but it's also fun if you're in the mood to really test someone's skills.
Activate Star Power This counts for attacks in Battle Mode as well. It feels like it takes much less tilt to activate star power in Guitar Hero 3. This means that Guitar Hero 2 and Guitar Hero 3 guitars will have a different feel for the movement required to activate star power. Start practicing now, and let's hope this is something they add a dial for. A way to make star power easier/harder to activate would be great.
Watch a friend play While the art feels different than previous Guitar Hero games, the character models and their ability to play and sing along to the songs are pretty amazing. Don't bother trying to watch when you're playing—you're just asking for failure. Give a friend the controller, sit back, and enjoy the show.
Once you've spent some time with the demo, come back and tell us what you think. Some people have been complaining about the audio mix, but so far for me it hasn't been bad—or at least not bad enough to really get in arms about. This looks like it's going to be another solid entry in the series.