If the original Guitar Hero was an acoustic Tegan and Sara show in an Austin coffeehouse, and Guitar Hero II was a Pearl Jam concert circa 1994, Guitar Hero III is the electronic equivalent of that Black Sabbath gig that left an innocent bat headless. Everything about this latest iteration of the series is bigger, more attractive, and sounds better than its predecessors, and even on "easy," it manages to rock you like a hurricane.

The game itself is extremely similar to previous Guitar Hero games—if you've played either of the earlier ones, you already know how to play this one. The majority of actual changes are extremely subtle and minute, though the drastic increase in the number of original recordings for the tracks in the game is worth a mention—we all loved Guitar Hero II, but being subjected to those glorified karaoke warblings during Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box" was almost as painful as Cobain's suicide.

In addition to the songs actually sounding much better, the soundtrack itself melts faces at an astonishing rate. The final tally includes some 70-plus songs from groups like the Rolling Stones, DragonForce, Bloc Party, the Sex Pistols, and Slayer, cramming in a ton of kickass guitar songs without focusing on any particular era or subgenre too exclusively—you couldn't really ask for more without sounding like a petulant dick.

In addition, the developers managed to add guest appearances by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Guns N' Roses' Slash as secret characters. I'm not going to say this is the greatest decision since Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, but I would like to point out that "November Rain" has never caused a civil war.

With all of the above and the online multiplayer that instantly adds months to the lifespan of the game, unless you have no arms with which to strum the now-wireless guitar, you must buy this game. EARNEST "NEX" CAVALLI