Guitar Hero: Metallica is the second Guitar Hero game with a focus on an individual band, the first being Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. The game's soundtrack features 28 Metallica tracks and 21 tracks from other artists such as The Sword, Foo Fighters, and Danzig. Tracks from each Metallica album, even the live album S&M and the cover album Garage Inc are featured. While all versions of the game come with the track "All Nightmare Long" from their latest album, Death Magnetic, the rest of the album is available for download on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace.
In various interviews, Metallica has stated that they are pleased and honored that Activision is devoting an entire team to make a game entirely focused on their music. Lars Ulrich, the band's drummer and co-founder, said that it will be a treat for fans. Long time lead guitarist, Kirk Hammett, said that fans and even those who haven't discovered Metallica yet will fall in love with the game, because it gives players the feeling that they are really up on stage playing the songs and creating music.
Career mode progression works similarly to the one found in Guitar Hero Aerosmith, while maintaining the gameplay found in Guitar Hero: World Tour. In the beginning, players take control of Metallica performing a two-song setlist. This triggers the story by inspiring a local band to follow Metallica on tour and play as an opening act. The band will follow Metallica around to key arenas which commemorate some of their most memorable gigs. This will include arenas such as the Tushino Airfield in Russia for where they played to a crowd of 500,000 people free of charge in 1991, as well as The Forum in Los Angeles.
During career mode, the player alternates between playing as Metallica and the opening band, aptly named 'Tallica Jr. Players can choose to create their own rock star through the game's Create-a-Rocker editor, or choose from a variety of pre-existing characters (Whom include Guitar Hero staples Axel Steel, Johnny Napalm and Judy Nails). Following suit with the previously Neversoft Guitar Hero releases, players can also unlock celebrity rockers including Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister and Mercyful Fate vocalist King Diamond (who appears with his trademark cross-bones microphone). When the player plays songs that are not by Metallica - with the exception of 'Ace of Spades' and 'Evil', generic Guitar Hero characters are used.
Aside from the game's career progression style, the in-game interface remains largely unchanged from Guitar Hero: World Tour. One of the few key differences, however, is a box that goes over your note streak telling you how many stars (out of five) you have earned, similar to the system used in the Rock Band franchise. In addition to the in-game interface and set list changes, the menus of the game have been given a Metallica make-over, with everything from the start menu sporting Metallica inspired artwork.
The online aspect of Guitar Hero: Metallica remains largely unchanged to Guitar Hero: World Tour, with the player being able to play in a four-player band, guitar and bass co-op, band vs band matches etc. The only key change resides in the game's guitar-exclusive battle mode, in which a new power up dubbed "Fade to Black" appears. The power-up is most used in sudden death matches, and when used completely blacks out the opposing player's fret board.
Metallica put on motion-capture suits and did many of their signature moves from their live shows for the game. Among them were bassist Rob Trujillo's "braid spin" where, during the song "Seek and Destroy", he picks up his bass and spins around in a circle. The game features unlockable videos of the band in the suits, including a scene where Lars Ulrich is playing the band's song "The Shortest Straw" in the suit for the first time.
In addition to the videos of the band in mo-cap suits, the game sports the "Metallifacts" video feature. Metallifacts is a pop-up video style feature that has the virtual band playing the song the player chooses, all the while displaying little known facts and details about the songs they pick. Some songs even feature bootleg performances taped by fans, included on the songs "Creeping Death", "Orion", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and others.
A new feature making its debut in Guitar Hero Metallica is the inclusion of Expert Plus, the highest difficulty a player may choose. Only available to Drummers, Expert Plus utilizes a second kickpedal that can be connected to all Guitar Hero World Tour and Band Hero drumkits via the ports on its back.
On September 28, 2010, 39 tracks (including all the Metallica tracks except those from Death Magnetic) from Guitar Hero: Metallica will be exportable to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.
Every Metallica album is represented in the game's setlist. Metallica's Albums in chronological order:
- 1983 - Kill 'em All
- 1984 - Ride the Lightning
- 1986 - Master of Puppets
- 1988 - ...And Justice for All
- 1991 - Metallica (The Black Album)
- 1996 - Load
- 1997 - ReLoad
- 1998 - Garage Inc.
- 1999 - S&M
- 2003 - St. Anger
- 2008 - Death Magnetic
Guitar Hero: Metallica Setlist (Band**)
* = These songs are exclusive to the Wii and PlayStation 2 version of the game, although they are available as DLC for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
** = The setlist for single instruments varies from this list. All the songs do appear on those setlists (except for the instrumental Orion on vocals).
*** = Exportable to GH:WoR
The entire Death Magnetic album a unique version of Suicide & Redemption is available as DLC for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation3.
Trivia and Other Stuff
Original Box Art Misspelling
In February 2009 the original box art for Guitar Hero : Metallica was released and had a big misspelling on it. Instead of the famous band name "Lynyrd Skynyrd", the box art read "Lynyrd Skynrd".
A demo for Guitar Hero: Metallica was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on 20th March, 2009. It included the four following songs:
- No Excuses - Alice in Chains
- Sad But True - Metallica
- Seek and Destroy - Metallica
- Stone Cold Crazy - Queen
Launch Bundles & Pre-order Bonuses
In the United Kingdom and Australia, a limited guitar bundle was distributed. The bundle contains the game, a Guitar Hero: World Tour guitar, a Metallica faceplate and some exclusive stickers.
Pre-order bonuses were also offered by retailers. In Australia, EB Games offered a bass pedal, GAME offered a set of black drumsticks with a printed Guitar Hero: Metallica logo and JB Hi-Fi offered a Guitar Hero: Metallica t-shirt. In the United States, GameStop offered a new bass pedal and Hollywood Video and GameCrazy offered the above mentioned drumsticks.