There are a few glaring weaknesses in the co-op, though, that mar what might otherwise be a perfect score. The biggest, one that is a leftover from GH World Tour, is the fact that you cannot use star power to save a bandmate who is failing. Players accumulate star power in a shared pool, and anyone can use it once it becomes available. This does have a certain cooperative feel, I suppose, but it doesn't compare to Rock Bands "deploy to save a teammate" mechanic. Imagine playing Castle Crashers or Gears 2 without being able to revive your partners; it would feel far less like co-op, and more like simultaneous single player. That is exactly the problem with GH World Tour, and unfortunately it plagues Metallica's game as well.
Adding insult to the injury is one of the most bone headed achievement booboos in recent memory. My son and I played through the entire campaign over two evenings, and when the last song was played, "Nothing Else Matters", the co-op campaign achievement, popped up. For me, that is, not for my son, though we played entirely together. After doing some research, I learned that only the band leader earns the achievement! Ludicrous, isn't it? This is a minor detail, and affects only those who care about achievements, but still, it's irritating.
For music games, in the end, it's all about the music. Metallica is a natural fit for the Guitar Hero franchise, since there are three, well, guitar heroes, and a drum hero, in the band. As a fan of Metallica's music, I love the game; it's that simple. Beyond just the gameplay, the bonus features are enjoyable, as well. These extras are what will make or break these band-centric games, I think. Games like The Beatles Rock Band and Guitar Hero Van Halen should take the history and behind the scenes features to the next level. Hopefully, Activision will realize the weakness of the co-op in their titles compared to those of Harmonix, and we'll all be able to enjoy even better full band games in the future.
The Co-Op Experience: Jam with friends in Guitar Hero Metallica. Play drums, guitar, bass and sing in 4 player co-op!
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.