IMG_0230My copy of Guitar Hero: Metallica arrived today and I’ve managed to coax about two hours play out of my left wrist.

There are no great surprises in the gameplay — it’s pretty much exactly like any other GH or Rockback game — the only exception being the Expert Plus level of difficulty on drums, which sees the introduction of a second bass pedal. Madness.

At the moment, I’m progressing reasonably well through Hard on guitar and frequently surprising myself at the number of riffs I’m hitting. The trick seems to be not to think about it too much. That, and mashing the buttons randomly.

Presentation-wise, though, it’s a much slicker product compared with the rather disappointing Aerosmith addition to the franchise. The band look like the band and behave like the band. Watching the game is, by and large, exactly like watching Metallica perform live. Unfortunately, that has a downside and that downside’s name is Lars Ulrich.

If you didn’t hate Large Oilrig beforehand, you’re not going to find anything in here to secure his position on your Christmas card list. He yawns at points when his drumming prowess is not required. He constantly has that smarmy, smug expression on his face, mouth doing a passable impression of a cat’s arse.

But what get’s me is, he must look at that and see it. He must surely have had to sign off the design of his digitized face.

“Guys, guys, guys,” I imagine he might have said. “If you can’t make me look like a bulldog licking pish from a nettle, we’re pulling the freakin’ plug.”

GH games and their ilk live and die by the song selection and GH:Metallica has picked its tunes from the right end of the Metallica back catalog, ie. the pre 1990 bit. That’s not to say there’s nothing from St Anger etc, but so far at least, they’ve been thankfully brief.

Easily one to play through to completion and to return to when the mood takes.