Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. The core gameplay mechanics are as good as ever, the presentation has been toned down for the better, there are some brilliant new multiplayer options, and everything feels more streamlined than before. Well worth adding to your playlist.
  2. Guitar Hero has become even more user friendly. The experienced player will have a problem with the minor flaws and the lack of improvements. As a party game Guitar Hero 5 has succeeded.
  3. Guitar Hero 5 is the ultimate party game. The solid, addicting Guitar Hero gameplay has been made even more accessible and compelling with all of the new additions Neversoft has added for this version.
  4. Guitar Hero 5 is the most refined version of an instrument based music game you can find. From the hardcore Guitar Hero fanatics to the casual gamer, Guitar Hero 5 has more features built into its gameplay to suit everyone.
  5. Guitar Hero 5 isn’t the best game the industry can offer but it has made huge leaps, and for once, this time, they are all in the right direction.
  6. 89
    The accessibility, streamlined presentation, solid note charts, and welcome gameplay improvements make this the best Guitar Hero game in recent memory.
  7. The Guitar Hero franchise takes a few baby steps forward.
  8. Wide-ranging improvements and an excellent new Party Play mode make Guitar Hero 5 a great way to bring some rock into your living room.
  9. You can’t knock Neversoft for resting on its laurels. In what seems like the umpteenth GH title released this year, the company delivers yet more solid work. Guitar Hero 5 is clearly aimed at correcting some gripes shared by long-term fans of the series.
  10. A significant improvement and Neversoft’s best full band game yet.
  11. It almost seemed as if the music game genre was starting to fade, however GH5 still manages to incorporate some interesting features and bring new things to the table, even if to does not have the same level of polish as the Rock Band games.
  12. But right now the Guitar Hero franchise is doing real damage to the genre by diluting the quality of its games in the attempt to cash in quickly on a formula that sells. It’s sad, and moreover it’s incredibly shortsighted.
  13. 90
    With Guitar Hero 5 Neversoft has finally found its "confidence." An assured nature to the game's new visual direction contrasts with the see-what-sticks "extreme" visual stylings of its predecessors, and with several new game modes Guitar Hero finally bests its direct competitor in ease of use and friendliness, in many respects.
  14. While I've been critical of Neversoft's handling of the Guitar Hero franchise, I must give credit where credit is due. Guitar Hero 5 has fixed 70%-80% of the problems I've had since III, and is easily the most fun I've had playing Guitar Hero since Guitar Hero II.
  15. There's something about the return to a standard numbering scheme for Guitar Hero 5 that suggests to me that this is, more than anything else, a commodity, a manufactured product, albeit a very attractive and energetic one. Neversoft seems more comfortable and confident than ever with this series it has inherited, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of passion behind the craft.
  16. 100
    The multiplayer is easier to jump into than Rock Band, but the game's more intense difficulty settings still provide a challenge for the plastic-instrument elitist. The franchise still has a long way to go to catch up to Rock Band's mind-bogglingly large library of downloadable songs, but, on the software side, GH5 is the current feature leader.
  17. Overall, Guitar Hero 5 is technically a good game; it’s just a bit soulless.
  18. If I were Bob Dylan, I might ask, “How many versions of this game must we suffer, before we get something really new? “.
  19. Seasoned pros will love the new performance challenges and multiplayer-oriented party games for local and online play. As for the remarkable set list, Activision delivers a mix of old and new, from artists like Iron Maiden, 3 Doors Down and Elton John.
  20. It doesn't reinvent the genre. But it's more fun than ever to play the game in band mode.
  21. Activision and Neversoft managed to breathe new life into the series and plays music, even when the genre was showing signs of wear.
  22. There's no reason for it to take any risks, and it doesn't. [Nov 2009, p.112]
  23. Neversoft have polished and tweaked the franchise to a very high standard, but I still can’t help but thinking that there is nowhere else to go now for the inevitable Guitar Hero 6.
  24. Great upgrade to the previous installments means access to all songs from the very beginning, freedom with band setting and a wide song selection. [Oct 2009]
  25. Guitar Hero 5 is proof Neversoft is getting the hang of this caper, but it could've benefited a lot from a more proven tracklist. [Nov 2009, p.70]
  26. The Guitar Hero series is in dire need of new ideas, and the ones that are introduces in this version are far from enough. The uninspired track listing and meager importing possibilities from previous games makes this purchase less than essential.
  27. Rife with variety and bursting with multiplayer options, this is the GH game to get.
  28. Although Activision doesn’t reinvent the wheel with Guitar Hero 5, it thankfully doesn’t try to be clever with the franchise, ensuring that old users will find enough in this program for a worthy purchase.
  29. I simply cannot resist. And as a little tidbit, I discovered that Sony's SingStar mics work with the game, as well. Once again Activision has put together an extremely convincing soundtrack and have earned my attention.
  30. If you’re looking for a party game that everyone can enjoy, or if you haven’t looked at Guitar Hero in a while, you should definitely check this one out.
  31. Not a reinvention but the most thorough and polished GH yet. [Nov 2009, p.90]
  32. Despite being a bit burned out on the whole music-game craze, Guitar Hero 5's new features and ear-pleasing track list had me strumming and drumming on the plastic instrument peripherals all over again...and having a great time doing it.
  33. Undeniably the best music game ever made, as it synthesizes the best of the genre into one neat package.
  34. The new mechanics work extremely well, and the visuals have received a nice new coat of paint to really make performances pop and give you the feeling that you're watching actual concert footage instead of a simple video game.
  35. 90
    Definitely the best of the series, and easily the most streamlined of the genre. The option for importing songs is disappointing, but everything else is finally up to par with that other music game.
  36. The series was really heading off track despite the good sales, but we can safely declare this the best Guitar Hero in sometime.
  37. Despite these few annoyances, Guitar Hero 5 is still an excellent example of a band-based rhythm action game done right. This is a true evolution of the Guitar Hero phenomenon, simple but devastatingly effective changes that really bring the best out of the genre.
  38. Neversoft has delivered a very impressive game with Guitar Hero 5. They have finally cleared al the errors from the previous games and put something extra in the game instead. With a very nice tracklist and the new improvements, Guitar Hero 5 is one of the best music games ever made. The only bad thing about Guitar Hero 5 is that you can not completely import the tracks from Guitar Hero: World Tour and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits.
  39. Although it may seem that Guitar Hero 5 is just an update of the last year edition, the truth is that the new features, the improvements in the interface and the track list make it the best installment of the series in the last years.
  40. 90
    With Guitar Hero 5 Neversoft almost succeeded in creating the perfect music game. Only some small mistakes prevent this game from scoring the complete 100 points. Still this game is the best music game at this moment.
  41. 90
    More tracks, more options, better graphics. Guitar Hero 5 got it all. Perfect for the fans, perfect for new players to start with.
  42. Let’s put it this way: if you bought World Tour and ended up disappointed, the chances that the same thing will happen to you again are incredibly thin. I’m not afraid to say that Guitar Hero 5 is exactly what World Tour should have been in the first place.
  43. Despite the lack of innovation, Guitar Hero 5 delivers plenty of game modes, an almost perfect multiplayer (both local and online) and the same old gameplay we all know and love. The tracklist is huge, and we can play the songs at different levels, with different instruments. Those who have already spent hundreds of hours with the series might find this new episode unattractive, but it's worth a try anyway.
  44. One thing one could blame Guitar Hero for is its difficulty level – that is of course if you were an absolute beginner… Guitar Hero 5 is the proof that game designers do listen to players’ opinions: the game is now more adaptive to one’s skill level, welcoming casual gamers as well for the first time in its history.
  45. Guitar Hero 5 is definitely the highest point of the series, since it passed into the hands of Neversoft. Activision's game has some very interesting ideas like Play Party, Avatars in game and a lot of game modes to have fun with your friends. Some imperfections in the packaging still restrict the final judging, but all those who loved World Tour can buy this chapter without remorse.
  46. Guitar Hero 5 manages to achieve a huge leap, and brings a great game after the unremarkable Guitar Hero: World Tour.
  47. Guitar Hero has started to become somewhat stale in recent installments, but this fifth version prsents a refreshing take on the music genre, with its abundance of party play options and all round accessibility.
  48. 81
    There are a lot of new features, but most of them just make us shrug, while a few are a little bit annoying. [Issue#184, p.78]
  49. The setlist simply did not pull me into this game. There were some good tunes (Frampton rocks!), a couple of nice discoveries, but Guitar Hero is about the songs and while the gameplay, mechanics, and options are nicely handled, the track list failed to impress.
  50. Without a doubt, one of the best music rhythm titles on the market at the moment. The incredible track list, new game modes and improvements over Guitar Hero: World Tour makes this a title worthy of a purchase.
  51. Guitar Hero 5 still emphasizes challenge over fun, but if that's the beat you march to, this may well be your new favorite game. [Nov 2009, p.73]
  52. It remains one of the best party games around, and it's still engaging and fun in a single player setting, and if you can't find people locally to play with, then the online mode will generally satisfy that itch.
  53. 90
    An incredibly solid title with plenty to see, do and most importantly, rock out to. Brandishing some stellar new Competitive play concepts (Do or Die, Momentum) not to mention some incredibly creative new stages to play on, Guitar Hero 5 stays true to its franchise roots and rocks just about as hard as anyone could expect it to.
  54. If you’re intoGuitar Hero, buy this game. It’s one of the most solid Guitar Hero titles yet and should keep you busy for a long time.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 74 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 15
  2. Negative: 4 out of 15
  1. Feb 3, 2014
    Songs: 8 out of 10, Graphics: 7 out of 10, Fun: 8 out of 10, Controls: 8 out of 10, Ease to Learn: 7 out of 10, Length: 8 out of 10, Re-play: 8 out of 10, Value: 8 out of 10 Full Review »
  2. Jan 5, 2012
    The game has an updated engine making it feel much better to play the songs. The set list is pretty good and has some classic songs in it. Career mode is also newly designed with challenges for each song. The game also has improved band play allowing everyone to pick any instrument they want rather than needing to have a standard band. Full Review »