Game: “Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock”
So this is it, after 5 main guitar games, titles for Metallica, Van Halen and Aerosmith, numerous spin-offs and not forgetting the Greatest Hits, this is the final Guitar Hero to come from Neversoft/Activision. The question is; have they produced the song everyone knows, is in the encore or is it a case of that one song only the band likes?
The game starts with an introduction narrated by Gene Simmons of KISS, which for anyone who listens to any form of rock knows who this man is and is inspiration for the Lars Umlaut character. He sets the scene: The Demi-God of rock and his mighty axe is fighting the epic battle with an ancient Evil Beast but he is defeated. The axe disappears and it is up to you to unleash the “Warriors of Rock” by turning the regular GH cast into their true selves and defeat the Beast.
To do this you need to play through the Quest mode and earn stars to unleash each character and their true selves. This is done by playing through songs in the set list much like the other Guitar Hero games. The difference this time is the songs are focused on a specific character rather than venue. To mix things up a bit each character has their own ability, for example once enough stars have been earned from his set list, Lars Umlaut will become “Warrior Lars” which increases his maximum standard multiplier from x4 to x6.
There are a few niggles though, in the previous games such as GH: World Tour stars are earned on the songs and it didn’t matter which songs they were earned to progress. In W.O.R you have to play through each character’s set lists until the Warrior Form has been unlocked. Also the number of stars has rocketed from a possible 5 to a maximum of 40! Granted most of these are only achievable once you have unlocked the true rock stars but it does give you a lot to do.
It is understandable for Neversoft’s to increase the lifespan, but once the Quest mode is completed most would just revert to the Quickplay+ or the party modes to fully enjoy the Guitar Hero experience. Speaking of which, this and Party modes are back, providing a welcome break from the Quest mode. Party Mode allows any player to drop in and rock out at anytime, while the game plays songs that are randomly selected from the set list.
Quickplay+ is where the game comes alive, as it’s where the entire set list resides. There are subtle changes like the inclusion of the challenges within the song. Such as longest note streak, which improve the enjoyment of Warriors of Rock, by making the game more competitive.
The other members of the band shouldn’t be left out. As it is a firstly a guitar game you, would have thought that Neversoft would just bolt on the drums and vocals as an after thought. Oh no. With stiff competition from Rockband they had to deliver on making the best band type game or people would flock to Harmonix.
The developers have incorporated the drums and vocals into the title in such a way they could be separate games on their own. Drumming away quite happily is a rewarding experience in itself. The same can be said with the vocals, rather than being an amazing singer, it’s more about pitch and length of the vocal in a similar way to SingStar.
The game is fun just on your own but if you get 3 other people together it make for an interesting time! As well as playing as one group, you can connect to PlayStation Network (or Xbox live & Nintendo WIFI) to battle people online throughout the world either as one on one or in a rock outfit.
One major drawback is the setlist, which doesn’t quite flow as well as it used to. Like with the main Quest, the learning curve is disjointed. One moment you are playing one of the easiest songs – Bleed It Out by Linkin Park, the next you’d be playing Tick-Tick-Tick-Boom by The Hives, a decidedly more challenging song.
There are plenty of tracks to choose from, a mix of 93 Rock, Punk and Metal songs. There is something for everyone on the disc with even more content on the GH: Store. It is also possible to import a selection of songs from as far back as World Tour and even Band Hero if pop is more what you are looking for. There’s even the option to go into the studio and record personal tracks and try and get infamous online by publishing them to the GH: Store.
In terms of presentation the graphics and sounds are what have become expected from the Guitar Hero games. There is the rock inspired art work for the menus and they aren’t very distracting when you are playing through the songs. The music when playing is focused on the instrument being played. So if you are shredding with a guitar & bass, pounding the drums or screaming from your lungs this is what you will hear over the track as you can listen to your progress.
There is a lot to Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, with tons of songs to play and trophies to unlock. Bring three friends together and form a band and an entire new experience is created. Spend hours, or maybe even days at a time developing skills and trying to perfect the setlist so you can headline at the biggest gig ever.
It is the little things that let the game down. It is not a bad game, however compared to previous titles, it wouldn’t hold it’s own in a contest, it doesn’t really stand out. If the menus were easier to navigate or if the set lists were put together to produce a learning curve it would have been an outstanding game.
With the success of Guitar Hero 3, World Tour and the tweaks that Guitar Hero: Metallica brought it feels that Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is just what’s left on the studio floor pieced together to make the interim album. It lacks the pyrotechnics that the other games created. It’s like the acoustic version of a band’s heaviest song – good but not as good as the original.