Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
Before we are through, Iím gonna ride you like a pony
Posted 2 years ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
I’m sure I’m echoing many of you by saying that music games have become stale. Innovation comes in small bits and pieces with each release; and that itself is hampered by a saturation of the market. Now that we are on the sixth entry in the Guitar Hero franchise (not including the band-specific titles), it needs to bring more than drop-in/drop-out play or the ability to use any combination of instruments to recoup some of the fans that have strayed away from the genre. This year’s edition - dubbed Warriors of Rock - does exactly that by dropping the transparent story mode we’ve seen in past titles and infusing it with a much deeper campaign experience. But is it enough?
The story mode is now called Quest and for good reason. The intro cut-scene shows the Demigod of Rock (voiced by KISS frontman Gene Simmons) defeated and imprisoned by a massive mechanical monstrosity referred to as The Beast. The player is tasked with rounding up eight band members from the franchises’ history such as Casey Lynch and Johnny Napalm in an effort to build a rock army to free the captive Spirit of Rock. Each character has a venue and set list that’s inspired by them, such as the Heavy Metal focus of Lars Umlaut or the hair band vibe of Axel Steel. A certain number of stars must be obtained to unlock the true form of each rocker. Fortunately there are more tracks available than what is necessary to unlock the characters, giving the player a measure of choice as to which songs they want to play.
Oh, did I mention that these bandmates have some form of special power? Each one has an ability that is applied as you play through their individual sets. Once the Warrior version of each is unlocked, that special ability becomes even stronger. The endowments range from higher multipliers to life-saving ankhs and each one is pretty cool to have in your tool bag. Combine several of them together and you have a recipe for some massive star counts.
The Quest is split into two parts, each culminating in an epic finale. The first half has you seeking out the Legendary Axe. After unleashing the Warrior forms of the first four band members, you’ll play through the full seven-part tale of Rush’s 2112, with visuals inspired by the story it depicts. The second half is similar, tasking you to bring out the inner power of four more bandmates, culminating with both bands battling The Beast with the powers of the Legendary Axe in an effort to free the Demigod of Rock. These final battles were huge since the special abilities for each character are in play and the songs are wicked. However, unless you are a fan of Rush or Megadeth (who is the focus of the second finale), you may not enjoy it. These tracks are brutal to play as far as the average gamer is concerned and even more so if you don’t like the bands or musical style to begin with. Fortunately, the difficulty can be adjusted, so you can drop it down to Easy if you need to.
The soundtrack for this go-round is less mass-market friendly and more rock-centric when compared to Guitar Hero 5 and World Tour; with the 93 tracks on the disk focused primarily on punk, classic rock, alt rock, and metal. While the uber-heavy and the classic rock genres are not necessarily my cup of tea, I still had a good time. The Quest mode was a much needed change from the bland form-your-band-and-rise-to-stardom formula. While there are most certainly some songs here that I have been itching to play for awhile now (like “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche), and others that were just pure joy to rock out to (Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” and “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes), there are a bunch more that I couldn’t care less for. Now keep in mind that I work the drums, so I imagine there are some awkward moments for the guitars during songs like Queen’s “Bohemian Rapsody”, where they are forced to play the piano parts. The key though is “fun”, and I had a good time with most of the songs I played on the kit. However, some of you may not depending on your musical tastes and what instrument you play.
Regardless of my own preferences, there is a solid amount of replay value to be found within the Quest mode. Once all eight members have been recruited and the Demigod of Rock has been liberated, you can go back to any of the previous venues and play using everyone’s abilities in an attempt to “dominate” the set list (i.e. 40 star each song).
The Quickplay is pretty much the same as Guitar Hero 5, with a few new additions to enhance the experience. Each song - and this includes all DLC and imported tracks - has 13 challenges to be earned. The first 12 are based on the ones from GH5, like achieving a certain amount of Star Power or acquiring a particular note streak; which are then further divided up into three levels (Gold, Platinum, and Diamond). The 13th challenge comes from the special powers liberated during the Quest mode, tasking you to earn 40 stars on a given song. Stars do double duty in Quickplay as they also unlock all the extras in the game. Videos, instruments, clothing, etc... are all earned via levels where the stars act as your experience points.
Both the Party and the competitive multiplayer modes are back from Guitar Hero 5 as well. Party mode is essentially a jukebox that lets players drop-in and drop-out at their leisure (a mode that I didn’t really take to until it hit DJ Hero). On the competitive side, there’s Momentum (where skill level will adjust the difficulty on the fly), Streaker (where note streaks bring in the points), Do or Die (three missed notes and you’re out), and Perfectionist (where the most notes hit wins). Each one does add a nice level of variety to the multiplayer, but personally, I enjoy the standard Quickplay with my friends/family more than anything else, especially with the Warrior powers in tow.
Now, the overall look of Warriors of Rock hasn’t changed, which isn’t really a bad thing since the engine is still going strong, regardless of it’s age. The graphics themselves were a treat as far as I’m concerned primarily because each venue was tailored to the character playing within - just as the set list was - so they helped out a lot in implying the essence of each one. The “true form” that emerged from each band member was both creative and interesting; and you’ll be anticipating the transformation of each one just to see what they will become.
Overall, I liked the new direction of the franchise. Don’t fool yourself though, this is still Guitar Hero, through and through. Sure, the story in the Quest mode leans toward the silly side of things, but it still worked well to change things up and provide a fresh coat of paint for the cut-and-paste campaigns we’ve been playing for the last few years. I totally adored the way each character has been fleshed out more, providing a musical selection to reference individual tastes. Quickplay is an absolute blast once all the Warrior powers are unlocked and has a ton of objectives to shoot for. The tools are there for a good time, even though the “innovation” comes in the premise alone. Fundamentally, it’s still Guitar Hero.
Yet, as I say with every music game out there, the choice will come down to the set list above all else. It has to be composed of songs you enjoy because half of what makes a song fun to play is if you like to listen to it. The ability to import the back catalogues is a plus, but none of those tracks are available in the campaign, so to fully enjoy the biggest changes (the Quest mode), you will need to at least be able to tolerate the selection that Warriors of Rock brings to the table. If not, then all the cosmetic changes in the world won’t make this latest entry in the Guitar Hero franchise worth a spot on your stage.
+ Lots of replay value
+ QuickPlay changes make it even more robust
+ Sets and venues flesh out the Guitar Hero characters
+ New Warrior powers add a little something extra to the Quickplay
+ Itís still the same Guitar Hero we know and love
- Gameplay changes are cosmetic at best
- On-disk set list will not be for everyone
- Why is it I can import all GH titles since World Tour EXCEPT Van Halen?
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Release Date : 2010/09/28
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Neversoft
Category : Music,Tempo, Dance
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10