Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review

   29/09/2010 at 21:01       Richard Horne       6 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Neversoft, Activision, Rock Band, Gene Simmons

There’s not a whole lot more can be said about the Guitar Hero franchise that hasn’t already been said and regurgitated ten times over. You know the score by now and will have already made your own mind up as to whether or not you’ll be buying Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, with the track listing probably having more influence on your purchasing decision than anything I can say.

But I do have a few things to say about it and having played just about every single Rhythm Action game since the release of Parappa the Rapper on the PS1 way back when, am hopefully qualified enough to say a thing or two about the genre.

While Harmonix and EA are taking the Rock Band franchise down the serious bona-fide musician route with their 2 octave keyboard, authentic 6 string guitar controllers and three-part harmonys, it’s up to Activision and Neversoft to take the Guitar Hero franchise neither forwards nor backwards, but slightly sideways. With the key factor here being that for Warriors of Rock will thankfully support all of your old instruments and won't require that you buy even more plastic tat. In fact, it’s not that actually all that different to previous offerings, which is actually no bad thing believe it or not, with just the single player career and multiplayer modes being given the odd tweak here or there to make them more intuitive and involving. The game has been refined rather than overhauled.

As ever the main career mode revolves around a hackneyed and clichéd rock-god fairytale, ably voiced by Gene Simmons, and sees you completing certain groups of songs in order to unlock various RPG-lite attributes for the game’s assorted motley crue. The further you progress the more each character’s appearance changes and the more effective their unique powerups. It’s complete cheese and doesn’t take itself at all seriously, but even that won’t stop you from skipping the admittedly well animated cut-scenes before screaming “GET ON WITH IT”.

In terms of presentation, Warriors of Rock is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous Guitar Hero titles. Neversoft’s animation team ought to be really applauded for the quality of its motion capture and its authentic lip synching, with poster-song Bohemian Rhapsody ably demonstrating this with its trio of singers all looking faithful and very reminiscent of the famous music video.

The track-listing, while not necessarily to my specific tastes, is also much improved because of its dedicated focus on rock music as opposed to trying to cover a wide range of bases with a dash of pop here, a sprinkling of soft-rock there and a shower of shit everywhere else. With tracks from such big-hitters as Megadeth, Anthrax, Def Leppard, Pantera and Slipknot it’s quite esoteric, but then there are also a decent number of popular tracks that will be played to death at partis such as the aforementioned Queen classic, Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing, Muse’s Uprising, The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army and R.E.M.s Losing My Religion. Rush’s 7 part epic 2112 and a track specifically written for the game by Dave Mustaine called Sudden Death prove to be the testing conclusion to the game but thankfully most of the songs are available to play from the off in both the fun quick-play mode and various drop-in, drop-out multiplayer offerings.

In fact a lot of work has actually gone into the quick-play mode this time around and it’s no longer just a throwaway addon. For each track, and each instrument, there are various challenges that can be completed for extra bonus stars with each proving quite imaginative and encouraging experimental gameplay. For instance, strumming every bass note up, or down, getting maximum whammy bar distortion out of every extended note or just trying to beat a target score set by one of your friends all reward extra points and bonuses. Extended party play now actually benefits you.

In addition to the 90 strong roster of tracks in Warriors of Rock you can also import a selection of songs from the previous Guitar Hero games. Unlike Rock band 2 which charged you a fee for importing from the first Rock Band game, Warriors of Rock simply asks you to enter the serial number displayed on the manuals of the previous Guitar Hero games before allowing you to download a file which adds the imported songs to the in-game catalogue. Of course the entire GH catalogue still pales into insignificance when compared to the many hundreds on offer on the Rock Band store, but it’s still a great addition and saves faffing about with numerous disks.

The new guitar controller is also worth a quick mention too as it's substantially more well built and feels a lot more robust than the previous lightweight controllers. And with its cut-out flame stylings it looks considerably more rock-chic than Fisher Price.

Similarly to the last few Guitar Hero games, if you love the series and want more of the same then there’s absolutely no reason not to buy Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. But conversely, if you’re completely bored with the concept now then this won’t change your mind and maybe you should wait for Rock Band 3. But thanks to its high production values, solid presentation and return to its hard-rock roots, Warriors of Rock actually proves that the franchise isn’t entirely ready for the scrap-heap quite just yet and it might still have a couple more top-ten hits up its sleeve. A solid return to form then after a difficult couple of albums.

User Comments:

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peej - on 30/09/2010 at 09:56 wrote:
Crikey, a 4 - so I guess it's still a genre you're in love with. I'll gaze into my crystal ball and make a prediction about this AND Rock Band 3 though. This won't sell in massive numbers and the solus version will probably be a bargain bin job by chrimbo if not sooner. Rock Band 3 will be hailed as "the new messiah" though secretly a lot of people who go for the full fat warts n'all version will play it thinking it'll somehow turn them into musicians - it won't and just like learning an instrument it'll get harder and harder till it ends up in a cupboard somewhere with the rest of the plastic peripheral junk.

At least Harmonix seem to recognise that rhythm action GAMES (and game is the operative word here) should be fun and take the piss out of themselves a wee bit.


HairyArse - on 30/09/2010 at 11:24 wrote:
I'll be honest, I was expecting to be totally going through the motions with this and was anticipating a 3 at best but they've cleared worked much harder on this one than the previous ones. The fact that it's the only GH game this year is obviously quite telling.

It deserves an extra star just for Money for Nothing doesn't it?

peej - on 30/09/2010 at 11:29 wrote:
I think if they've put in the extra work and polish on it, I don't really think there's much more you can demand of a series franchise like this. I still think the GH and RB games are hideous cash cows that need putting in the ground but when this hits the bargain bin I'll probably grab it just to give my guitar controller a bit of a dust off and yep I'd agree that Money for Nothing's a shoe in for a vital track to grab.

HairyArse - on 30/09/2010 at 11:34 wrote:
Yeah it's an interesting one. While I applaud Rock Band for what they're doing with 3, I'm not sure that splintering the market is actually a good thing. Activision actually deserves some praise for reining itself in and not forcing Neversoft to change the franchise for the worst out of sheer greed.

Basically if you love the track listing then I'd have no hesitation in buying this.

HairyArse - on 30/09/2010 at 11:35 wrote:
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock track listing as follows:

* A Perfect Circle - "The Outsider"
* Aerosmith - "Cryin'"
* AFI - "Dancing Through Sunday"
* Alice Cooper - "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
* Alter Bridge - "Ties That Bind"
* Anberlin - "The Feel Good Drag"
* Anthrax - "Indians"
* Arch Enemy - "Nemesis"
* Atreyu - "Ravenous"
* Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"
* Bad Brains - "Re-Ignition (Live)"
* Band Of Skulls - "I Know What I Am"
* Black Sabbath - "Children Of The Grave"
* Blind Melon - "Tones Of Home"
* Blue Öyster Cult - "Burnin' For You"
* Bush - "Machinehead"
* Buzzcocks - "What Do I Get?"
* Children Of Bodom - "If You Want Peace... Prepare For War"
* Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Fortunate Son"
* The Cure - "Fascination Street"
* Deep Purple - "Burn"
* Def Leppard - "Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live)"
* Dethklok - "Bloodlines"
* The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants"
* Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"
* DragonForce - "Fury of the Storm"
* Drowning Pool - "Bodies"
* Edgar Winter- "Free Ride"
* Fall Out Boy - "Dance, Dance"
* Five Finger Death Punch - "Hard To See"
* Flyleaf - "Again"
* Foo Fighters - "No Way Back"
* Foreigner - "Feels Like The First Time"
* George Thorogood and The Destroyers - "Move It On Over (Live)"
* The Hives - "Tick Tick Boom"
* Interpol - "Slow Hands"
* Jane's Addiction - "Been Caught Stealing"
* Jethro Tull - "Aqualung"
* John 5 - "Black Widow Of La Porte"
* KISS - "Love Gun"
* Linkin Park - "Bleed It Out"
* Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Call Me The Breeze (Live)"
* Megadeth - "Sudden Death"
* Megadeth - "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due"
* Megadeth - "This Day We Fight!"
* Metallica & Ozzy Osbourne - "Paranoid (Live)"
* Muse - "Uprising"
* My Chemical Romance - "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)"
* Neil Young - "Rockin' In The Free World"
* Nickelback - "How You Remind Me"
* Night Ranger - "(You Can Still) Rock In America"
* Nine Inch Nails - "Wish"
* The Offspring - "Self Esteem"
* Orianthi - "Suffocated"
* Pantera - "I'm Broken"
* Phoenix - "Lasso"
* Poison - "Unskinny Bop"
* Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
* Queensr˙che - "Jet City Woman"
* Rammstein - "Waidmanns Heil"
* The Ramones - "Theme From Spiderman"
* Red Rider - "Lunatic Fringe"
* R.E.M. - "Losing My Religion"
* Rise Against - "Savior"
* The Rolling Stones - "Stray Cat Blues"
* The Runaways - "Cherry Bomb"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 1 - Overture"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 2 - The Temples Of Syrinx"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 3 - Discovery"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 4 - Presentation"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 5 - Oracle: The Dream"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 6 - Soliloquy"
* Rush - "2112 Pt. 7 - Grand Finale"
* RX Bandits - "It's Only Another Parsec..."
* Silversun Pickups - "There's No Secrets This Year"
* Slash featuring Ian Astbury - "Ghost"
* Slayer - "Chemical Warfare"
* Slipknot - "Psychosocial"
* Snot - "Deadfall"
* Soundgarden - "Black Rain"
* Steve Vai - "Speeding" (Vault Version)
* Stone Temple Pilots - "Interstate Love Song"
* Strung Out - "Calling"
* Styx - "Renegade"
* Sum 41 - "Motivation"
* Tesla - "Modern Day Cowboy"
* Them Crooked Vultures - "Scumbag Blues"
* Third Eye Blind - "Graduate"
* Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "Listen To Her Heart"
* Twisted Sister - "We're Not Gonna Take It"
* The Vines - "Get Free"
* The White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"
* ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man (Live)"

evilashchris - on 30/09/2010 at 13:09 wrote:
Do want.

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