Review: Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock

The once-prolific Guitar Hero series sees just one major release this year. Once upon a time, we could expect publisher Activision to pump out five or more guitar-based games a year. In 2010, there is only Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

The follow-up to last year's unusually diverse Guitar Hero 5 focuses more on guitar-driven rock and heavy metal, also adding a mystical twist to the game's career mode. Warriors of Rock introduces Quest Mode, which tells the tale of a legendary axe, the Demigod of Rock and his imprisonment by The Beast. The rest is pretty much the Guitar Hero formula you've come to know and love/grown weary of.

Ideal Player

The hardcore Guitar Hero player who wants ever more serious challenges from finger-blistering, hand-shredding speed metal and visits the Score Hero forums regularly. World of Warcraft players who want to play guitar music with night elves.

Why Should I Care?

Remember how good Guitar Hero 5 was? It was pretty good, loaded with ease-of-play feature improvements. Warriors of Rock builds on that base. It's just as easy to jump into - thanks to the group-friendly Party Play mode - and features all the addictive song challenges from the last one. Online play, competitive and cooperative modes, it's all here.

Awesome! How's Quest Mode? Kind of lame. What sounds like an interesting opportunity for role-playing adventure winds up being your standard Career Mode, but with Guitar Hero characters that transform into mummies, boar-men, elves and goblins. After transforming, they gain skill-modifying powers that lightly affect how you play songs and how they're scored. Quest Mode also features a bare-bones story narrated flatly by Gene Simmons from KISS and a playthrough of Rush's "2112" that features a stilted, monotone voiceover from the band. Good fan service, but also somewhat jarring.

Image (right): You can finally play as a super-powered pig man in a Guitar Hero game.

Thank the Rock Gods for Quickplay+ The super powers from Quest Mode can be employed in the game's Quickplay+ mode, opening up a new set of challenges and clever ways to improve your scores. So that's pretty cool.

At least it's got some rockin' tunes, right? That's your opinion. Mine? I didn't find much to like in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock's set list. I certainly found plenty to hate, like the reprehensible "Unskinny Bop" from Poison and "Bodies" by Drowning Pool, for starters. There are also a bunch of live versions of songs from previous Guitar Hero games (ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man"? Again?) and odd modern re-recordings, like Styx's "Renegade" and Foreigner's "Feels Like The First Time". Furthermore, Nickelback.

What about the rest of it? The music creation tool GH Tunes is still intact, finding a friend to play with online is a breeze, and sitting down with a group of fellow fake musicians to jam with is just as amusing as ever. And while I'm not a bug tester, Warriors of Rock did lock up on me once, during an online multiplayer session while playing Muse's "Uprising".

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock In Action

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock's debut trailer.

The girls of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock can transform into far less attractive cobra women, so don't get too attached. If you're looking for lurid camera angles, watch this teaser trailer.

Megadeth's "Sudden Death" on Expert difficulty proves that developer Neversoft isn't letting up on the challenge in Warriors of Rock.

Warriors of Rock features plenty of plugs, from ads for JC Penney to Coca-Cola product placement to CBGB's. Note Johnny Napalm in standard punk rock mode.

When Johnny transforms, he'll gain gameplay-modifying super powers. Characters each have their own unique ability, none of which will dramatically alter the way you play in Quest Mode.

Any semblance of realism is dashed when the rockers of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock transform into their super-powered alter egos.

The map for Warrior's of Rock's Quest Mode. You won't get lost on this linear journey. Promise.

Buy It

If you find absolutely nothing wrong with Drowning Pool, love Megadeth and simply want to expand your Guitar Hero song library by another 90 songs of someone else's choosing.

Don't Buy It

If you're simply curious about Quest Mode. Spend the cash on new downloadable songs instead. Or wait for Rock Band 3 to see which band game is worth your time.

The Bottom Line

The core gameplay of Guitar Hero remains essentially unchanged, leaving much of the decision whether to invest in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock up to one's personal musical tastes. Quest Mode is more of a gimmick than an interesting innovation; thankfully, you don't have to play it to unlock most of the content. The addictive skill challenges of Quickplay+ and familiar Guitar Hero gameplay help to make up for the comparatively dull Quest Mode, but the rest of this Guitar Hero performance feels largely phoned in.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was developed by Neversoft and published by Activision for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 28. Versions for the Wii and Nintendo DS were developed by Vicarious Visions. Retails for $US49.99-$US59.99/$AU89.95. A copy of the game, as well as guitar and drum controllers, were provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through Quest Mode on guitar and drums, played to rank 12 on QuickPlay+ and tested online multiplayer, all on Xbox 360.


Comments

    Bitter review is bitter- I think it's safe to say the reviewer is more interested in the "golden oldies" lineup offered by Rock Band. If that's your thing, then fine, but bagging out GH for what made it popular with a lot of people in the first place is a bit sad.

    The game has improved substantially by basically being the proper sequel to GH3, by ditching most of the grandpa/country/soft rock that clogs up WT/GH5/Rock Band. If you liked the vibe of rocking out and headbanging from GH3, this is a safe bet.

    They've also put a lot of effort into polishing little things- for example, the game rewinds a few moments when you pause, so you don't get overwhelmed and screw up your combo, made the character bands consistent so you don't get absurd combinations like emos doing metal, better menus etc etc.

    Like I said, the proper sequel to GH3.

      I could not agree with you less. This game is complete and utter shite. I really wanted it to be something worth playing, so as to prompt Harmonix to continue making amazing games, and add a little competition into my favourite game genre.

      The setlist is probably the least consistant of the GH's, contradicting the "hardcore" look and feel they've advertised the game as having. I mean, come on, bohemian rhapsody? Dire straits?

      The quest mode's progression was frustrating and insulting. After finishing one set, it unlocked two more, but then refused to unlock any more until I finished all of them (and there were two sets I hated). But no, it didn't unlock more sets, it unlocked 25 minutes of pain in the form of Rush's 2112. Goddamn, if this is neversoft's attempt at recreating the vibe of Beatles: Rock band, they're doing it wrong.

      Jumping straight into the game has been made more frustrating, after GH5's quite nice and part friendly quickplay mode. Menu's are complex and annoying.

      Another year, another Guitar Hero, another disappointment. I think this is the time to call it. Guitar hero is dead. Long live Rock Band.

        That said, the pause rewind really is quite nice.

        If you don't understand the classic nature of Bohemian Rhapsody then you probably were never the target audience for this or any guitar hero game to begin with. Sorry.

          No, I'm probably not the target audience for the game... But neither is anyone who buys it thinking it is a hardcore style game, which is how it's advertised.

          "then you probably were never the target audience for this or any guitar hero game to begin with" Jeeze matey, flame moar. I've played all the GH's and rock bands, so I'm pretty damn sure I've been in the target market.

          Perhaps try to take a different view at what Activision wants. They don't want to make you happy, they want your money. And they've taken mine, by baiting me with a game that isn't what it says it is.

          "WoR is what a guitar hero game should be." Lul. You might be happy with a cruddy game, so more power to you. Have fun with that.

      "Bitter review is bitter"

      You pretty much said it all right there. And I don't even like Guitar Hero - Rock Band all the way for me. But yeah, that review was totally bitter for all the wrong reasons.

      Except GH3 /was/ a "grandpa rock" game. Less than half of the songs were new, none of the new songs being in the campaign (except for Through the fire) and all required to be bought (with ingame cash).

      But it comes down to the fact that, band games are a tired medium and as he said - you could just buy the songs you wanted for either RB or GH instead of buying this.

      Ha ha! @mr waffle. It's not that at all. I agree with the comments about the set list. It's like they've taken from the rock greats, their second best song. (and in somecases something much lower down).
      Sure it's hard to please everyone, but really? Love gun??

      I totally agree with Mr Waffle.

      I am choosing to ignore guitar hero 4 and 5 as attempting to pander to target demographics. WoR is what a guitar hero game should be.

    Cash Cow: Rehashan for Cash

    I concur with everything stated by my Mr Foodstuff friend above. Loving this game at the moment.

    Well, Koticks succeeded at ruining the franchise and driving it into the ground...

    The review isn't bitter at all - I totally get where Michael is coming from. WoR is just not very good. The setlist, in particular, is absolutely horrible - it doesn't cater to the broad demographic that GH appeals to, and is instead packed with track after track of terrible metal, nu-metal, and extremely predictable 'extreme' attitude. I find it staggering that a commenter would actually castigate Harmonix for including Bohemian Rhapsody/Money For Nothing. Those are the two best songs in the game - hands down. I think Activision has misjudged the totality of their market with this one - it might appeal to children, but Rock Band will remain the superior option for those over 21.

      "but Rock Band will remain the superior option for those over 21 and under 30."

      fixed

      "the broad demographic that GH appeals to, and is instead packed with track after track of terrible metal, nu-metal, and extremely predictable ‘extreme’ attitude."

      Sounds like you need Band Hero

    i personally love some of the songs on there, not just bohemian rapsody, but DETHKLOK!!!

    they are awesome and hilarious,i think this game acually has one of the widest categories of music, but whatever, ima get it for x-mas anyway! =D

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