6th October 2010 - The 6th main instalment in the highly popular series is arguably the most risky one, too. Taking a cue from the old notepad of when the series spawned all those years ago, Warriors of Rock challenges pop-culture and the rhythm-game norm by giving us a whole slab of hard-rocking, metal-moshing, punk-sporting rock tracks that greatly differ from what we’ve become accustomed to by the likes of Band Hero and more recent Guitar Hero attempts. In a way its giving the hardcore fans what they wanted and fell in love with the series for, but its also going against the musical tastes of the masses who now dominate the sales charts when one of these comes out. It’s a dividing decision, but one this reviewer thinks is a great improvement. Read on to find out why.
Starting with what we all know, Guitar Hero is a rhythm game, requiring players to hit a series of buttons at particular times in conjunction with the guitar (or drum, bass and vocal) tracks for a wealth of songs. Each previous instalment of the massively successful series had attempted to reinvent the core somehow, but Warriors of Rock is as basic as possible, actually being more like the older titles than the more recent ones. There is no more awkward sliding bar, and it just feels like the game we all know and love. The one big difference here is in how the game is presented.
This time around, Warriors of Rock lets us play a deeply overhauled single-player campaign. Starting from the beginning, players are told to choose one of two rockers. Play through them and you are given more, so on, so forth. There are eight in total, from Guitar Hero vets such as Johnny Napalm and Lars Umlaut as well as a few newcomers, and each character has his or her own special ability. These are major game changers, and range from things like a constant 2x Multiplier to A shield which allows you to make a mistake here and there without breaking the streak. As you progress through the campaign and storyline (that’s right, Warriors of Rock has a surprisingly neat, albeit gimmicky and clichéd storyline), you’ll work your way to what is effectively the mid-way boss (Rush’s 20-Minute Guitar Epic ‘2112’) and finally the last showdown, in which you will be able to select which characters you want to form a band with before taking on the last few mega-hits. Each of the ‘boss’ battles will give you the combined upgraded powers of your rockers, and once you beat that, you will even get a setlist designed for the harder tracks that gives you all 8 powers, resulting in some crazy scores and great times.
This is the major advantage Guitar Hero games have over their closest competitor - Rock Band; the graphics. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock features some heavily updated character models for all characters in the band - not just your main rocker. Add to this the awesome transformations that each character undergoes when you finish their set list with enough Stars, and you have yourself a great range of really cool characters.
But that’s not all; during the single player campaign, almost every song has its very own set of character animations reminiscent of the real bands stage personas and live performances. These include wonderful use of strobe lights, camera angels and even some staged animations like we’ve seen in the bands film-clips (Bohemian Rhapsody is probably the best track for demonstrating this little feature). It may not be much, and nothing that important, but I found it to be one of my favourite things about this game, really giving more depth and enjoyment to playing with a plastic guitar instead of the real-deal, and definitely increasing the all-round awesomeness of seeing video game characters rock-out Nine Inch Nails and The Offspring.
As I mentioned earlier, Warriors of Rock has a soundtrack primarily made up of hard-rock and metal tracks. This includes the likes of modern metallers Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold and Children of Bodom, while also attending to the needs of those who like a more classical taste with Megadeath, Queen and Slayer. Top it off with a helping of punk tracks as performed by The Offspring, Bad Brains and Rise Against. And that’s just to name a few; Warriors of Rock’s track list is the most diverse set of rock tracks put into a single game, and has something for everyone who has at one time or another enjoyed rocking out to their favourite tunes. Also, not that it needs to be said, but all the tracks here are the original masters by original artists - none of those bad covers by some nameless band.
But with such a killer track-list and overhauled campaign mode, there has to be a catch, right? Well not really. However, everything we see and do in this game has been experienced before. Where, you may ask? In every other Guitar Hero and Rock Band game, that’s where. The whole experience is simply nothing new. We get a new musical/rhythm game or two (sometimes even three!) a year, so by now, most of us have pretty much had it with the same-old, same-old that used to grab us by the balls and pull us in. I personally haven’t played a Guitar Hero game thoroughly since number 3 due to their constant supply of tedious pop tracks that burn my ears with every horrid note and worthless strum, so this game was a God-send for me. But other, more devoted gamers who have played every Guitar Hero over the years will most likely not get their fill from this solid attempt.
Guitar Hero 6- sorry, Warriors of Rock is definitely the best instalment of the long running series. Back to its roots for tracks and simplicity, this game has it all for the rock-loving gamer. A lot of newer Guitar Hero fans certainly wont approve of the track-list this time or even like the fact there wasn’t some sort of silly gimmick added to the mix, but the awesome single-player experience, great multiplayer potential and downright killer track-list means this is the best rhythm game on the market right now. Warriors of Rock’s guitar bundle also comes with the coolest looking and nicest feeling plastic guitar I’ve had the pleasure of pretending was real.
But now we’ve had our fill of 6 main games and a ton of spin-offs, not to mention everything from the competitors, one can’t help but ask; how much is too much?
AAG SCORE: 8.5/10
+ Strong track-list
+ Great band animations
+ Overhauled campaign mode
+ New Guitar is nice
- Nothing we haven’t seen before
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott