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Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review

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On 10/30/2010 at 12:31 PM by Nick DiMola

I hate to say it, but Telephantasm is the best part of the whole package.

Only die-hards itching for the latest in the series should bother with this lackluster offering.

At this point, the Guitar Hero series has undoubtedly overstayed its welcome. While the series saw some definite innovation in its transition from 3 to World Tour, and moderately so from World Tour to 5, Warriors of Rock brings almost nothing to the table. Sure there's a new track list and they added the mediocre Quest Mode, but the only thing that truly stands out is the Quickplay + Mode that began in the last iteration of the series.

Everyone should be intimately familiar with the format of modern rhythm games by now, and Warriors of Rock is no exception to this rule. Players can choose between the Guitar, Bass, Drums, or sing vocals in the various modes of the game. Whether playing at home with a group of friends or online, Guitar Hero lets players double, triple, or quadruple up on the same instrument, giving everyone the opportunity to perform whatever part of the band they like best. Unique to the Guitar Hero series, players can also create their own music, and the Wii version of the game incorporates connection to the DS with its Roadie mode, allowing up-to-four DS systems to connect.

Since the majority of the game is the same, its worth focusing on what's new this time around. What Activision planned as the centerpiece to the experience is the brand new Quest Mode. Rather than going on tour, players embody each of the characters of the Guitar Hero universe who are on a quest to save the Demigod of Rock from The Beast. As players earn enough stars for each character by performing well on songs carved out for them, they will transform into an other-worldy creature (warrior) and as such, be prepared to face their enemy. Each character focuses on a specific genre of music, all of which fall into the punk, classic, or alternative genre. The mode shares theme with Double Fine's Brutal Legend, but its implementation feels forced.

While the single player mode formula has been shaken up a little bit in Warriors of Rock, it ultimately falls flat. Most players will skip right over to Quickplay+ in order to get their rhythm fix. Unfortunately, to unlock some of the best songs in the game, namely the songs from Rush, players will need to get at least halfway through the forced Quest Mode.

Quickplay+ functions as a much more engaging reason to play through all of the unlocked songs in Warriors of Rock. The mode assigns challenges to each song in the game, making the experience much deeper than simply playing well enough to complete the song. This allows players to approach the song differently each time so that each mission can be completed. Completion unlocks outfits and various other in-game items, incentivizing players to work towards objectives together.

Party mode is also a hit, given that the aforementioned setting is in place. With lots of people in the room, and a constant stream of songs playing with no chance for loss, and drop-in drop-out options, everyone is sure to have fun while the tracks are rolling. Like Quickplay+, while the mode is great, it was available in the last mainline Guitar Hero offering, taking away some of the impressiveness of the mode this time around.

Given the fact that the only truly new inclusion of the series is underwhelming, and the best parts of the game have been seen before, Warriors of Rock puts all of its chips on the game's soundtrack. While there are a few hits, like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rush's tracks, most of the game will only appeal to major fans of the exact sub-genres of rock chosen by Neversoft. As usual, players' satisfaction with the track list will come down to personal preference, but there is clearly not enough variety to engage a wide swath of music enthusiasts.

Though a tired argument at this point, one of my sticking points with the game is the lack of 1-to-1 note mappings at higher difficulty settings. Ambient noises and even notes for other instruments tend to be mapped to a single track, artificially inflating the difficulty and making playing the instrument a bit awkward. Perhaps it comes down to my preference for Rock Band, but it seems Harmonix have never suffered such an issue, and the result is a much cleaner, more accurate, and truer representation of the included song.

There's no better way to sum up Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock than saying it feels unnecessary. It's not bad per se, but it doesn't do anything particularly interesting or different to make it worthwhile. Players are better off downloading a few new tracks to their copy of either World Tour or 5 and enjoying exactly what they like, rather than the arbitrary ones compiled for this latest release.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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