Grab your Fender and get your ‘rock on’ as we take the next chapter of the Neversoft developed Guitar Hero franchise for one more standing ovation.
Thrashing its way onto our gaming console this week has been the one and only Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and we have to say that what we originally thought to be another milking machine has turned out to be a solid entry into the Rock Hall of Fame from Activision. The game has had its fair share of doubters and shouters but we decided to discover what all the fuss was about for ourselves after shelling out for a new guitar controller and set of microphones. Were we going to follow the rest of the naysayers and howl sacrilege from the rooftops? Well, to be quite honest with you all…No. Whatever misconceptions we had already allowed to permeate our gin-oaked brains, thanks in no small part to the scanning of some pretty nasty reviews courtesy of some of the other gaming cyberzines and websites out there, we are more than happy to say were quickly dispelled by the excellent 93 song soundtrack and the tongue-in-cheek ‘campaign mode’ that was almost a deliberate poke of the tongue at other games in the same genre as the musical originator.
The main addition to the game, the aforementioned Campaign Mode, turned out to be genuinely enjoyable and well presented with the player recruiting a band of Musical Warriors to assist them as they fight the good fight on their path to Rock Legend status. The mainstay of the solo campaign see’s you battle to free the world of Rock Music from the evil clutches of the ‘Anti-Rock Demons.’ The narration of the story is told by none other than a real-life living Rock legend, a certain Gene Simmons no less, and his surly tones do the campaign justice as he guides your character through the traps and pitfalls of the single player mode.
The graphics have been noticeably polished, along with some fine tweaks here and there to the general gameplay, but all in all the true star of the show here is the standard Guitar Hero format. With the interface being modified so that you receive a far smoother experience than in Warriors of Rock’s competitors, you will soon get to grip’s with the continuous stream of multicoloured dots that signify your prowess with the plastic Stratocaster. Even the out-and-out Guitar Hero virgin, such as myself, will find the game engaging and yet at the same time compelling and a whole lot of fun.
The track selection is inspired and when you consider that in this series alone that this is the sixth outing for the Guitar Hero franchise, it makes it all the more impressive that Activision have still been able to ensure that every track that features in the game is relevant and, as described by a band that is no stranger to the series Sum 41, that the songs are ‘all killer and no filler.’
One of the features that we found to be a lot of fun, once we had mastered the system, was the Song Creation Mode. Now we know from some reviews written by other journalists that there are some issues with the song creation, however we have toi tell you that the mode is like everything else that you will experience in the world of gaming. By that we mean that at first you are going to find things tricky, that is just the way of things, no-one ever picks up any title and just knows what to do with a feature that they have never experienced before. So with that in mind we cannot understand the up in arms attitude of a lot of reviewers that have struggled with this feature? Just follow the prompts and instructions, that we have to say are far clearer and more precise than some would have you believe, and you will be having the time of your life creating some memorable tracks in no time at all.
The same can be said for the Character Creation, and the depth of customization that is available to the player. We had more fun making outrageous caricatures our friends and colleagues than we did exacting clones of ourselves. Which I think kind of points out a lesson to us all. The great thing in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is the way that Activision have remembered the fun element of gaming. This can be demonstrated in every mode that is available to the player. This is not learning to play Greensleeves on a twelve stringed acoustic for Heaven’s sake, and thankfully Activision have allowed the gamer to remember this as they have created a genuinely enjoyable gaming experience.
The gameplay itself has seen some nice touch up’s in the way that it is presented to the player. There are the all-new power ups and bonus features that will aid in your solo career and, depending on which characters you have recruited to be your band members, there are some additional perks that can be utilised to make your musical onslaught go just that little bit smoother.
The new track listings work well in making the game appeal to rockers of all ages. So that players who are old enough to remember when Rush’s 2112 will fit in nicely alongside the more recent headbangers who favour the deeper and darker tones of Linkin Park and Slipknot. There are, in fact, songs in there that will bring a nostalgic smile to the face of many a middle-aged gamer, from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Blue Oyster Cult’s Burning For You to the classic REM Losing My Religion. However there are many a tune on offer in Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock that will have the younger generations of gamers shredding their plastic power controllers in joyful glee at their inclusion into the set list.
So when all is said and done the next in line in the award-winning Guitar Hero franchise is a welcome addition to any gamers musical collection, the tracks are a stunning collection of classic and modern rock mastery that will keep players entertained long into the winter months, and then some. The tweaks and polishes and inclusion of the extra features have benefitted the Guitar Hero format no end, to say anything less is to sell short the work and dedication of the developers at Neversoft and Activision. The promise of the inevitable downloadable content will no doubt prolong and enhance the experience of the title will hopefully continue this trend of mixing great rocks tracks both old and new.
Graphics: With the format requiring little in the way of ground-breaking alterations it was a pleasant surprise then to see that Activision had given the games look a far sharper and cleaner appearance. The interface has been smartened up and the imagery that is on offer in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is second to none in the games genre. A rocking good game. 8
Gameplay: If the graphics required little polish to improve on their outlook then the gameplay needed no additional tinkering. Once again though, we have to say, that the cleaner interface and the extra features are a welcome inclusion and not an intrusion. 8
RePlay Value: One of those games that you just know will be played, and enjoyed, again and again. Even after you have beaten the campaign on all levels and managed to conquer your peers in the first-rate multiplayer modes there is always the option of DLC and then of course there will be the inevitable party sessions. 8
Presentation: As with all Activision titles you know that you are going to be enjoying great gaming that has the added bonus of including compelling gameplay that will see you return for more time and time again. Whatever they do, Activision do it well, and Guitar Hero:Warriors of Rock is no exception to that rule. 8