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Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

 

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Interactive Music
 
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8.3
 
Author:

Developer: Neversoft Entertainment
Publisher: Activision

Features:

Players: 1-4
Co-op: 2-4
Online Multiplayer 2-8
4MB to Game Save
HDTV 720p/1080i/1080p
Playable with Guitar, Drum Kit and Microphone
In-game Dolby Digital

The Guitar Hero franchise has become a household name and a mega-hit for Activision. Guitar Hero games have been around since November 2005 and the franchise is not showing any signs of slowing down. Year after year, Activision keeps pumping out new Guitar Hero games and while many are excited for its yearly release, many (including myself) have become a tad indifferent towards the franchise. Granted, over the years we have seen bigger set lists, more master tracks, the addition of instruments and more play modes than you can shake a stick at. Yet at the end of the day, I just find some of the Guitar Hero lustre has worn off. So along comes Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock with, as you guessed it, a bigger and “better” set list, new and improved instruments and a host of playable options unlike the franchise has seen before. Are these enhancements enough? Read on to find out.

Graphics

Overall Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a good looking game and there is no question it stays true to the overall looks of the franchise. The game’s colours are bright and the characters have more animations than ever before. Some of which I cannot give away without soiling some of the game.

The game’s new stages and fresh concert venues are very sharp looking as is the overall presentation of the game. When you first fire up the game the menus look very sharp, seem much more simplified and keep to that authentic Guitar Hero look. When you start to play a song you will notice the scrolling notes look clean and crisp. The notes themselves run quite smoothly which is critical in the game where timing is essential to how well you perform. Located just behind the scrolling notes is your band. The characters are easily recognizable as Axel Steel, Judy Nails, and Johnny Napalm from past Guitar Hero games. Not to mention the game has several new characters.

Just like World Tour, Smash Hits and Guitar Hero 3 for the Xbox 360, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a vibrant game and everything is certainly over-the-top with some of the crazy effects that occur just before the start of every encore

Sound

As far as the audio is concerned, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock scores high marks. For starters the game features a stellar set list where there is truly something for everyone. In fact, if there is nothing that appeals to you on this set list you are not a fan of music. The game comes with over 90-songs out of the box all of which are master tracks. Having over 90 songs in this game is simply incredible and with the ability to import selected songs from previous Guitar Hero games, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock offers up endless hours of music all at your fingertips. Soundgarden, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, KISS, Rush, Stone Temple Pilots, Tom Petty, The Vines, Black Sabbath, Queen, Megadeath, Muse and Blind Melon are just a few of the artists on the set list. All in all, the developers did a nice job picking some fantastic tunes from past and present. For those wondering what songs they get to play I thought it would be prudent to make a list of some of the songs available.

Aerosmith - "Cryin'"
AFI - "Dancing Through Sunday"
Alice Cooper - "No More Mr. Nice Guy"
Alter Bridge - "Ties That Bind"
Anberlin - "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 Oyster 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"
Deep Purple - "Burn"
Def Leppard - "Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live)"
Dethklok - "Bloodlines"
Dire Straits - "Money For Nothing"
Dragonforce - "Fury Of The Storm"
Drowning Pool - "Bodies"
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)"
Interpol - "Slow Hands"
Jane's Addiction - "Been Caught Stealing"
Jethro Tull - "Aqualung"
John 5 Feat. Jim Root - "Black Widow Of La Porte"
Kiss - "Love Gun"
Linkin Park - "Bleed It Out"
Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Call Me The Breeze (Live)"
Megadeth - "Holy Wars… The Punishment Due"
Megadeth - "Sudden Death"
Megadeth - "The Day We Fight!"
Metallica Feat. 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"
Orianthi - "Suffocated"
A Perfect Circle - "The Outsider"
Pantera - "I'm Broken"
Phoenix - "Lasso"
Poison - "Unskinny Bop"
Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Queensryche - "Jet City Woman"
R.E.M. - "Losing My Religion"
RX Bandits - "It's Only Another Parsec…"
Rammstein - "Waidmanns Heil"
Rise Against - "Savior"
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"
Silversun Pickups - "There's No Secrets This Year"
Slash Feat. Iggy Pop - "We're All Gonna Die"
Slash Feat. Ian Astbury And Izzy Stradlin - "Ghost"
Slayer - "Chemical Warfare"
Slipknot - "Psychosocial"
Snot - "Deadfall"
Soundgarden - "Black Rain"
Steve Vai - "Speeding"
Stone Temple Pilots - "Interstate Love Song"
Strung Out - "Calling"
Styx - "Renegade"
Sum 41 - "Motivation"
Tesla - "Modern Day Cowboy"
Third Eye Blind - "Graduate"
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "Listen To Her Heart"
The Cure - "Fascination Street"
The Dillinger Escape Plan - "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants"
The Edgar Winter Group - "Free Ride"
The Hives - "Tick Tick Boom"
The Offspring - "Self Esteem"
The Ramones - "Theme From Spiderman"
The Rolling Stones - "Stray Cat Blues"
The Runaways - "Cherry Bomb"
The Vines - "Get Free"
The White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"
Them Crooked Vultures - "Scumbag Blues"
Twisted Sister - "We're Not Gonna Take It"
ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man (Live)"

As you can see it is a pretty good set list. It is almost overwhelming as I just do not know how I am going to get through all the songs. Guitar Hero has come a long way since the days when the game only had a few master tracks. Now, we have come to expect a game with master tracks and re-recordings of some classic tunes. Bottom line - the master tracks make this one worth the purchase for some fans of rock and the GH franchise.

The overall sound in the game is fantastic as well. You hear every little note in 5.1 surround sound and the tunes just filled my home theatre room. All in all you will be happy with the whole audio package offered in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, from the available music tracks to the crowds and the special effects (e.g. pyrotechnics on stage); it is all worth the price of admission.

Gameplay

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is the 6th main entry in the Guitar Hero series. For those of you wondering what this instalment in the franchise offers up compared the previous versions, well, there are many enhancements as I suggested above but if I was to pinpoint the biggest change from previous games, it would have to be the new “Quest mode.” This first time ever story driven mode drives the single player campaign and was something I have been asking from the franchise for years. It is a welcome addition, however, there are concerns. Overall, the core of the gameplay in Warriors of Rock remains unchanged from the other games in the franchise. This can be a good and a bad thing. Do not get me wrong, for those hardcore GH fans there is plenty new here but you should be forewarned Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock does not feature any earth shattering or ground breaking new features, so for those familiar to the franchise you won’t skip a beat. But before I get ahead of myself I will just recap what the Guitar Hero game is all about for the few who may have been living under a rock for the past few years.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a rhythm based game where you hit falling notes represented on-screen as coloured discs. When playing with the guitar you must hold down the corresponding coloured fret buttons in time with the coloured discs while strumming to beat. As you manage to hit successive notes you increase your bonus multiplier and rack up your score. Similarly with the drums, as the on-screen coloured disks drop you need to bang on the corresponding coloured drum or cymbal with your drum stick or push the foot pedal for the kick drum. The microphone works similar to other rhythm based games such as SingStar and Rock Band as it uses a system that gauges your pitch. The pitch level you are required to sing is displayed via horizontal bars and these bars correspond with the lyrics of the song. Your pitch is compared to the pitch of the artists singing the song. The better your singing abilities (e.g. the better your pitch and timing) the better your score. Everything that I just described is the essence of Warriors of Rock in a nutshell.

Instead of going through some of the features that have been around since the original Guitar Hero game, my gameplay section will focus on some of the new features and enhancements to existing aspects of the game. So for those looking for a recap of some of the gameplay modes that have been around for years I would suggest you refer to some of my previous Guitar Hero reviews.

As I mentioned at the top, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock includes a story driven campaign mode called Quest mode. This is the core of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and is where I spent the bulk of my time. Your ultimate goal here is to recruit eight legendary warriors of rock with to save the Demi-God of Rock. The story does not really offer up anything incredibly different from previous GH games as you still have to proceed through each character’s set list in order to progress along in the game. Granted you do not have to play every song in each set list provided you earn enough stars; however, Quest Mode still plays out very much like previous GH single player modes with the only difference being the story narrated by KISS frontman, Gene Simmons. I just found myself not really caring about the game’s storyline or saving rock and roll for that matter. Bottom line, I just wanted to play the songs and everything else seemed to take a back seat, including the game’s storyline.

Despite some of my concerns with the story based Quest mode, it is certainly much more challenging this time around. By the time you hit the final song in your first character’s set list, your hands will start cramping and getting a high star rating becomes quite the challenge. For those familiar with some of the songs on the set list you will know exactly what I mean. So on that note, the career mode (Quest Mode) has been designed, to a certain extent, for the hardcore Guitar Hero fan as the mode offers up a degree of difficulty unlike any we have seen in previous GH game to date. Thankfully you do not have to ‘beat’ every song in order to progress in the game. Similar to Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Warriors of Rock offers up a tier based system where it’s all about how many stars you rack up which allow you to move forward along the set list. Gone are the days of having to plod through each song one by one or getting stuck on a ridiculously hard song. Instead it is more of a performance based system where essentially you could complete the game without having played through half the songs available. Despite this, I found that I wanted to play through all the tunes getting some of the unlockable bonus, for doing so is rewarding. I think that this performance based system is tailored for all types of people including those looking to race through the game, unlock some stuff, and check out all the various venues. Bottom line - it is sure to please many.

The Quickplay feature that has been around for years has also seen some enhancements. For starters, there are massive assortments of song specific challenges. Every song has 13 challenges for you to beat, with challenges for every instrument as well as band play. Stars you earn by beating challenges with help you rank up, letting you unlock more content. Once you have selected Quickplay in the game’s menu you will be taken to a screen showing you all the unlocked songs available. Unfortunately, not all the songs are available right out if the box which is a downside for those who do not have the time to plow through the game’s campaign mode. As far as the Quickplay mode is concerned the only downside is the lack of songs available from the get-go; otherwise it’s a great place to pick-up and play away without having to worry about saving rock.

In addition to the Quest Mode and Quickplay, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock features the GH Studio, the Rocker Creator and a My Stuff section. The GH Studio allows you to create your own hits in a Music Studio, share them online and watch your created character shred or drum to your soon-to-be breakout hit. It is a slick mode clearly designed for those GH junkies as the Music Studio lets you express your musical creativity by giving you access to a full complement of tools to create digital music from scratch, utilizing the redesigned touch-sensitive guitar controller and an authentic drum kit. You can then play your compositions in-game and share the recordings, as I mentioned, with the entire Guitar Hero community where other gamers from around the world will be able to download and play their original tracks. I have to say that by surfing the feature I was somewhat amazed with what people are doing with the music tools included in the game. Rocker Creator allows you to fashion your own personal rock ‘n’ roll avatar with the character creation tool. You can also select new, unlocked outfits for the Quest Mode heroes here. Finally the My Stuff section is all about the GH gamer. Here you can track how many unlockables you have acquired, track your stats, take a look at the leaderboards and view special content that you have unlocked in the game. All in all, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock offers up a ton of depth.

As far as the instruments are concerned, there is also a new guitar controller to be had that helps with "shredding" and has an art style unlike we have seen before from a GH controller. The guitar’s hardware has been significantly redesigned to locate most of the base electronics and wireless controls into the main fretboard of the unit, containing the coloured fret buttons, strum and whammy bar, and other controls for interacting with the game console. This allows the body of the guitar to be swappable with custom designs, allowing players to personalize the control to their wishes. The new guitar controller remains backwards compatible with previous games and is highly recommended for those GH enthusiasts. The overall look of the drums has improved and the kick pedal now hooks onto the lower bar. No longer does the kick pedal slide all over the place. Also, the drum kit is MIDI-enabled with a detachable "drum brain" allowing other drum kits to be used instead with the game.

Of course, what is Guitar Hero without a Party Play Mode? There is something about jamming with friends in your living room. Well Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock features such a mode where the game will automatically play songs and allow for players to jump in at any time. This has been a mainstay in the game and is back better than ever.


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