|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Neversoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 28, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (Up to 8 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Music games are the best interactive genre to be introduced to video games in the last decade. From dance titles like Dance Dance Revolution to strict karaoke titles like SingStar, music games capture a little of the dreamer in all of us. These titles give us the guts to sing at the top of our lungs and dance like theres no one watching. Granted, this happens mostly inside the protection of our own home, but the games provide an outlet for a desire that has always been there. Of all the music titles, there is one that started a musical revolution. I am, of course, talking about Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero single-handedly invigorated not only the music industry but the desire for people to learn to play the guitar.
The success of the release of the first Guitar Hero came in the form of critical acclaim and knock-offs. It even sparked a band-centric, branch-off sub genre. Guitar Hero has since answered this with its own inclusion of band instruments. Of course after Guitar Hero 5s numerous bad press pieces, fans began to wonder how Guitar Hero was going to reclaim its title as the genre leader in music games. With the new release of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, did they accomplish this or is this a new Guitar Hero ready to be forgotten?
Most everyone has already heard about the games story. Theres an ancient battle amongst the rock gods, and players will become warriors of rock in order to restore balance and save rock n roll. This sounds familiar to the story of last years Brutal Legend. While theres no denying this, Warriors of Rock uses this basis to do something in the Guitar Hero series I have long thought needed to be done. Give it a point. Yes, I understand most people only want to Quickplay and break their fingers while playing expert on every song available. But there is a certain level of satisfaction to be felt as you progress through the Quest unlocking both new songs and new characters. Think of it as an old fighter game model.
The initial story, or Quest Mode, is broken up by the characters. Jonny Napalm plays punk rock tracks while Axel Steel plays heavy metal. This not only helps you associate what type of music it is, in case you are new to some of the songs, but also aids you in remembering exactly which venue a certain song is in. This will come in handy later for Quest Domination. You progress through each characters venues by getting stars in order to transform the character into their true Warrior form. Each rocker also has a unique ability to help you eventually obtain their true selves.
Once those transformations occur, their normal abilities are transformed as well. For example, Axel Steels initial power is to resurrect you instantly if you fail during a song twice. Once he transforms, that ability increases to five. These abilities might seem like a way to make the game easier, and youre right. However, without these abilities the task of completing songs can be a little mundane and tiresome. At least with these new abilities, things stay fresh and even entice you to continue on when you want to quit. Also, without the powers Quest Domination mode would be impossible, since you are required to get forty stars on each song in each play list after you have completed the initial quest. A quick note concerning the final confrontation in quest mode for those who have always felt cheapened by the final Boss Battle in previous titles: because of the storyline and powers, you shouldnt feel that way with Warriors of Rock.
Outside of the Quest Mode you have Quickplay, Quickplay+, Party Play and, of course, Competitive. Just in case you are new to the franchise, lets look at a quick rundown of each mode. Quickplay and Quickplay+ are where you can come to just play any of the songs from the game, including those you will later unlock. Quickplay+ allows you to perform challenges that are points-related, by beating someone elses score; star-related; or power-up-related, just to name a few. The power ability challenges allow you to pick two of the powers you have unlocked and try for the highest number of stars you can get. Playing in Quickplay also adds an RPG element to the game. Much like the transformation stars in the Quest Mode, you will also rank by how well you do and how many stars you get. As you rank up, you unlock other venues, galleries of artwork, and new equipment, and you compete for a high spot on the leaderboard (for your score) and the star leaderboard (what rank you are). Party Play is a no-fail, no-win mode that allows you and friends to drop in and out of playing at anytime during a song. This mode is specifically designed with kids or parties in mind. Competitive is just that, you square off against players locally or online.