Platforms: PS3 (reviewed) | X360
For those about to rock, we suggest you find a comfy chair.
The first thing to hit about this latest sequel / revamp of the classic living room rocker is the multi-MB download that greets you. Followed by, if memory serves, another three odds and sods that come through – it’s not that I lost count, more that I was using the time to make several cups of tea and have a biscuit. Mind you, I could have made my own biscuits in the 75 minutes or so this all took.
I know it all adds to the game experience in the end, but when you’re confronted with a new rock “axe” and the latest Guitar Hero game, call me a big kid but, well, I want to play. Not terribly well, not terribly quickly, not very often above “medium” level but play nonetheless.
So, after the necessary downloads were sorted and the new axe was linked up – and, yes, alright, after I’d pulled a few Rock God poses in the mirror while wearing it – it’s into the game. And, despite the addition of a “Quest” story mode – with narration from Gene Simmons – it’s pretty much business as usual, which is either a very good thing if you’re in the “if it ain’t broke...” camp or a very bad thing if you expect a little more innovation for your hard earned cash.
The quest mode is pretty much based around the normal Guitar Hero / Rock Band activities. After laying through certain songs and gathering enough stars, your chosen player is transformed into a “Warrior of Rock” and given their mission to save, er, rock. This is given a little back story in an earlier cut scene but, frankly, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a case of pick up guitar, thrash the hell out of it, wonder how your fingers moved that quickly – if they don’t use this game for hand surgery rehabilitation I’d be very surprised – and proceed through more challenges. And then, when you’ve completed it and unlocked the rest of the game – almost as long again and with even tougher bits of thrash metal etc to master – you can go back and proceed through those challenges.
On that basis, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock scores highly. You do get a lot of bang – and bluster and RAWK – for your money. But is it good value? For all its tweaks and “Jazz Odyssey” change of direction (“we hope you like it”, this is really just more of the same and you can’t help but wonder if the Quest mode has just distracted attention from the regular game which, while solid, seems to have lost ground against arch rival Rock Band.
But even so, there are still 90 songs here, from the unexpectedly gentle (REM’s Losing My Religion) to the classics (Bohemian Rhapsody, Paranoid) via the never-heard-before-because-I’m-not-a-hoodie-loving-American-teenager (Queensryche, Stone Temple Pilots). Completing Quest even requires a full run through all seven tracks of Rush’s 2112 concept album. No, really. It’s either a completely indulgent addition or a moment of utter programming genius, and I’m still struggling to decide which.
That really is the issue with the whole game. It’s very entertaining and time sucking: the notion of a “quick game” of Guitar Hero is something I long stopped suggesting after a few too many 3am finishes and attempts to get a perfect score. It’s just hard not to think it’s trying a bit too hard to get one over on Rock Band and has settled on the first “alternative” Neversoft came up with.
- It’s Guitar Hero. You’re going to play and you’re going to get addicted.
- The music comes in a variety of shapes and sizes
- Some good challenges in QuickPlay mode and Quest mode could be a moment of genius...
- ...but does it really add anything?
- Why isn’t Gene Simmons available as a playable character?
- Is there enough here to set it apart from the imminent Rock Band sequel?
The Short Version: Look, it’s a new Guitar Hero game, there are new tracks, the new guitar controller IS cool: there are enough things here to make any gamer want to have a go and, once you do, you’ll be happy as a pig in the brown proverbial. Let’s face it, complaining that a Guitar Hero game is basically a Guitar Hero game is about as churlish as criticism gets. The question is will you still be that happy when the rivals bring their reboot to market?