Google+

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock review

AT A GLANCE
  • Classic Guitar Hero gameplay
  • New social features of Quickplay+
  • Gnarly guitar solos
  • Totally unnecessary narrative
  • Utter lack of innovation
  • Rush

Sorry, Guitar Hero: We still love you, but we think it’s time we started seeing other franchises. Opting for a full band setup in Guitar Hero World Tour was a smart move and adding all those convenient features like Party Play to Guitar Hero 5 made all kinds of sense, but this time, it’s just not enough. Your ridiculous new story-driven career mode fails to hide the fact that Warriors of Rock is essentially just a dressed up version of the same game we’ve been playing for years.

If anything, Quest Mode feels like the easy way out. Rather than providing a legitimately fresh new experience, it simply attempts to distract us with cutscenes and a Gene Simmons voiceover. But underneath the cheesy, occasionally fun but ultimately uninspired and forgettable adventure, we’re still forced to slog through a linear progression of songs, earning enough stars to unlock the next venue and so on just like most of the other Guitar Heroes.

There’s nothing wrong with this formula per se, except for that fact that we’re pretty sick of it at this point. It doesn’t help that the good old five-button, scrolling note gameplay hasn’t changed even slightly since… well, ever. The gameplay is still fun, (because it’s the same and it’s always been fun), but that’s a bit of a hollow victory when you’re hungry for actual change.

The only apparent difference this time around—in keeping with the whole rock ‘n’ roll fantasy adventure theme—is that each characters possesses a unique power, like a 6x multiplier (as opposed to the usual 4x) or the ability to harvest Star Power with every 10-note streak played. This sounds like a fine idea in theory, but in practice, it doesn’t change the experience in any meaningful way and most of the powers feel totally contrived.

More than anything else, the powers serve to create confusion. In past games, the maximum number of stars we could possibly earn from a single song was six. Now, thanks to these powers, we can potentially earn dozens. But since stars are just a completely made up measurement, this doesn’t actually feel rewarding at all. Add to that the fact that the stars we earn in Quest Mode are entirely separate from those we earn in quickplay (which, fun aside, actually has two distinct types of stars of its own) and we just start to get massively confused.

Aside from having stars in its eyes, however, the revamped Quickplay + actually proves to be the game’s most successful “new” feature. Its social sharing tools and persistent online reputation—built through consistent shredding—are legitimately cool. Unfortunately, the 13 ambient challenges it provides for each song are all things we’ve seen before: “Hit a certain number of note-streaks, hammer-ons, chords…” Boring. After a while, they actually start to feel like work.

A totally slammin’ track list might have made the challenges a bit more palatable, but frankly, the song choices are a lot more strange than slammin’. We didn’t particularly care for the bands we’d never heard before and simply couldn’t figure out why certain tracks had been selected for the bands we already knew. Who would honestly pick “The Theme from Spider-Man” as the lone Ramones track? Even more bizarre, the game features quite a few big hits that have been re-recorded by the bands that made them famous in the first place. Why trade the classic recordings that everyone grew up listening to for digital recordings of a group that’s now twenty years past its music-playing prime?

The track list also offers little depth, but this may actually be good news for all the amateur Yngwie Malmsteens out there. The last portion of the game is a gauntlet of fast, riff-heavy metal that’s sure to keep shredders busy for months. We’re a little worried about our friends trying to sing these tracks, but Guitar Hero is clearly just trying to stay true to its roots. And to be fair, many of the note charts that accompany these songs are seriously challenging and a blast to play.

Since Warriors of Rock is still arguably as fun as any previous Guitar Hero, it’s difficult for us to condemn it entirely, especially since most of its new ideas don’t actively make the game worse. But the new ideas, in additional to being patently lame, fail to add anything. As a result, we’re stuck with a stale experience that left us longing for something more…and wondering why anyone still listens to Rush.

Personal aside: Including the famous CBGB venue feels like a desperate grab for legitimacy. Problem is, it doesn’t fit with the Simmons-narrated rock ‘n’ roll fantasy theme at all and therefore comes off as little more than a cynical ploy for street cred. Plus, the game eventually undermines this shameless pandering by having supposed “punk rocker” Johnny Napalm slam a brand-name Coke as he walks through the door in what has to be one of the most oblivious in-game marketing stunts to date. True, none of this affects the quality of the gameplay, but it does make Warriors of Rock very difficult to like if you really care about and follow music.

More Info

Available Platforms: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360
Published by: Activision
Franchise: Guitar Hero

64 comments

  • Shnubby - July 19, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    I stopped after World Tour. I loved 1-3 and was then highly disappointed by World Your. I've heard that 5 and 6 are better but I'd rather not take the chance!
  • Pruman - October 29, 2010 3:49 p.m.

    This series hasn't really been fun since Guitar Hero 2. Neversoft nailed the gameplay when it took over with Guitar Hero 3, but something about the games just felt off. For me, the insane spikes in difficulty ruined me on the series. Some of my favorite songs in the last tier of GH3 caused enough frustration and gamer-claw that I only finished them through sheer force of will. Most of the Metallica's older, better songs are nearly unplayable on Expert thanks to overcharting. To this day, GH songs on Expert still seem charted by a sadist whose highest aspiration is to break players' hands. Also, the increasing ridiculousness of each game in the series helped drive me into Rock Band's arms. Rocking out in front of thousands of screaming fans isn't awesome enough; no, we need to rock in Hell or on a flying boat to Valhalla. Rock Band feels much more like you're actually playing music (and with 3, you ARE if you go Pro), which to me is a lot more fun. GH is a video game, pure and simple. Oh, and thanks to Bobby Kotick's propensity to run franchises into the ground, Activision released 10 Guitar Hero games (I am counting Band Hero, which should have been called "Guitar Hero for Girls") in 2 years, 7 of which are disc-based console iterations. In the same time period, Rock Band came out with a sequel that allowed 95% of the first game to be brought into it, three spinoffs (only one of which is not 100% exportable to the numbered games), and 2,000+ songs' worth of DLC as of today.
  • sharkweek - October 13, 2010 8:24 p.m.

    heh the only reason I'm considering getting this game is the Rush songs in it.
  • Mr Meaty - October 7, 2010 11:43 p.m.

    This review was exactly what I expected of the 100th guitar hero game to come out this year, but I will buy it simply BECAUSE it has Rush's entire Rock Opera Opus 2112 wich I absolutley LOVE! I'll just wait till it goes on sale...
  • DanAmrich - October 7, 2010 1:24 a.m.

    [insert biased argument here] Also, Rush!
  • TFUPrivateIron - October 3, 2010 4:52 p.m.

    Rush sucks.
  • Babzors - October 2, 2010 10:21 p.m.

    rent it. GH fans will like the end game songs. some of the toughes end game tracks yet imo
  • MetalFTW - October 1, 2010 11:30 p.m.

    Fuck whoever wrote the things you'll hate, i'm personally offended by thew fact that they hate Rush, Rush is an amazing band whoever wrote this should not review music games because they obviously have terrible taste in music. I still love Gamesradar, and i'm not trying to say they're bad, but they should have had someone else review this. Just had to get that out of my system.
  • waitingforCharlietosnap - October 1, 2010 10:04 p.m.

    Aha! I think I figured out who this guy is. I wanted to post it, but I don't think I can direct that much hatred towards one of my favorite TalkRadar hosts. Look, guys, I'm sorry Rush sucks, but leave the guy alone.
  • philipshaw - October 1, 2010 12:02 p.m.

    Seems fair, nothing the game is doing seems new. At least RB3 seems to be trying new stuff
  • Shagnasty - September 30, 2010 4:35 a.m.

    Rush is for tools. Seriously, expand your minds, children.
  • ViolentLee - September 30, 2010 1:01 a.m.

    Bands re-record their old hits for several reasons: To take advantage of higher-quality tools, to allow for better separation into the game process, and to offer something exclusive-ish for the fans while giving the band a payday. Makes sense to me.
  • assassin2k8 - September 29, 2010 10:34 p.m.

    an argument between readers AND editors?! i wouldnt miss this for the world!
  • Doctalen - September 29, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    What do you mean no one listens to Rush? I know like 10 friends who love Tom Sawyer.
  • shadowreaper72 - September 29, 2010 6:05 a.m.

    I only rent Guitar Hero games to see if there's any artist that I like and try to listen more of. Guitar Hero 3 introduced Dragonforce to me and it is now one of my most favorite bands ever!
  • marioman50 - September 29, 2010 5:17 a.m.

    lol, imagine failing 14 minutes into "2112"?
  • FanofSaiyan - September 29, 2010 3:33 a.m.

    It seems that the Guitar Hero website is abuzz with the games release. I was expecting a harsh review, but this was... shall I say a little too harsh. Well it could be worse (this could have turned into Rock Revolution or god forbid, Power Gig). I'm glad that the game gets props where props are due. I just wish I could keep up with the times, I can't even afford to fix my Wii let alone get GH:WoR...
  • Sidnapolis - September 29, 2010 2:49 a.m.

    Indians, Children of the Grave, Holy Wars, This Day We Fight, Chemical Warfare + everything else = pretty decent setlist for me, though I still probably won't pick this up. Good review. And, @Xplosive59, great to see another Death fan, listening to sound of persevearance as I type this.
  • Onepersonwithnoopinion - September 29, 2010 2:46 a.m.

    I hope nobody buys this and everyone just gets Rock Band 3 instead. Seriously, there are like 30 of these games.
  • rockinjoker13 - September 29, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    i saw rush a couple days ago, theyre awesome

Showing 1-20 of 64 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000