Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Rock on With Your Bad Self

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock gives you a reason to love Guitar Hero again. No, really. Find out why inside.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: October 5, 2010
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My beef with Activision's particularly... aggressive release schedule with their music games has been well documented, so I won't use this review as another soapbox to complain that the publisher has almost single-handedly killed the genre. Instead, I'll use it to praise the actions of the developer, Neversoft, who have somehow managed to create a game that finally brings the series into its own vs. that other music game created by the originators of the franchise.

Despite the seeming sweatshop-like pace at which the dev has cranked out releases, there's been a slow and (mostly) steady improvement to the overall quality and feature set of their games, but there's been an undeniable sense that they were still cowering in the shadow of greatness that Harmonix rightly cast. Guitar Hero had an air of sloppy seconds, of a B team coming in to help continue a franchise that had been ditched in favor of different working conditions.

Let me clear here: that was the illusion. Neversoft has never blithely accepted the responsibility, and though their early goes were... well, let's call it "less than ideal," there's still been advancement. Things like velocity-sensitive pads for the drums and the touch-sensitive strip on the neck of the guitar for slap bass added an extra accent mini-game to just playing along. As the engine has slowly been upgraded, growing smoother and more fluid, the gameplay experience has improved by leaps and bounds -- especially for guys like me that completely burned out on playing guitar and instead swapped to the drums.

In truth I'd burned out on all music games, but then came the unbridled joy and altogether new challenge of playing with the almighty double-bass with an amazing collection of songs in Guitar Hero: Metallica. Burnout averted. That old feeling was back, and though subsequent Hero games have allowed the use, even Guitar Hero 5 couldn't really stoke those flames in the same way. Instead, it was more about the novel ways in which Neversoft was trying to embrace the idea of party play.

With Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, though, the two have finally melded and expanded upon one another to become something so rife with replayability both online and off that I'm quite happy to say that this could easily (and should definitely) be the last Guitar Hero game needed for at least a few years. The sheer amount of stuff that Neversoft burned onto a Blu-ray is mind-boggling, which makes explaining it all a little... difficult. But I'll try. Because I love you.

The biggest and most significant change is the fact that the band experience has actually been broken up a little. In a story narrated by Gene Simmons as the Demigod of Rock, each of eight characters is given their own set list keyed in to their individual personalities. This works (sort of), in helping each "warrior" to have their own aural identity to match the character designs themselves, but it also gives each of the set lists their own look and feel, bolstered by wildly imaginative backdrops for each member and their band.
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