Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review
Note: I'm trying a new format that simply dives into the game review, sparing you the introduction. The reason for this is mostly because we have a ton of games to cover, and not quite enough time. Additionally, I'll be sparing the unnecessary details, and focusing more on what's important (to me, at least). So with this all new Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, I encounter my beefs with it from the start. First off, I never really cared much about the stories of these games, I'd be surprised if there were many that did. So when I get my first taste of the story here, I'm rather indifferent. Warriors of Rock's back story very lightly mimics/parodies Conan the Barbarian, and perhaps even Brutal Legend.
Getting past the story, you find out that you can build a band with numerous characters in the game, all of which with unique traits that can be enhanced through progression. The character recruitment I actually enjoyed a bit, since the story caters to each individual character's strong points. Now, this is fantastic and all, but the core of the game remains largely the same. Unlike Rock Band which has introduced an all new line of instruments, the toys offered with Guitar Hero remain the same and that's a shame. Where as one game is evolving to actually teach people how to play an actual guitar, Guitar Hero retains its simplicity.
If you have no urge to learn how to play an actual instrument and enjoy GH games as they are, then Warriors of Rock is just fine, assuming you like the setlist. Me, on the other hand, I don't like the set list very much. Out of 93 songs, there are maybe 20 I can really get into it. But few of those I'd consider "warriors". The Warriors of Rock title is there because of the story, but to the unsuspecting buyer, they'd assume the game is packed full of epic rock songs. It isn't. Again, if you're cool with this list of songs and are comfortable with the Guitar Hero setup, then Warriors of Rock is right for you. But if you're looking for something fresh and new, then Rock Band 3 is what you'll need.
Visually, Warriors of Rock seems slightly more polished than the games before it, but that isn't saying a whole lot. You'll still see the same familiar visual details you've come to know from this franchise, with some effects here and there. What I do like is the design of the venues, especially some of the ones later on into the game, they really lend something to the art direction of the entire game. Additionally, the cutscenes are acceptable, but nothing that'll wow you.
As far as audio goes, Warriors of Rock is just about like every other recent GH game. It's mixed very well from the get-go, but if you feel the need to tune the sound a bit more to your liking, you can do so by going to the options and playing around with instrument volumes individually. This makes for a great feature that allows you to tailor the experience to your liking. Now, a track list of 93 songs is dandy, but because of how diverse the list is (mores than past games), you'll find yourself only liking a handful of songs. I went through the list and counted 20 songs I can get behind, that's 21% of the entire catalogue, which is far less than what I've liked in the past GH games. Now everyone is different, so you'll really need to look over that list and see if this one's for you. Lastly, I should mention that the story mode consists of narrating by Gene Simmons. Now be forewarned, a small portion of the narration is decent, but a lot of it is just hard on the ears.
So the conclusion is a simple one: Guitar Hero is a franchise that's showing a lot of age. Plain and simple. The lack of evolution when compared to the newest Rock Band is biting Activision and, where as in the past I was very lenient in how I graded music games, I can no longer offer that leniency as the playing field is changing thanks to another franchise. With nothing drastically new added to the mix, and a soundtrack that is, arguably, polarizing, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is an entry only for the biggest fans to consider. Otherwise, my suggestion is to pick up Rock Band 3.
10/16/2010 Arnold Katayev