If there's one bright spot, it's the inclusion of Rush's incredible 2112 album. This 40 minute concept album is split up into seven songs, each narrated by the band. Best of all, this section of the game is set on a backdrop unlike anything else in Guitar Hero. There are trees and clouds, water and a statue. It's a surreal experience that manages to capture the essence of Rush. Sadly it's over all too quickly and we're back to a ho-hum second half of the game.
Beyond the soundtrack (which will no doubt appeal to a lot of gamers), Warriors of Rock is guilty of playing it safe. Everything that is good about this brand new installment was also true about the 2009 model. There are no big innovations here; it's just the same game with a different list of songs. Everything you've come to know and love from a Guitar Hero game is here, as polished as ever. But there's nothing new, it's practically a carbon copy of the games that came before it.
Any other year Neversoft might be able to get away with repackaging the same game, but not this year. This year Harmonix is introducing a bevy of new Rock Band instruments, including a keyboard and a real guitar. And it's not just Rock Band; Seven 45 Studios' Power Gig also uses a real electric guitar that can be used in your crappy garage band. Regardless of whether these developers deliver on what they promise, at least they're trying something new.
I see that Guitar Hero still hasn't figured out a compelling way to introduce the downloadable content and spin-off game imports. You can play these songs in the quick play mode, but that's about it. In Rock Band's world tour mode the extra content enhances the game in every way, adding better setlists and mystery gigs. But there's nothing like that in Guitar Hero. Instead you the developers expect you to be content with just playing it. If Activision wants to compete with Rock Band's online music store, they're going to need to rethink the way they present this content in their games.
As I finished up playing through the quest mode, I was ready to give this game a higher score. The game looks good, it has a lot of music and there are enough options to keep most rock fans happy for a long time to come. But then I remembered 2009. I remember playing through Guitar Hero: Metallica, Van Halen, Smash Hits, a numbered sequel and Band Hero. There were five installments to make, no wonder the developers didn't have time to innovate. But this year Warriors of Rock is all alone (unless you count DJ Hero 2). This was the year they could have innovated, like the competition, but they chose to release another Guitar Hero 5.
There's no mystery to Warriors of Rock. If you like the franchise and heavy metal music, then this is the game for you. I didn't find the sound track to be especially riveting and I'm hard pressed to come up with any exciting new enhancements, but that doesn't keep it from offering a lot of songs and a compelling story mode. Maybe it's time for Guitar Hero to take a year off and regroup, because I expect to be wowed the next time around.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Completely overshadowed by the competition's new hardware, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock doesn't quite bring the house down. It's marred by a controversial selection of songs and no real innovations. The 93 songs will keep players busy for away, but it's hard not to think of this as yet another extension of Guitar Hero 5.
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