We have, over the past few years, seen the Guitar Hero franchise grow from strength to strength. The originality of the original concept, coupled with excellent marketing and good products, makes for a very entertaining history for these titles.
And while Guitar Hero does have some stiff competition in the form of Rock Band, the fact that it was the originator of a whole new idea still gives it a very strong presence in the market. In fact, the success of the Guitar Hero franchise is undeniable, with it having raked in enormous piles of money through both physical sales and downloadable content.
When a franchise is this successful, it’s no wonder that sequels keep coming out to drive the brand forward. Guitar Hero has enjoyed many of these, each adding a little something to the whole idea of the game. But the new ideas have been a little slower of late – until the release of Warriors of Rock, that is.
The premise behind the game is what enables it to bring some very new ideas into the franchise. See, this one actually has a story, more so than any other Guitar Hero title. It’s not just about becoming a great musician or beating the Devil at his own game – this title is about saving Rock itself. The demi-god in charge of this powerful music is imprisoned by an aged-old enemy, and it is up to the player, in the guise of eight different rockers, to unleash their true potential and save the demi-god from destruction. A friend commented to me that if Brutal Legend was a Guitar Hero game, this would be it – and he was right.
The eight rockers that the player must ‘train-up’ in the single player game (which, incidentally, can be played co-operatively with up to four players) feature six series stalwarts, including Johnny Napalm, Judy Nails, Pandora and Lars Umlaut, as well as two new characters. Each has a unique ability that will affect the way the player’s performance is scored. One might have a minimum modifier of x2, while another might have a more powerful Star Power effect. When the character’s true potential is unleashed, their appearance changes (to some really camp rock-style monster) and their ability is amplified. When the player has completed the single player quest, they can enjoy the game with all eight abilities in play at the same time.
It’s great fun, of course, and the modified scoring system (which now only rates player performance in terms of stars) makes for a less cluttered visual presentation.
Additionally, a new progress bar will allow the player to get a rough idea how far they are in each song. In addition, the Domination that unlocking all the powers provides a player with grants even more replayability, as they work their way through all the songs again, getting tons of extra stars for their super-performances.
Speaking of songs, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock features an impressive number of tunes, with more than 90 included with the title, as well as import options for previous versions, and (of course) all that delicious downloadable content. Keep in mind that this importing is limited, to a degree, and is dependent on having the console you’re using hooked up to the ‘net. And you may well want to do that… because, although the set list is long, it’s not the most impressive one we have seen from the franchise. Sure, there are some awesome tracks but, overall, the collection has more weak moments than other iterations in the franchise. Still, with such a wide variety, it is worth going through what is on offer… there should at least be a little something for virtually everyone.
While nothing much has changes in terms of dynamics and play style, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock does offer enough new for the player to get to grips with. The single player quest is a little short, but it gets pretty challenging (it seems that the overall difficulty level has increased just a bit here). The multiplayer, of course, provides the game with a hell of a lot of replayability, which is another aspect that makes this franchise so popular.
On the whole, it’s one of the better titles in the latter Guitar Hero crop, and one that is well worth trying out.
Naturally it supports all the instruments that fans are used to, and provides the same kind of enjoyment that one would expect from a Guitar Hero title.
- Xbox 360