Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock • Page 2

The concept album.

A good example is Johnny Napalm's chapter, a punk rock paradise centred on the beer-sticky floors and dirty Technicolor lighting of CBGBs. The presentation is typically slick, there's loads of little in-jokes and muso references scattered around if you want to look for them, but at the heart of it all, it's still about playing songs, nailing the note-tracking, and progressing on to the next challenge.

There are a few new wrinkles, however. Each chapter of Quest Mode will see you unlocking a new Warrior power, of which there are eight in total. (Warrior Lars', for example, allows you to up the maximum combo multiplier from 4x to 6x.) Warrior powers can be combined as you unlock more of them, and you'll probably need them to complete the 13 Star Challenges each song contains, ranging from easy things like extending whammies as far as you can, to trickier treats like nailing all the hammer-ons.

Stars in turn open up the familiar range of unlockables, including the usual suspects like concept art, and, in a generous twist, they're available for all of your Guitar Hero library songs (going back as far as the DLC for World Tour) as well as the stuff on the new disk.

The new Guitar Hero guitar.

As for the stuff on the new disk, there's over 90 master recordings to work through, all of which see the game returning to its rock roots with the likes of Slipknot, ZZ Top and Muse. Warriors of Rock will also include all of the same party play content and competitive modes from last year's game, too, meaning you'll have plenty to do even after you've slain the beast.

Quest Mode remains the hook for this year, though, and as ideas go, it manages to be clever, colourful, charismatic, and kind of bleak at the same time: the work of a very professional team who are just about managing to come up with the new gimmicks necessary to keep an aging franchise going.

This isn't the bottom of the barrel just yet, but with its faintly desperate invention, it certainly makes you wonder what the bottom of the barrel is going to look like. On screen it may be the spitting punks and celebrated rule-breakers we're all used to, then, but, truth to tell, it's increasingly obvious that it's the spreadsheet and the release calendar that's really dictating this series' creative direction. Understandable, certainly, but hardly the stuff of rock legend.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is due out for PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 in September.

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