Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock • Page 2

Test of metal.

In gameplay terms, the content provides an important contrast with recent band-specific releases. A veteran axe-wielder can stroll through Expert in The Beatles: Rock Band while half-asleep. Warriors of Rock's toughest tracks are brutal, tendon-savaging marathons that will leave you gasping for breath.

As with previous instalments, generous input windows are essential in providing those magic "how the f*** did I play that?" moments, without ever making you feel you're cheating.

The final track in Quest Mode, a new arrangement of Megadeth's "Sudden Death" composed exclusively for the game, is Neversoft's gift to a fanbase which, over five years, has effectively mastered an instrument. Albeit a plastic, pretend one.

Unless you hate the tracks, longevity shouldn't be an issue. There is of course all the local and multiplayer support you'd expect, the full multi-track recording and jamming suite and extensive character-creation tools.

A first run-through of the lengthy Quest Mode only achieves 55 per cent completion, opening up the top tier of evil bastard-hard tracks (Dragonforce et al), while resetting the demands for each character's set, requiring you to use unlocked power to gain more stars and "dominate" each section.

3
You don't get this at Glastonbury.

There's also a new QuickPlay+ mode, offering a vast array of instrument-specific challenges to complete and bonuses to unlock. As with Guitar Hero 5, at their best challenges work by encouraging you to consider the structure of a song in a different way (such as your strumming style) and, in the end, offer a far stronger reason to replay than the embryonic Quest Mode manages. And if leaderboard-bragging is no longer sufficient, new social networking support allows you to spam Facebook and Twitter with your achievements.

As with Guitar Hero 5, the general standard of note-charts across all instruments is exemplary, skilfully capturing the feel and, therefore, fantasy of each. And with training modes galore, songs unlocked in QuickPlay from the off and the drop-in-drop-out Party Play Mode retained, the experience is as accessible as ever.

There are now 40 million Guitar Hero and Rock Band compatible guitars in the world. Nevertheless, Activision boss Bobby Kotick has decided the world needs yet another. This year's model, complete with removable, customisable body (but lacking the 'touch buttons' higher up the fret board) is in no sense quiet – more like a suit of armour falling down a stone staircase – but it looks stylish and feels great to use.

I've always preferred Guitar Hero's guitars to the Rock Band versions and this simply cements my preference. If you are the Imelda Marcos of toy guitar collectors, you won't go far wrong.

4
Evolving characters unlocks special powers - in this case, a multiplier bonus.

Presentation is top-notch throughout. The various cut-scenes in Quest Mode are stylish and well-animated, lip-syncing is convincing, and performances are snappily direct, with an infectious if clichéd sense of humour.

It's revealing that Warriors' most famous track, Bohemian Rhapsody, is the one that most clearly highlights its limitations. The Queen song also features in the upcoming Rock Band 3, where it will benefit from the keyboard and vocal harmonies. That's not to say Guitar Hero's take isn't great fun (it really is); just lacking in ambition.

How successful Rock Band 3's bold advances prove, we will soon see. Either way, for the first time, there is now clear water between these two giants of the genre in their style and focus.

As yet another developer relinquishes duties on the series Harmonix created, it's anyone's guess where it will go from here. For now, Neversoft is at least playing us out with one we all know.

7 /10

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is available now for PS3, Wii and Xbox 360.

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About the author

Johnny Minkley

Johnny Minkley

Contributor

Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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