So the gloves are off, the bands are battling for supremacy and Activision knows that they don't stand a hope in hell. So rather than compete with the up-coming Rock Band 3 with all of its new features, they went and made a game out of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock and a pretty good one at that.
It isn't a game that will sit well with everyone; personally... I dig Rock Band and Guitar Hero for different reasons. Guitar Hero has the better graphics and customisation (at the moment) and Rock Band has a whopping 2,000 freakin' songs to download and enjoy.
So how does Warriors of Rock fare, let me tell you that it does pretty ok. It doesn't bust out anything pretty new but it does make a good game out of the experience. One that actually plays like a game and not a watered down, build a band and take them on tour, kind of game ala Rock Band or GH: WT, 5, Band Hero and so on.
The God of Rock is in serious trouble. The Beast has beaten him down and stolen his mighty Legendary Guitar - the Axe. Now it's up to the warriors to unleash their hidden powers and stop the Beast once and for all. Play some sweet tunes on the way and get totally insane scores whilst doing so.
There are 4 warriors to recruit. You begin with a choice of a few and build up to the whole team as you unlock the others, play their set lists and you'll get stars...the more stars you get the more you'll rank up their power charge and when it's fully ranked they'll transform. Now there's a bit of a change here from the original games and that's where the whole ballgame alters. Powers, yeah...each warrior has their own unique crazy power that can alter the way you earn stars. Take the Streak Guardian for instance, that power guards your streaks and if you fluff up you can get a bit of a breather and as long as you can hit the next streak, you'll keep the last one alive.
Usually the powers give you bonus stars too. Like the Resurrector, a power that brings back downed bandmates into the song. If you don't use it then you get bonus stars per ankh at the end. This can lead to some crazy scores and star bonuses later on.
Once you get all 4 bandmates you can play the set list from RUSH to gain the Legendary Guitar. This is an awesome time to earn mega stars since all 4 powers are active at once in the set.
You get another 4 warriors at the end of this set list and more songs to play to recruit and transform them. The old crew are back from the GH games along with a few new souls to keep things interesting. Eventually you'll be able to pick your first 4 warriors to take on the Beast and backed up by a secondary band of 4. Choose your powers wisely enough and you can kick the Beast's ass in no time at all through a climatic final battle that sees you beating down the monster to some bad-ass music.
Gameplay is typical of the GH games and if you don't know what that is by now, shame on you, go get this one. Hit the coloured notes at the right time and prepare to shred your fingers to virtual oblivion as you nail complicated runs, chords and hammer-ons, pull-offs in time to the music. Added in are the powers of course and those basically let you really change things up.
There are challenges that rely on powers, there's a tonne of stuff to unlock that relies on story mode or quick play and there's the old party play back. Once again all the features from 5 and Band Hero are back and you've probably heard the same old same old about them from other reviews. I'm a gamer so I won't bore you with that bull.
There are some kick ass tunes in this game, there are some great modes and you won't go wrong with this one. It'll pick up on all your DLC and you can import most of the music from GHWT, 5, Band Hero, Smash Hits and even GH: Metallica with a special import code. There should be enough there to keep you happy.
Then you have the various challenge modes, the GH Mix and the store. You're not going to be lacking for things to do in the game. You can play with up to 4 people with a mix of any instruments you like. Want 4 lead guitars, go for it.
Rocker customisation is back and better than ever. There's more costume and more instruments than before with a whole slew of things to unlock and custom options.
The graphics are sweet and then have more polish than any GH before them. There's a superb camera used in the gigs and it really does give you the feeling of watching a rock band in action. The characters are detailed and some of the transformed warrior designs are crazy and totally insane. Especially the headless pumpkin dude!
It is crisp and clean, with good quality audio throughout. Gene Simmons provides the narration as the God of Rock and his gravelly tones lend a totally badass vibe to the whole thing on any damn console. Although this was on the PS3 for review purposes there's no difference between the formats really.
If you like badass metal and lots of it, if you like the set list (which you can find out for yourself) then you're going to love it. If you want a GH game with a story mode at long last that isn't a same-old story about a band going on tour and learning to play, then you're in the right place. If you want to wangst about the fact there's no decent songs, find a bridge and jump off it.
This isn't the place.
Simply put, Warriors of Rock, rocks and that's all you need to know. I had trouble getting folks to play with on the PS3 because I don't actually like PSN for gaming. I had a couple of tries but in the end I got the 360 version of this game myself and I've had no end of fun with it.
So go get it and rock the night away, or whatever you do.
Straybolt says so!