Neversoft has been plugging away at the Guitar Hero franchise for several years now. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock marks their latest, and last game in the series. Is this a worthy entry for the franchise, or does it show signs of fatigue?
What's It About?
The Demigod of Rock has been imprisoned in a stony tomb by The Beast. He is unable to fight, but can still influence events in the world. He calls out to prospective Warriors. If they prove themselves worthy then they may stand a chance at freeing the Demigod and defeating The Beast once and for all.
That is the premise behind the Quest Mode within Warriors of Rock. If it sounds generic and contrived, it is. Bear in mind though, this is a Guitar Hero game, not an epic RPG like Final Fantasy, if you want a story, there are plenty of other games that do it better. The big question is: Why include this at all?
Why Should I Care?
Though the Quest Mode is little more than a repackaging of the old tiered stage system from the first three Guitar Hero games, it does have a couple of interesting moments. One of these moments happens when you play 2112 to claim the Legendary Guitar. This section of the game intersperses the sci-fi story of the song between each section. That's a nice touch.
The trouble is that the Quest mode boils down to playing a bunch of songs, then playing an encore. While doing this you have a specific modifier applied to the gameplay, like having a higher base multiplier or generating Star Power with each ten-note streak. It gets repetitive and tedious very quickly.
Fortunately the QuickPlay+ mode redeems the game. This mode allows you to pick a song and then compete in a variety of Challenges. You can target a score or challenge that one of your friends has posted on the leaderboards and you will get an in-game indicator as to how close you are to beating their score. As you earn Stars, you will rank up and unlock more content. Simple, straightforward, fun. That's what QuickPlay+ is. After finishing the Quest Mode, you'll likely spend a lot more time in QuickPlay+ than you ever did in the Quest.
What Makes It Worth My Time & Money?
While the Quest mode may not have worked out all that well, the heart of Warriors of Rock is still beating strong. The game plays very well, and very little has changed with regards to the game mechanics. Hammer-on and Pull-off timings have been tightened up slightly since Guitar Hero 5, so people who thought that GH5 was too easy should appreciate this change. If you are new to the series, then Warriors of Rock is not the ideal place for you to jump in. It'd be best to get last year's Guitar Hero 5 as your starting point.
The song selection in this year's game is one of the best the series has seen. With songs by Megadeth, Steve Vai, John 5, Rush, Metallica & Ozzy Osbourne and at least 80 others, the game has an amazing amount of great music to play through. Unfortunately the songs go from easy to ludicrously difficult in a very short period of time. Long time fans of the series should have no trouble adapting, but newcomers will struggle at first. It seems clear that Neversoft's last game in the series is aimed directly at the die-hard Guitar Hero fans that want the most challenging songs they can get. That is a very smart move. If it's your last time at bat, you may as well go out swinging.
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a fine way for Neversoft to close out their development of the Guitar Hero franchise. It doesn't break any new ground, it just offers up a solid, fun, and still addicting package. If you're a long time fan, Warriors of Rock is a no brainer. If you're a newcomer, just be aware of what you're getting into.