Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock (PS3)
I am not a musician. I tried a few times in grade school to pick up an instrument and learn to play, but just didn’t have the born talent and patience to make anything that even closely resembled music. So, when Activision’s latest version of their music game franchise, Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock arrived for review, I was overly cautious, thinking that this will either be fun, or I’m going to really suck at this game.
Granted, Guitar Hero does have a steep learning curve, trying to get used to the game’s proprietary controllers (multi-button guitars, drum set, and microphone). After settling on the guitar (this is Guitar Hero), and spending a day or so in tutorial and practice modes, it was time to delve into the main aspects of the game.
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is available in three different packages for all three major consoles (PS3, XBOX 360, Wii). First off is the individual game disc, itself, plus a bonus CD of Soundgarden’s new Telephantasm album.
Second is the Guitar Bundle, which contains the new rock-inspired guitar controller.
Last but not least is the Super Bundle (aka Band Bundle), which includes a microphone, a drum set, and, disappointingly, the old GH5 guitar controller.
Hold-overs from previous versions include Career mode, Party Play, Competitive modes, online play, and the ability to play any combination of up to four instruments. GHMix 2.0, which allows you to create your own songs to play and share online, supposedly has a streamlined interface.
New to Warriors of Rock is Quest Mode, in which you recruit eight musicians with varying superpowers to try and save rock and roll. Narrated by Gene Simmons of KISS, the storyline is somewhat weak, but fans will appreciate the opportunity to play the complete version of 2112 by Rush, and thus unlock the song for playing in other modes. Also new is Quickplay+, which is basically Quest Mode without the story, allowing you to unlock other abilities and songs, as well as build playlists.
Included with Warriors of Rock is an impressive set list of 93 tracks, featuring Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” Blue Oyster Cult’s “I’m Burning For You,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” Dire Strait’s “Money For Nothing (Single Edit),” Edgar Winter’s “Free Ride,” George Thorogood and the Destroyer’s “Move It On Over (Live),” Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World,” Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me,” Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” Soundgarden’s “Black Rain,” Styx “Renegade,” and ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man (Live).” Some of the songs have been partially censored, as was evident on Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker’s “Listen To Her Heart,” when the lyric “You think you’re gonna take her away, with your money and your cocaine” had the word cocaine omitted. Owners of previous Guitar Hero games can import their existing library into Warriors of Rock for individual, competitive, and party play modes, and can also purchase songs from the Guiter Hero store within the game (or from their platform’s online store, such as Playstation Store or XBOX Live).
What Guitar Hero is good at is being a party game, so I invited three of my friends over on a rainy Saturday morning for a jam session. Although there was some frustration, mostly due to the lack of prior playtime with this and previous incarnations of the game (hence, the steep learning curve), we all agreed that if the game were brought out at a party, we would probably play, but skip the karaoke portion, as none of us are even good enough to sing in the shower.
As for the newly designed guitar controller, the big plus is the ability to store the USB transceiver inside the neck when it is not in use. Unfortunately, since the transceiver is smaller than a USB flash drive, it works best when either plugged into a USB extension cable or in combination with the USB dongle for the drum set (which includes a 2-port USB hub), as I encountered synch issues as I moved around the room during gameplay when it was plugged directly into one of the two USB ports on the front of my PS3 Slim. In addition, the Starpower button (which doubles as the Select button) is a bit clunky and difficult to push during gameplay compared to the same button on the GH5 guitar controller.
Having seen at E3 what Rock Band is promising in their new version due to hit stores soon, this new Guitar Hero feels like the folks at Activision and Neversoft are trying to play catchup to their arch-rival. Fans of the GH franchise will likely be happy with the refinements and the attempt at bringing a story mode to the game.
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