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The Guitar Hero series has had it's ups and downs over the years and has arguably fell victim to a greedy publisher who has continually churned out rehashed low quality games. Thankfully Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is an awesome game and the best in the series, It's just a shame it came along too late. Admittedly the game is evolutionary rather than revolutionary but if you have ever enjoyed Guitar Hero and you've seen it at it's worst, it'd be a crying shame not to see it at it's best.
Warriors of rock brings back the usual cast of characters such as Lars and Pandora and integrates them with a new story mode that helps to make the game feel epic, at least for a while. The story is simple, the Demigod of rock has fallen at the hands (iron claws or something?) of the beast. Someone has to step up to the plate and defeat the beast in order for rock to be saved. Spoiler alert: It's you. You must defeat the beast using your team of Guitar Hero characters. You don't just stroll over to the beast and start rocking his world though, oh no. You must become more powerful first and assemble all the cast and then play through songs to make them transform into their true 'warrior' forms. Hence the title of the game. In warrior form, the characters become warped versions of themselves in that they often change skin colour from peach to blue and have a lot of spikes and wings and hair and stuff (I know I'm selling this game to you). It's not just a cosmetic change though, story mode works differently to the rest of the game. In story mode, each character has a special ability which impacts on gameplay. It's all pretty predictable such as someone can have a higher multiplier and someone else can guard your streak. As you assume warrior form, the abilities become heightened so one streak guard becomes two etc. It's fun I'll give it that but it does take away some of the challenge of the game. I can nail songs on story mode because of the abilities but in the classic quickplay mode where you're left all alone and abilityless (I've coined the term) the song nails me! Have fun with it though, you unlock songs and characters and instruments this way so it's worth doing.
For those not familiar with the Guitar Hero gameplay (where have you been?!) I'll quickly sum up how it works. On the screen there are five different coloured columns and down these columns, notes run down in time with the music. It's your job to hold down the right note on the guitar hero controller (there's five of them and they correspond to the ones on screen which is useful) and them use the strum bar to hit the note when it reaches the bottom which will make it just about in time with the music. For the drum controller it's a similar setup except you hit the drums. You can also do some karaoke and sing along to the songs using a microphone, you're judged on your pitch and timing. So you can make up the words as you go along if you please but the game does provide you with the words so get learning! No-one wants to hear a rendition of 'Driving on a Pear' by Bon Jovi. At certain points in the songs, the scrolling notes will change from circles to star shapes. If you manage to hit all the star shaped notes in a sequence you can fill up your star power meter which can get you out of a tight spot if you're struggling or just make you rule even more than you're already ruling.
Now in terms of gameplay, nothing too much has changed here. They've taken the winning Guitar Hero formula and made it more fun to play with minor tweaks. They've always done this and it's just a shame they didn't have it from the very start of the series. I remember in Guitar Hero 3, if you activated star power you couldn't gain more star power phrases until your star power had depleted for example. Other welcome changes include the ability to play the same instrument as a friend, gone are the days when one of you gets to shred the guitar while one is banished to the bass! Hell two of you can play drums if you're rich enough to have two drum controllers. Group Karaoke can be fun too! It's also a lot more friendly to newer players in band mode as if one person fails it doesn't immediately end the whole song. The other band members can just do extra well to win the audience over again and bring back their fallen bandmate. Warriors of Rock is great fun to play with other people.
Now, the soundtrack. I would argue that it is the best soundtrack to date but that doesn't make it perfect. On the plus side it's big and it has a lot of guitar oriented songs but they're still trying their hardest to cater for everyones tastes. Admittedly they've done a good job here, there's no beastie boys this time around (what was with that?!). Essentially it's all about rock music with bands like Slipknot and Black Sabbath reigning supreme. This also highlights the great blend between old and new tracks. On the down side why oh why do they make us play synth on our guitar controllers?! It drives me insane to have to play along to a clear keyboard solo. I know some purists will say "it's not like you're playing a real guitar anyway" but .. it IS called Guitar Hero. When Keytar hero comes out then they can crack out some keyboard solos for us.
All in all if you enjoy rhythm (do you even know how long that took me to spell properly?) games or you own the instrument controllers you should pick up this game. It's the last one in the series since activision canned it this year so make the most of it. If you haven't already got the necessary equipment then don't bother because as far as I can tell, they aren't releasing any new games only DLC if we're lucky. I managed to pick up a full band set for £30 the other day which was a bargain considering these were £130 at launch so if you can get them cheap, it's a rewarding and innovative gaming experience.
Hope you enjoyed my review guys, sorry it was a little rushed. Leave any comments for improvements and i'll take another look at a later date. Cheers.