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Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Publisher: Activision
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
UK Price (as reviewed): £37.79 (inc VAT, without guitar)
US Price (as reviewed): $57.99 (exc tax, without guitar)

It’s Guitar Hero and it’s exactly the same as it’s always been, OK? Let’s not beat around the bush or indulge Activision by believing the hype around the new ‘campaign mode’. The biggest change Activision has mustered is to add a new subtitle, ‘Warriors of Rock’ – and we’d be willing to bet that that’s there only because ‘Guitar Hero 6’ would sound like milking the franchise even to Activision’s ears.

There’s been plenty of aesthetic tweaks and changes, admittedly. Warriors of Rock takes an obvious step into Brutal Legend’s territory by building the campaign around a fantastical ‘music-is-magic’ fiction, rather than the old road to stardom stuff. The story has you recruiting musician-warriors into your band so that you can fight back against a group of anti-rock demons.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review
Guitar Hero: Now with Night Elves

While the marketing for Warriors of Rock pushed the novelty of this campaign though, the reality is that it’s mostly superfluous and bland. The delivery is rushed, boring and confused; we skipped through everything we could and talked through the things we couldn’t.

The story-telling sections are all mercifully brief though and, as in previous Guitar Hero games, it’s hard to hate them too much because it’s not what the game is really about. We aren’t raising the topic as a serious criticism against the game, because we didn’t expect it to be any different. We’re just warning you that, if you’ve been suckered in by the PR-machine and are expecting the quest mode to offer something substantial and amusing, you’ll be disappointed.

The trend of tiny, iterative tweaks that don’t really change anything at all continues throughout the rest of the game too. The interface has been cleaned up a bit more, the graphics seem a little crisper and more detailed, but you still end up ignoring it all in favour of the moving dots that flow relentless towards your face.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Review
Get a proper job, hippy!

Character creation options have been expanded too, and you can now spend an ungodly amount of time tweaking the nose width or eyebrow height of your character if you want. Why you’d want to we’re not sure, since it makes no real difference to the game experience, but the options are there. Using the guitar controller to make your character look even vaguely like yourself is still a fiddly and slow process, but not anywhere near as bad as it could have been.

Creating your own songs through the track editing tool is another story altogether though. It’s about as much fun as biting down on a belt-sander. The interface is fiddly, the options limited and the entire premise highly questionable. Learning to use the song composer properly is roughly as difficult as learning to play a real guitar, in our opinion. We’ve no doubt some die-hard fans will make some riff-worthy masterpieces that will be worth downloading, but the composer tool isn’t something we expect the masses to get much use out of.