Guitar Hero is dead, it died of over saturation and lagging sales. Guitar Hero and DJ Hero are now no more, only a few more pieces of download content remain to keep the fan base spirits up a little. The Hero name isn’t dead though with a ‘Dance Hero’ under way, Activision like to milk things out then kill them off when the udders run dry. I gave Warriors Of Rock my full attention after the news, and after a couple of years of poor to good titles, it is interesting to see how the finale entry turned out.
Warriors Of Rock is the most polished entry in the series, with tidy menus, the return of the excellent party play mode (jump in and out with any instrument on a jukebox like list anytime) and the ability to create MIDI tracks. It’s quite the complete package when you take into account the different multiplayer modes, challenges for every song and the large selection of tracks from the download store. Same criticisms apply with some strange not charting on non guitar parts, a weaker download selection than rival series Rock Band, and the cheaper feel to the plastic instrument experience, but it’s still great fun and this has the most to offer out of all of them. Pressing five coloured buttons, hitting drums and singing is still as fun as ever, and the year gap since the last title means it doesn’t feel so tired.
The big new feature of Warriors Of Rock is the story mode. Some giant god type figure has been beaten by a robot monster and playing as different fictional rock stars you must play songs and save the day! You pick the characters who have a brief intro and then play songs from a menu… this is just career mode of the past games! If you pass so many songs you turn into a strange beast for extra power, though I’m sure being turned into a freak undead Mummy isn’t the best reward for trying to save the day. Dating opportunities would fall through the roof. At least the forgettable cast of characters get some powers… which are barely noticeable. Extra score multiplies and quick star power only really make much of a difference on harder difficulties, giving weaker players a better chance, but for those already experienced it is hard to noticed anything great is going on. Just business as usual and some more annoying sound effects as the star score racks up. The career doesn’t really have any story worthwhile telling and the metal visual style is a weaker version of ace real-time strategy hack n slasher, Brutal Legend. That was a game Activision wanted to turn into Guitar Hero, and I guess this is what it would have become, but no doubt with a better story.
Story mode also restricts you to the on disc tracks. None of your download content, no matter how many hundred tracks you own, can be used in this mode, so you’re stuck with the metal orientated soundtrack they’ve gone for this time. And I like the focus. I’ve always been a fan of metal and to see Megadeth to Pantera brings out my inner rock demon, or at least that’s what the game would call my head bopping. It still has a varied selection of genres, with punk, pop, alternative, rock, old and new, so you can go from Queen to Offspring to Dire Straits before dabbling in a spot of Slayer. The tracks are much better than the average selection in Guitar Hero 5 with big name songs such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Self-Esteem’, ‘Children Of The Grave’ and other such delights though it still throws some filler tracks at you. It doesn’t matter if Deep Purple are present when it’s Burnin’. Still the metal tracks are great and the challenging difficulty is welcome for seasoned veterans.
So this Guitar Hero is a decent entry, though lacking in new thrills. It has a largely decent soundtrack, a range of past tracks to carry over or new tracks to download, and it’s packed full of content. It may look a little behind the times and the metal story mode is just a pointless gimmick, yet it has one thing which makes it truly stupendous. Rush – 2112, all seven parts with narration. Oh yes, this masterpiece is one of the best moments I’ve experienced in a game of last year and the colourful stages it weaves around and the amazing complexity and variation of the track make for a memorable time. I’d say it’s worth playing just for that part of the game and makes that story mode have a little point, if only the rest was as amazing as this. Still Guitar Hero brought forth a phenomenon and this is a worthwhile, though safe, note to end on. Rock on.