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Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock

 

 

SCORE: 63

 

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock 

 

It is time to yet again awaken your inner rock star for the latest installment of Guitar Hero. Warriors of Rock doesn’t stray far from the usual formula, but does offer a new trick or two to entice players back to the stage.

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock looks virtually identical to every other Guitar Hero game you may have played. Taking cues from the world of rock music the stage designs are dark and foreboding, the rockers are dressed in revealing leather and metal, and face paint isn’t just for Halloween. These are a sampling of things you can expect to see in Warriors of Rock. On the slightly more disturbing side, throughout the course of the game your characters will take on a demon-like appearance sprouting appendages like bat wings, spiked horns, etc. This is obviously a major turn off for a lot of families. Another sticking point for me was that at one point an image of a star within a circle is prominently displayed for a lengthy amount of gameplay. While this was technically not a “traditional” pentagram, it’s about as close as you can get. This type of imagery is something many players will not appreciate. On the upside I did find the animations in this version of Guitar Hero to look a tad more realistic than in the other games in the series. The notes on the screen are very brightly colored which adds some much needed color to an otherwise drab display. Overall the graphics are still a bit lacking in comparison to other modern games, but clearly the focus of Guitar Hero is more on music and gameplay than on visuals.

As you would expect, the audio quality in Warriors of Rock is great. The sound effects are powerful and the music is best played loud. Now, if you’re not a fan of rock music you should have no expectation that you will like anything about this game, least of all the music. In fact many of the tracks featured in the game are by bands certain to raise any parent’s eyebrows. For example, this soundtrack includes titles by KISS, Nine Inch Nails, Megadeth, Metallica, and Black Sabbath. While I’ve named bands that have given minor strokes to parents the world over, it is only fair to mention that not every artist or track found in this game is quite so off-putting. You should expect however that the stereotypes of rock music prove true throughout. The songs in the game are “edited” versions meaning that most foul language is omitted, but censoring words here and there does not remove the core ideas conveyed by many of these songs. Alcohol, drugs, and sex are common themes no matter how diluted or obscured they may be. Again, if you don’t care for rock music or want to expose your children to it, this game is not for you.

If you’re looking for replay value, Warriors of Rock has plenty to go around. Tons of game modes and lots of multiplayer action will keep fans of the game coming back for more. The usual selection of difficulty levels are available for the continued honing of your fretting finesse. Another interesting bonus included with the retail copy of the game I received was a free copy of the latest Soundgarden CD. Now I’m not a big Soundgarden fan, but it’s the thought that counts right? As with previous Guitar Hero releases players can also download fresh tracks from the in-game store to continue expanding the musical selections. A new feature that I was particularly excited to try in Warriors of Rock was the ability to import tracks from other Guitar Hero games. I happen to own World Tour and thought about how convenient it would be to have the entire collection of tracks available in one game and thus eliminate the need to switch discs back and forth. Importing downloadable tracks that I had previously purchased was automatic and worked perfectly. However, when going through the process of importing tracks from my World Tour game it became evident that it was going to cost me 300+ Wii points to do it. Now granted this isn’t more than a few bucks, but I felt as though I was being extorted since I already owned both games and was now being asked for more cash.

As I mentioned earlier, Activision doesn’t deviate too much from the formula that has sustained this series for so long. The controls work in the same familiar fashion making this game simple to pick up and play. One nice new tweak is how the game handles resuming from a pause. In previous Guitar Hero games I’ve played you are given a countdown and must resume exactly where you had paused the game. In Warriors of Rock the game is rolled back a few seconds to compensate you for those notes you undoubtedly missed while clumsily attempting to hit the pause button. Also new to this release is the single player “Quest Mode” where players recruit band members and transform them into Warriors by sufficiently rocking out. It’s a pretty shallow storyline, but at least it adds some flavor to the otherwise vanilla gameplay. Each Warrior also possesses a unique gameplay power which helps change things up a little bit as well. Though not much has changed in the way of gameplay, I suppose the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” proverb applies. The gameplay formula works the way it is and it’s still fun to play even after being retried so many times.

It should come as no surprise that this is not going to be classified as a family friendly game. The simple nature of the music and lyrics in the game make it unsuitable for families wishing to avoid this type of influence. Many of the lyrics found within undermine traditional family values, promote false gods, and encourage a focus on self-worship. While the gameplay itself would be a great way to spend time together as a family, the content simply makes this unfeasible. The game is rated ‘T’ by the ESRB, but parents will need to consider the content for themselves and decide whether or not this game is appropriate for their teen.
-Roger

 

Graphics: 58%
Sound: 56%
Replay/Extras: 71%
Gameplay: 79%
Family Friendly Factor: 51%
System: Wii/Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Publisher: Activision
Rating: 'T' for Teen
{Lyrics, Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes}

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Roger@familyfriendlygaming.com