Warriors of Rock needed a hook; it’s the sixth instalment in the Guitar Hero franchise so a new game with new tracks simply wouldn’t suffice. So they incorporated a story mode, or Quest as it’s called in the game. After sitting through the raucously cheesy introduction I had huge reservations, but here’s the thing: the Quest mode totally makes this game and I had more fun with it than any Band Career mode from the earlier titles. It’s frivolously camp and refuses to take itself seriously, which is perfect considering, you know, you’re playing on plastic instruments. If you want a humourless rhythm game then wait for Rock band 3 with its Pro mode; if you want to have fun while shredding your way through some aurally thumping music, then Warriors of Rock should be your first port of call.
In Quest mode you’re tasked with rounding up eight gifted musicians and rocking out with them on stage until the Powers of Rock consume them and they transform into their musical alter-egos. Ordinarily it would be new music driving you forward through a traditional career mode, but these transformations add an element of intrigue that pushes you on. Each transformation unlocks a new power-up that alters the way the game plays. For example: Echo Tesla will grant you an ability to generate Star Power at a much faster rate while Casey Lynch will generate a shield that protects your note streak. Once all eight rockers are combined, they will be strong enough to take on The Beast who has imprisoned the Demigod of Rock. The highlight of the Quest (and in fact the entire game) is playing through Rush’s seven-part epic “2112” in order to retrieve the Demigod’s legendary Axe-Guitar.
Outside of the Quest mode is Party Play and the new “Quickplay +” which now features additional challenges for each song and each instrument. Of course, you can simply dive into the songs and play them normally without worrying about the new challenges, but some of them are quite cool and definitely add another layer to a game that is already bursting with things to do. For example, one challenge sees you having to use the whammy bar on sustained notes in specific places. You’re then given a score and rank of either: Silver, Gold or Diamond. What’s neat is that your friends’ scores are shown if you’re online. You can then choose to target somebody’s score and if you beat it they will receive notification. The online integration doesn’t end there because you can also broadcast your achievements and scores using Facebook and Twitter, as both services are built into the game.
It’s the new additions that completely justify spending money on yet another Guitar Hero title. At first I was a little put off by how heavy most of the tracks are, but there is enough variety to satiate all genre preferences. One complaint is the new guitar controller; while it looks fantastic it really does not function well at all. The Star-Power activation button is very sticky and the strum bar is horrendously squeaky – this all manifested after only about seven hours of play. If you already have Guitar Hero controllers but are tempted to pay a little more for the awesome new aesthetic, my advice would be not to.