It definitely helps that the graphics engine has been overhauled yet again and rocks a bold new look for series. All of the settings, characters, and themes seem ripped off the record store shelves as the world of Guitar Hero is now home to Rock-gods and demons.
What is most impressive is the idea of putting on a "show" for anyone that may not actually be playing along, but passively enjoying the finger-fretting agony of their friends. Elaborate choreographed stage plays act as a special treat for fans of Rush or Queen. There are definitely a few winks and nods to fans of the series, but the effort that went into recreating musical musings of classic bands gives the series something that it has sorely been lacking for a few entries now: heart.
The entire crux of the Guitar Hero series is based upon the idea that people want to play a guitar, not play pop songs for a karaoke party. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a celebration of the six-stringed weapon with smart song selections that highlight the many styles and genres that make up guitar-based expression. With over 100 songs on the disc, the ability to download almost all of the songs from previous games, and the online music creator, now is the best time to try Gutair Hero if you haven't before. The broad range of classic rock to alternative rock to modern metal ensures that there is something for everyone to like.
Though the only mis-step in the true return to form is the unnecessary inclusion of a Rock Legend. I don't want to anger the members of the KISS Army, but Gene Simmons lends his voice to narrate the new "Quest" Mode as you gather warriors to fight an ancient Rock deity. I'm not going to say I am a fan of the KISS frontman, but I would say I like him. Unfortunately, his performance as the quest-guide is truly terrible. It is dull and flat. The man was the bassist for one of the most elaborate, theatrical, and over-the-top bands in history and his delivery makes him almost seem shy. It was seriously a missed opportunity.