You might think Quest mode feels new and exciting, but really, it’s not all that different than beating so many songs to unlock a new venue, as in previous such games. In fact, it’s a bit of a step back from GH5 in that you must earn stars only in a particular character’s setlist in order to power them up and advance. Each character has a theme of sorts, including classic rock, punk, or alternative. If you like that genre, great, but what if you don’t? You are stuck in progression until you stick it out. I found that my family was unwilling to sit there and play six or eight songs they didn’t know to unlock a character. For a genre that is typically thought of as casual and multiplayer friendly, this should never happen; why not allow players to choose a few favorite songs they’ve downloaded or imported to earn these stars instead?
Admittedly, there are a few very cool moments in Quest mode. At about the halfway point, an extended sequence based on Rush’s 2112 album shows up. That can be a good thing or bad depending on your feelings about their music. Narrated by the members of the band themselves, this sequence blends in nicely with the theme of the “story”. In the second half of Quest mode, more warriors are recruited, allowing the Demigod of Rock to be freed. The final three songs come from Megadeth, and the trio is brutally difficult, even with the combined powers of the characters. The over the top nature of Quest mode is fun, but certainly not revolutionary enough to make up for its other problems.
Another change in Warriors of Rock is Quickplay . In this mode, you can select from nearly all the songs on the disc from the get go, and also access all the songs downloaded or imported to your hard drive. Challenges, like those of GH5 and Band Hero, are in Quickplay+, and there is also a level up system in place. There are many achievements for Warriors of Rock that come from Quickplay+ mode; it feels like this is where the meat of the experience is this time around, in contrast to the “also ran” status of Quickplay modes in previous games. Quickplay+ is far friendlier to the casual music game fan than difficult, restrictive experience of Quest mode.
As with all music games, the set list is very subjective, but the broader, pop-influenced direction the franchise had been taking has been done away with. Of the 90+ songs on the disc, most are very heavy on screaming lead guitar riffs and extended solos. While this isn’t a bad thing by any means, I feel like the setlist swings too far away from more popular material. Could it be that all the best classic guitar songs have already been featured in video game form already, and there isn’t much left? Another quirk of the setlist is that the majority of the songs on the list are from the past decade. This doesn’t really coincide with the “back to the roots of Guitar Hero” hype to me.