The Rock Band series has always seemed more impressive than Guitar Hero.
Sure, the latter started the rhythm game genre, but Rock Band was the first to add drums and vocals, vocal harmonies and, most recently, a keyboard. Plus, Rock Band's creators are much more dedicated to downloadable songs.
That said, I never realized the importance of the innovations by Guitar Hero until I played Rock Band 3, which introduced its version of them. They include comprehensive statistics, changing difficulty in the middle of a song, and the ability to have friends jump in anytime during a set list.
And Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock continues that trend of incremental improvements for the series. It includes a far more comprehensive and engaging career mode than in any earlier rhythm game, something that should please people who play by themselves.
Called "Quest Mode," it's narrated by Gene Simmons of KISS and includes Rush's seven-part suite from the album 2112. It also features unique powers for individual characters, such as the ability to have higher score multipliers.
It's a unique way to make the rhythm game more of a game and less of a concert.
But it's still a good concert, too. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock includes 93 songs, and they indeed rock. It ranges from Neil Young's Rockin' in the Free World to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Listen to Her Heart and The Offspring's Self Esteem.
It also includes Muse's Uprising, which shows that this game is dedicated to major rock jams more so than past iterations.
Project leader Brian Bright told a Nintendo magazine earlier this year that the series had run away from its roots with Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero 5.
"With Guitar Hero 5, we were trying to please everyone out there, and I think in the end you end up not pleasing any one person a lot," he said.
Well, his aim to please rock fanatics with this game was successful with that kind of set list.
But where does Guitar Hero go from here? It's an interesting question because lackluster sales of the previous games led publisher Activision to cut or reassign those responsible for the games at developers RedOctane and Neversoft.
The series will continue, but it's now in the hands of Vicarious Visions, which has handled development of the past Nintendo Wii and DS versions.
Maybe it's time to start thinking like Rock Band and look for a major innovation. I'm not sure what it would be, but I look forward to playing it in a couple of years.