There was a point when my plastic guitar collection was reaching increasingly higher into two-digit numbers, until I scrapped almost all of them. All of them except the outdated Gibson X-Plorer wired controller for GH2 on 360, because I still think it’s the best guitar to date.
That’s why I’m happy to report that the new Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock guitar is probably closest in feel to the X-Plorer than any instrument that’s come out since. The strum and whammy bars feel comparable though, aesthetically, flames aren’t my first choice of decoration for anything; however, the design -- very in step with the graphical look of the game -- is inoffensively campy.
There are also additional wings for the snap-on, snap-off guitar body, that look like giant blades but for my play style (admittedly bizarre), they poke into my wrist too much to be comfortable. If you play like a normal guitar player, it shouldn’t be a problem.
As for the technical merits of the axe, it’s very much a streamlined version of previous guitar units. It deconstructs into easily storeable pieces, has the slightly raised fret buttons I prefer, star power/back and start buttons built into the bridge and no more touch strip. Though there are still touch-strip compatible notes built into the game, I’ve honestly never used this feature much and can’t complain that the new guitar doesn’t support it.
Despite all the good things I can say about the controller, I have smallish lady paws (and I play unconventionally) and the larger-handed men with proper GH form in the office have distinct problems with the placement of the bridge and buttons on it. It’s proximity to the strum bar is admittedly very close, great for triggering star power without turning the guitar, but not great for accidentally triggering star power when you don’t mean to. All-in-all, this guitar will definitely become part of my pared down collection, but it definitely won’t work for everyone.
While you're at it, check out our full Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock review.