Ok, so, here's the deal: I haven't touched any of the various music games, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or any other variation upon the theme, at all pretty much since before last Christmas - following a period of being a bit burned out on it last year thanks to Rock Band 2, GH Smash/Greatest Hits and GH5. I knew, however, as soon as details on RB3 and GHWoR started coming through, that around now was the time to pick up my plastic guitar once more for another round of fake music. So, naturally, when the latest Guitar Hero game came out this weekend, I picked it up (the guitar bundle, with the pretty nice new guitar). Obviously, not having played for 8/9 months has meant I'm not really at the same level I was when I packed away my fake instruments last year, so for the moment, I'm back down to medium to get my eye in again, but other than that, it's an instant feeling of picking up the axe, gripping the neck and banging out some tunes with no barrier to entry, no fiddling around with menus or data: just plain, proper, pick up and play material. Where I felt GH5 was let down was in its presentation - which felt cold, sterile, boring and often times a bit clumsy. Where its successor shines, however, is in a slick refinement of menus, gameplay and a similar - but also stronger - tracklist navigator. It also keeps the very nice feature of being able to leap right into the gameplay with 'Party Mode' (just press the Yellow button when the game starts up) - a feature I think is the strongest unique gameplay asset the GH brand has over the RB brand, for now (I'd suspect it will appear in RB3). Obviously, the big change in GHWoR is that it has a story (Quest) mode involving Gods of Rock, epic battles and a huge cast of old and new GH characters. This may sound like a bizarre and pointless addition - but, in actuality, what it does is recreate the single player experience of the game into something far stronger than either the Neversoft or Harmonix games have ever had. Guitar Hero has always had its pre-built characters and the original Harmonix games made a fair point of actually giving them a bit of life - but in WoR, they're not only given a lot more focus - but a lot more characterisation as well. You will leave WoR's Quest Mode with the memory of characters like Johnny Napalm as if they were a character in any real story-driven game. The empty feeling of just waltzing through generic venues playing an arbitrary selection of songs that you will find in RB and recent GH single player modes is gone, with song selections fitting each character in vague theme if not in obvious personality. All in all, it's the first time since GHIII that I find myself actually playing through the single player experience at all, in either GH or RB. The single player is the biggest (and best) change - otherwise, it very obviously leans heavily on GH5's existing material and engine to simply repackage stuff like the custom track maker no-one uses, the same character customisation tool that's invariably never as flexible as RB's so as to fit in GH's more exaggerated aesthetic and, of course, the actual gameplay is the same as it ever was. WoR's native tracklist, I find, is a bit of a mixed bag. There's some fantastic stuff on there - and it's a joy to finally be able to belt out Bohemian Rhapsody on a clacky plastic guitar - but there's also a sizeable amount of meh, generally appealing to the more independent and less mainstream bands in a way that will make some people happy, but leave me pretty cold. Fortunately, (as I was very relieved to find out) imports of Smash Hits and World Tour into GH5 carry over automatically to WoR - and a selection of GH5's own tracks can also be imported (for another re-licensing fee...), while World Tour and GH5 DLC (I'm not sure about the downloadable Metallica album) are also automatically added to your tracklist. WoR natively has over 90 tracks, by the time I'd even loaded up the track list for the very first time, I'd already dinged an achievement for collecting over 200 from my various automatic imports. Unfortunately, I don't have the Xbox hooked up at the moment, so I have no idea on the state of play for WoR DLC as it stands so far. I presume with no reason not to, that the entire previous library of DLC remains available also. Ultimately, I find WoR to be a great refinement of the GH formula, with some really well thought out fixes and additions. It makes it a really great experience to come back to the genre with, and should, I'd imagine, add just enough with the single player (although, despite my constant referring to it as single player, I probably should point out that it is still 100% open to playing with friends - but you'll probably be going this mode along more often than not) to make it a very safe upgrade for anyone still actively playing GH5. On the converse, though, it should be pointed out that while GH has been refining its formula, Rock Band has been messing around with its - and will be adding a keytar (piano) to the mix as well as a more expensive and complicated option to pick up a 'pro' guitar bundle and begin learning how to actually play guitar (as well as, presumably, similar options for Drums, Bass and Piano - though I don't honestly know for sure). Personally, I've always been of the position that the two brands can (and do, as far as my Xbox goes) co-exist in peaceful competition and will be eager to take full advantage of both - but there are those out there determined to turn their existence into a franchise fanboy war, and however strong GH WoR is as a GH game, RB3's got all the ammunition to give their 'side' a much stronger standing. Full Tracklist: Spoiler * A Perfect Circle – "The Outsider" * Aerosmith – "Cryin'" * AFI – "Dancing Through Sunday" * Alice Cooper – "No More Mr. Nice Guy" * Alter Bridge – "Ties That Bind" * Anberlin – "The Feel Good Drag" * Anthrax – "Indians" * Arch Enemy – "Nemesis" * Atreyu – "Ravenous" * Avenged Sevenfold – "Bat Country" * Bad Brains – "Re-Ignition (Live)" * Band Of Skulls – "I Know What I Am" * Black Sabbath – "Children Of The Grave" * Blind Melon – "Tones Of Home" * Blue Öyster Cult – "Burnin' For You" * Bush – "Machinehead" * Buzzcocks – "What Do I Get?" * Children Of Bodom – "If You Want Peace... Prepare For War" * Creedence Clearwater Revival – "Fortunate Son" * The Cure – "Fascination Street" * Deep Purple – "Burn" * Def Leppard – "Pour Some Sugar On Me (Live)" * Dethklok – "Bloodlines" * The Dillinger Escape Plan – "Setting Fire To Sleeping Giants" * Dire Straits – "Money For Nothing" * DragonForce – "Fury of the Storm" * Drowning Pool – "Bodies" * Edgar Winter– "Free Ride" * Fall Out Boy – "Dance, Dance" * Five Finger Death Punch – "Hard To See" * Flyleaf – "Again" * Foo Fighters – "No Way Back" * Foreigner – "Feels Like The First Time" * George Thorogood and The Destroyers – "Move It On Over (Live)" * The Hives – "Tick Tick Boom" * Interpol – "Slow Hands" * Jane's Addiction – "Been Caught Stealing" * Jethro Tull – "Aqualung" * John 5 – "Black Widow Of La Porte" * KISS – "Love Gun" * Linkin Park – "Bleed It Out" * Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Call Me The Breeze (Live)" * Megadeth – "Sudden Death" * Megadeth – "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due" * Megadeth – "This Day We Fight!" * Metallica & Ozzy Osbourne – "Paranoid (Live)" * Muse – "Uprising" * My Chemical Romance – "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" * Neil Young – "Rockin' In The Free World" * Nickelback – "How You Remind Me" * Night Ranger – "(You Can Still) Rock In America" * Nine Inch Nails – "Wish" * The Offspring – "Self Esteem" * Orianthi – "Suffocated" * Pantera – "I'm Broken" * Phoenix – "Lasso" * Poison – "Unskinny Bop" * Queen – "Bohemian Rhapsody" * Queensrÿche – "Jet City Woman" * Rammstein – "Waidmanns Heil" * The Ramones – "Theme From Spiderman" * Red Rider – "Lunatic Fringe" * R.E.M. – "Losing My Religion" * Rise Against – "Savior" * The Rolling Stones – "Stray Cat Blues" * The Runaways – "Cherry Bomb" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 1 – Overture" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 2 - The Temples Of Syrinx" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 3 – Discovery" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 4 – Presentation" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 5 - Oracle: The Dream" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 6 – Soliloquy" * Rush – "2112 Pt. 7 - Grand Finale" * RX Bandits – "It's Only Another Parsec..." * Silversun Pickups – "There's No Secrets This Year" * Slash featuring Ian Astbury – "Ghost" * Slayer – "Chemical Warfare" * Slipknot – "Psychosocial" * Snot – "Deadfall" * Soundgarden – "Black Rain" * Steve Vai – "Speeding" (Vault Version) * Stone Temple Pilots – "Interstate Love Song" * Strung Out – "Calling" * Styx – "Renegade" * Sum 41 – "Motivation" * Tesla – "Modern Day Cowboy" * Them Crooked Vultures – "Scumbag Blues" * Third Eye Blind – "Graduate" * Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – "Listen To Her Heart" * Twisted Sister – "We're Not Gonna Take It" * The Vines – "Get Free" * The White Stripes – "Seven Nation Army" * ZZ Top – "Sharp Dressed Man (Live)"