Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock gameplay adds in super-powers

Recent Guitar Hero entries have experimented with the idea of expanding the soundtrack beyond the typical rock and metal blend, with mixed reactions from fans. But the core series is clearly back to its rockin' roots with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock; it’s easy to see there’s a revitalized focus on heavier and straight-up rock tracks, as well as a new menu and cut-scene art style, which takes its cues from any number of iconic album covers. But the big deal this year? Each character now has super-powers.

In the Quest mode, you'll play as the demigod of rock (voiced by KISS front man Gene Simmons), who finds his legendary guitar stripped from him and encased in stone by an evil robot boss. To regain his powerful instrument and once more unleash the power of rock, he enlists the powers of several familiar Guitar Hero avatars, who rock out at different venues around the world (including a recreation of classic club CBGB in New York) to complete challenges and aid his voyage. How do they do that? By playing so well that the latent rock beast inside them awakens like an X-man’s mutant power.

Thus, Johnny Napalm goes from Mohawk-sporting punk rocker to a blue-skinned, teleporting gargoyle thing. And corpse paint-wearing death metal devotee Lars Umlaut gets a pig head and an outfit that looks even more doomish than usual.

Along with these physical changes come character-specific special powers – such as the ability to gain 10% Star Power for each 10 notes played, or to earn double the star points at all times – which can be utilized to reach scores and star counts (a second measure of performance) never imagined in previous titles. During a four-player jam, we managed to rack up more than 25 stars (40 is the new max, up from five), with the drummer netting a 32x multiplayer throughout much of the track. Developer Neversoft says separate leaderboards will be used for these abilities, so purists don't need to worry about mucking up the talent pool.

In the Quickplay+ mode, each song will offer 13 specific challenges like those seen in Guitar Hero 5's career mode, such as using the whammy bar a certain amount of time, playing a solo without missing a note, and so on. This gives players a meaty alternative to the Quest mode, and each and every compatible DLC track (more than 500) will also be retrofitted with these challenges. We also spotted a new persistent ranking system in the game, which builds with regular play and unlocks in-game content. Neversoft also mentioned plans to utilize a rivalry system that sounds a bit similar to what publisher Activision included in the recently released Blur.

Speaking of the tracklist, Activision says the September release will include more than 90 tracks on the disc, and while the soundtrack does deliver a lot of metal and otherwise heavy-hitting offerings, it still offers up many contemporary artists and radio-ready hits. That means Slayer's "Chemical Warfare" stacks up alongside Fall Out Boy's "Dance, Dance," while acts like Black Sabbath, Anthrax, and the Rolling Stones are seen within spitting distance of tracks by Foo Fighters and Third Eye Blind.

With Rock Band 3 taking a super-realistic “learn to play” approach and Guitar Hero charging into metal fantasy and score milking territory, the two titles are finally really diverging. Which is right for you?

Jul 14, 2010


  • guiarherodrummer1998 - August 18, 2010 5:48 p.m.

    weeeeeirrrd. I think I'll just rent it for now.
  • Zack117 - July 16, 2010 1:58 a.m.

    I kinda missed the story mode in Guitar Hero 3 so I'm glad that it's making a comeback. My family likes Rockband more than Guitar Hero but I'm making my little 5 year old brothers like metal so my parents will get it for all of us. I'm glad that they're listening to Ozzy and Metallica instead of the jonas brothers and fall out boy.
  • EdDeRs1 - July 15, 2010 4:08 p.m.

    come on i want to see some Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa in the setlist! mabey even some more King Crimson!
  • ginrummy88 - July 15, 2010 12:36 p.m.

    if i wanted to play real guitar, i would pick up my Gretsch... i think one of the major flaws in RB3 is that almost every beginning guitarist looks at his hands because he doesnt have a feel for the guitar yet. How is a new guitarist supposed to watch the screen and place his fingers in position quick enough to hit the notes if he isnt used to it?
  • JayBeat - July 15, 2010 10:43 a.m.

  • denyeverything - July 15, 2010 8:51 a.m.

    adding a story mode is an interesting angle, but as it is it doesn't sound like anything special. that said, it seems largely ignorable and i don't put much faith in rock band's "learn to play" nonsense either, so i don't really see either doing much for the genre.
  • Ridgley - July 15, 2010 5:48 a.m.

    No thanks.
  • theemporer - July 15, 2010 5:19 a.m.

  • DaCunt - July 15, 2010 3:05 a.m.

    I just hope you can import tracks from past games that arn't dlc
  • Peanut726 - July 15, 2010 2:35 a.m.

    im not ready to pay the big bucks for everything for rock band, and i like the quick fun you can get with guitar hero
  • Spybreak8 - July 15, 2010 2:18 a.m.

    I don't care about the new marketing stuff, just give me a good setlist and I'm set.
  • selfawareusername - July 15, 2010 1:45 a.m.

    Just what the series needed! Lame power ups and acid trip inspired costumes
  • GayforGilbert - July 15, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    The whole thing's a terrible idea.
  • Kenzo - July 15, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    I'd much rather play fake instruments like a god of rock then learn to play real instruments and devote lots of time to being okay. reCAPTCHA: secretary invasion who knew aliens wouldn't invade, but secretaries would?
  • jpalz - July 14, 2010 11:34 p.m.

    For now I'm a little bit more excited for Guitar Hero's setlist. The reason for that is because I didn't like any of the newer songs announced for Rock Band 3, although everything from the 60's-90's is completely awesome :D I really like music games, so I guess I'll be getting both :D
  • Dorito72 - July 14, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    i've always liked guitar hero because they always have muse on the soundtrack. and on this one, they're going to have uprising, so im pretty much sold.
  • MyUsernameIsLongerThanChrisAntistasPenis - July 14, 2010 11:28 p.m.

    Yes because superpowers is exactly what I want in my music game...seriously it's like a five year old came up with this shit. But even though the "story mode" looks fucking retarded I'll still rent it because the setlist is pretty good.
  • Hayseyboy - July 14, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    I'm glad that guitar hero is going back to its rock/metal roots, after the disaster that was guitar hero 5, (I don't know about you but I didnt feel cool "rocking out" to Hungry like the Wolf by Duran Duran) the story is one of the most crazy and stupid storylines to ever appear in the game, and that's exactly what they want you to think, which is why it is going to be awesome! and with artists like Black Sabbath, Slayer, The Rolling Stones and The Foo Fighters, that only amplifies my point, I never thought I'd purchase another guitar hero game after GH5, but I'm definatley getting this. Oh and I would also like to point out that that pig dude is one creepy ass mother-f___er.
  • CH3BURASHKA - July 14, 2010 11:19 p.m.

    Kind of asshole-ish of them to completely emulate the idea of Brutal Legend after dumping it. Once again, all I can say is, vote with your dollar.
  • irritatedming - July 14, 2010 11:16 p.m.

    If I wanted to learn to play real instruments, I'd learn to play real instruments. I'm sticking with Guitar Hero.

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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