Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Preview for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360Wii
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7Out of 10
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Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock screenshot
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock screenshot

The Guitar Hero franchise has been growing exponentially since the mid-Noughties. The developers have been so relentless about it that even when it had looked like Hero had been completely eclipsed by Rock Band in ’07, they still rolled another four titles off the production line. Even when it was looking like Hero was starting to peel ideas straight out from Rock Band by introducing multiple instruments, the franchise kept chugging along like a happily aimless locomotive. Even in Guitar Hero 5, when they had largely abandoned their Ye Olde Hard Rock roots to appeal to the mass of casual gamers that still don’t quite get Lemmy, they didn’t lay down the plastic axe.

The franchise felt like it had been losing direction, slowly but surely. Throughout 2009 it had spent most of its time being washed out with weak sales until Activision finally decided to re-jig the internal development teams, dissolving RedOctane and putting a hold on Neversoft’s Guitar Hero division until the completion of Warriors of Rock.

Warriors of Rock is an attempt to pull on the reigns a bit and bring the series back around to what made Guitar Hero work in the first place. What had worked was evident in the success of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. It was a guitar-centric, heavy rock-based Oktoberfest. Guitar Hero was built originally as a game to whet the palates of gamers looking for material that was as weighted in irony as it was in capital-A awesome music. In homage to the series’ origins, Warriors of Rock turns its focus back to hardcore guitar music.

The setlist ranges from Alice Cooper to Stevie Vai, The Ramones to ZZ Top. It heads over to slightly more modern material with Them Crooked Vultures and The White Stripes. You’ll ask yourself, how many classic rock songs are even left after six of these games? The answer is about 90, although most of the featured bands have already been part of the series’ roster for years. The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Deep Purple are all there again. You also get a now-expected re-designed controller, whose electronic innards have been pushed down to the bottom of the guitar unit, allowing you to modify the actual look of the body.

For the game itself the stand-out feature is an entirely new story-driven Quest Mode, narrated by KISS front-man Gene Simmons. The plot has a whiff of Brutal Legend to it, giving you eight new characters, guided by a Demi-God of Rock, and having you trek your way from CBGBs in New York to a molten lava pit to battle The Beast and save Rock music. This culminates in a secondary story section based very loosely on Rush’s 2112, a seven-part Rock suite that tells a dystopian story set in the year 2112. You essentially find the Demi-god’s guitar and use it to defeat the Beast. That section gets a narration by famed Rush members Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, based on portions of the album’s liner notes.

The bulk of Quest Mode involves playing your way through eight sets to recruit a gang of rockers, with new characters Austin Tejas and Echo Tesla joining series veterans Johnny Napalm , Judy Nails, and Lars Umlaut. Each of the characters will transform and equip power-ups by playing through their setlist. You can unlock ridiculous powers in-game, which exist purely to underline the ironic awesomeness of the series. You might enable a power-up that gives you additional star power once you hit ten consecutive notes, or you might triple the multiplier when you activate Star Power. Johnny Napalm can get you a 2x multiplier at all times throughout a song, while Axel Steel can resurrect you should you screw up and fail.

While the game essentially peddles backwards to its origins from half a decade ago, this feels like the first creative step the franchise has taken in a very long time. Forget the new controller or a slightly polished UI - the narrative is what makes the game. It essentially mimics the hard rock enthusiasm that has existed for decades, regurgitating the lore of demons and heavy metal that has been around since Robert Johnson sold his soul. By accepting that tradition as its own, the franchise will continue to feel like it has some identity amongst the bulk of other rhythm games.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii later this year.

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User Comments

clangod's Avatar

clangod@ guyderman

That's still pretty impressive mate. As drums are just essentially hitting the instrument, there are certain similarities that make it the closest imitation of the real thing. I have found when playing the guitar that I catch myself following the strumming of the actual song rather than the indicators on screen (especially for the tracks I actually know how to play). It's a brief diversion but can make all the difference when trying for a streak or high note percentage. It's actually quite irritating but I can't stop. I need to be concious of the differences all the time so I can try not to catch myself following the music so much as what's on screen :)

Good news is, I found a set of the Logitech drums online for $130.90 AUD (75.00 GPB) which is less than half the price I have seen for other Aussie sellers. The bad news is that upon contacting the seller, I was told that they did not currently have stock and weren't sure when, if at all, they would be getting more. I have replied asking for some clarification because if they could guarantee I would receive the item, I would buy immediately. I stand to save a lot of money if I can get it new for this price.

Fingers crossed!!!
Posted 11:10 on 04 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar


I play the drums on Expert on these games and I'm not too bad - I can play almost all tracks up to and including Level 3 tracks and gets 98-99% (I've only ever got 100% about 5 times in two years off playing) but my proficiency drops a little bit on level 4 tracks but I still tend to complete them without being Boo'd off stage and level 5 and Deamon Heads kick my ass! I have no misconceptions that it means I could actually sit at a real kit and play properly - for a start I need a track to follow or I'm lost - LOL!
The main reason I play the drums is that I just find a sense of satisfaction playing them that i can't get (personally) on the guitar - mainly because I'm crap at it I can't even play on the hard setting as I lose my fingering as soon as I use the orange button! Therefore I feel like I'm missing notes and sections on the easier settings and it just doesn't feel anything like what I'm playing.
I think it's just the caveman in me like bashing things - and being able to do it to the likes of AC/DC, Maiden, Kiss, Crue etc makes it all the more fun for me.
Posted 09:36 on 04 August 2010
clangod's Avatar


Having not played Rock Band, both are esentially just the same thing so really can only be compared to the real thing.

Even in my limited experience can I say with utmost certainty that while the general idea is there (rythym) it's not even close. I can see how RB & GH could teach a player certain things about phrasing, timing etc. as well as some general dexterity but simply pushing a button doesn't cut it.

To anyone who plays an instrument I would be just stating the obvious I guess so I apologise. The drums would be the only properly applied instrument. The fact that I would play may therefore seem like a contradiction but what it all boils down to is fun. Plus I get to play some of my favourite songs over and over again ;)

Note that I will not buy Band Hero.
Posted 19:27 on 03 August 2010
Woffls's Avatar


I wasn't implying that Pro Mode is a bad thing; it's a natural progression for their approach to game design, and a lot of people will enjoy it. Of course Pro Mode will be harder, but the challenge is something I don't want in a video game, and I think HMX have shown it thus far as a learning tool. I don't necessarily want more of a challenge than Expert mode; it's already hard enough and I think GH6 is approaching it well by having lots of challenges for each song as opposed to just getting a high score.

I'm not really sure what your point is in the second paragraph, I've been playing Guitar Hero for years because I enjoy it as a game, not a musical device, so I disagree that I "don't have a need for these games". And yeh, there's limitations on my technical proficiency with a real guitar, but I don't play Guitar Hero and think about it in that context.

I don't know what setting you play on, but the Expert note charts are good in Guitar Hero, I can't comment on lower settings. The reason they might sound inaccurate is because songs in Guitar Hero games are generally more complex on guitar than in Rock Band so it's easier to make 'mistakes'. But as you say, playing the instrument does alter your perspective.

I know it probably sounds like I'm talking down to you, but I have played a ***** load of Guitar Hero.
Posted 18:18 on 03 August 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ guyderman

Thanks for that mate. I have now read a few reviews for both Xbox and PS3 versions and although as expected they are quite similar, overall it is very positive. The only recurring gripe was the kick pedal slippage which of curse can be fixed DIY.

I am really leaning now towards this kit simply because not only is it reportedly more sturdy than the bundled counterparts, but it is made from higher quality materials and is fully adjustable. I do not want someone telling me how I set up my kit or giving me no option to do so. Everyone is different so I appreciate Logitech's consideration on this aspect.

Although there is a price to be paid (and a rather hefty one), I would feel like I'm insulting myself to consider the other 'official' options. It may be a 'save and see' option but ultimately having played both drums and guitar for many years, I'm certain that I would always regret the weaker options no matter how well they may or may not perform.

Thanks again for your info. As someone who is really only just venturing into music games more seriously, I figure the best option is to weigh the prices and benefits of these options. Unless I can get an RB or GH kit for under $100.00, I think I'll decline these options and get something more like the Logitech controller. Even if it does take longer to obtain. Realistically, If I was considering the Band Hero bundle without any need for the game or mics, surely I can stand spending just over $100.00 more for something a little more specialised. All I want now is the drums.
Posted 18:04 on 03 August 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Woffls

You're berating Harmonix for trying to make their instrument-playing-simulation game more like playing the real instrument? Am i missing something in the translation? I mean I have my reservations about how feasible it is for your average gamer's to actually manage 'Pro' mode, but there's no doubt that it's more challenging because it's more like the real instrument. What extra level of challenge would you want if not for it to be more like a real instrument?

Given you can actually play a guitar for real, you clearly don't have a need for these games to simulate playing music on an instrument you could potentially never conceivably play, like the majority of people playing GH and RB, because you already do. Though there will obviously be limitations on your talent with a real guitar that you might want to experience through GH/RB.

Having said that: Being a non-guitar playing gamer i feel that the RB note highways fit better. It feels more like i'm playing the music. GH is notably harder, but from my perspective it's not harder because it's more accurate to the way the tracks would be played with the real instrument. There are times when i'm playing a track on GH and it sounds nothing like any part of the music, there are bits thrown in for no apparent reason. Thats a non-guitar player's perspective. Clearly if you already play the instrument in question it alters how you perceive each game.
Posted 18:00 on 03 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ clangod

Sorry mate I've never used any kits other than the RB and GH official kits.
Here's a review for the Xbox version of the kit if it's any help.
Posted 16:19 on 03 August 2010
clangod's Avatar


Has any one of you used or heard reports of the Logitech drum controllers?

I have come across a set that 'looks' half decent and is apparently fully adjustable but I guess you can just never be sure with the third party gadgets. Logitech are pretty good at what they do though I think so it could be an alternative to both RB & GH options...

Logitech PS2/ PS3 Drum Controller
Posted 15:58 on 03 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ Woffls

Have to agree with one thing - the Guitar tracks on RB are no where near as good as the GH tracks - I don't play Guitar very much on them but I always felt that RB's followed the Rhythm section of the guitaring more than the lead.
Posted 15:03 on 03 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ clangod

I think the cymbals add on's for the RB drums are only available in Canada and the US at the moment unless you import - I know they certainly haven't released them in the UK yet - which is why I'm glad about RB3 having the new mode where it will show whether the colour to hit is a cymbal or a tom as this must mean we will finally get the better kit. (ours isn't wireless either :( ).

You are definitley right about them both looking cheap and tacky :) but at least you can still beat the sh!t out of them - LOL!
Posted 15:00 on 03 August 2010
clangod's Avatar


Well after looking at both Amazon & Play I have learnt that yes, they are available but Amazon currently only ship these products within the US and once I add up all costs involved relevant to Australian dollars it looks as though there's not a huge gap between these and Aussie retailers anyway.

The missus says she saw Band Hero here at a local retailer for about $140.00 which I'm not too sure of considering most Aussie prices I've seen are around the $220.00 mark. That said, I don't really like the look of either drum set. They both look cheap and tacky but I suppose the main thing is how they perform.

All of the RB drums sets I've seen look as though you need to buy cymbals as an extra as opposed to a complete set. This narrows the gap even more between prices here and abroad.

Oh well, I guess I'll just continue to look around for a while and see if something pops up. Now I have to decide on which drum set to get. I've read that the Band Hero drum set is not as adjustable as I would like with the drum pieces themselves being moulded to the supporting frame. This worries me.
Posted 14:45 on 03 August 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ Endless

Oh don't get me started on Pro Mode. It's a guitar teaching tool, and it's too detached from being a game to be what I consider a challenge in the context of playing a video game. Sure it's more difficult, but that's why I have real guitars as well.

Some of the tracks on Rock Band DLC are much harder than GH3 onwards, sure, but not for the right reasons. Harmonix focus too much on wanting to replicate the experience of playing music, so the timing windows are very narrow for soloing, nearly as much so as GH2. While I'm fine with this and I'm pretty good at GH2 as well, I find it impossible to synchronise the lag on Rock Band games, so it's just not fun. They're about the music first and the game second, and that doesn't translate well in how they approach difficulty curves.

Another thing about the difficulty in Rock Band songs that I've always found is that they just put in obscenely difficult songs to say "look, this song is hard, our game is challenging too", but there's this massive no-man's land in between piss easy and impossible in both RB1 & 2. I've also found parts where they've obviously ignored how broken that bit of the song is in the chart - regardless of its accuracy, and I even doubt that sometimes - and just leave it there because it's 'accurate'.

One particular issue is 'tapping' solos. They were an issue in GH3 and Rock Band 1 (see 'One' and 'Green Grass & High Tides' respectively) where they're easier on a normal guitar. GH implemented tapping sections where you don't need to strum and can use both hands to play it like tapping is actually done. What did RB do? Nothing, because they spent time on the band experience before the guitar playing. I respect them for focussing their efforts, but it for me Guitar Hero has always been more fun on guitar than Rock Band.

I'm sure you don't want me to go into any more detail :P
Posted 13:58 on 03 August 2010
Endless's Avatar


Yeah the RB drum kits are easily a better peripheral than the Fisher Price GH version, but you should consider getting another pedal and some pad dampeners/protectors for it because you WILL break both the pads and pedal at some point regardless of which you go for.

I always wanted the ion drum rocker as well, it hasn't changed price since it's release for the original RB, still around £250 i think :(

I potentially agree and disagree with a lot of comments here.

Guitar Hero 3 was the greatest and only GH game to bother with in the series. Everything after it is bollocks both in terms of gameplay and track choice.

GH as a whole is a more arcadey simulator than RB it is true, and the power ups and such are a fun to a certain point. And that point is that when you play someone online, you want to beat them because you're better than them at the song, not because you hit a power up at the right time. I guess thats the non-serious side of GH though.

Which leads me to a contradiction by Woffls....if challenge on Expert is what you're looking for than how can you champion GH over the new Expert mode of RB3? Is it too much? By too much i mean do you think it's going to be too complex to remain fun?

Also have you tried any of the tracks by Yngwie Malmstein on RB for difficulty? I challenge you to find anything on GH, Through the Fire and the Flames included, that is as difficult as those tracks.

They key thing for me is that i like ALL the genres of music included in both games, i'm not just all about the metal or the classic rock. I like it all. The direction GH goes with this incarnation puts me off because it's too narrow in it's scope. This just doesn't have the depth i want from a music simulation game, it's a step back in feel and style which is where it needed to go. But at the expense of remaining static in every other aspect.

Plus i'm looking forward to the keyboard in RB3 as that's what i learnt to play at school :)
Posted 13:21 on 03 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar


The Ion kit brings a tear to my eye - I want it so much.... but I'm not allowed to get one :(
Posted 11:08 on 03 August 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ Woffls

Yes, it appealed to me on the basis that it has application as an electronic stand alone kit but if I was gonna spend that kind of money I'd be better off buying a real kit again.
Posted 10:57 on 03 August 2010

Game Stats

Release Date: 24/09/2010
Developer: Neversoft
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Music
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 18,410 35
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