Though I call myself an avid rhythm game fan, I haven’t played a Guitar Hero game since Guitar Hero: Aerosmith. So upon firing up the demo of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, I noticed a ton of changes to the series. The first major difference was the addition of the Quest Mode.
Quest Mode is the only playable mode in the Warriors of Rock demo. The key to this mode is that the player receives “Power Stars” for completing songs – the harder the difficulty and the better the player performs, the more Power Stars he or she receives. Once the player has earned enough Power Stars, the playable character transforms into his Warrior version – in the demo’s case, Johnny Napalm transforms into Warrior Johnny after the player earns 8 Power Stars. The demo includes three songs: Children of the Grave by Black Sabbath, No Way Back by Foo Fighters, and Ghost by Slash featuring Ian Astbury. However, a fourth bonus song – Bloodlines by Dethklok – is unlocked after Johnny Napalm transforms. The player also unlocks new outfits, guitars, venues, and other bonuses after transforming.
The Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock demo also includes changes to gameplay during the songs. For one, the songs are noticeably harder than previous Guitar Hero games; I considered myself a seasoned veteran when it came to playing rock music on plastic instruments, but I was unable to complete even a fourth of the first song on hard. Embarrassed, I turned the difficulty down to medium and strummed away. Also, the bottom right-hand corner of the screen displays two meters; one shows the player’s progress toward the end of the song (helpful when sweating your way through Dragonforce-esque songs, in hopes of finally reaching the finish line). The other, due to the addition of Power Stars in this installment in the series, monitors the player’s progress toward earning the next Power Star and also displays the current note streak – longer streaks earn more Power Stars!
Additionally, the Warriors of Rock seems to be making a solid attempt at being more full and visually stimulating than its predecessors. The demo included several cutscenes when important events occurred. For instance, the introduction was marked by a cutscene explaining the backstory – the members of a band must rescue the Demigod of Rock, who is imprisoned by “The Beast.” Another cutscene played when Johnny Napalm transformed into Warrior Johnny, providing even more backstory. And finally, the graphic used when a player activates Star Power has been redesigned. The new graphic is much more smooth and clean; it’s a lot simpler, which I found to be much less of a distraction than it used to be.
Overall, I ended up with a thirst for the full game, and a realization of two things: first, Guitar Hero still rocks. Second, I’m still not great at it. I don’t expect either of these things to change.