Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Quest Mode Hands-On

Neversoft is going big with the next career mode, and we have a look at how it's coming together.

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The next Guitar Hero game, due out in two months, bears the subtitle "Warriors of Rock." It's a name that doesn't suggest a whole lot on the surface. This is, after all, the series that let you play as barrel-chested rock titans like Lars Umlaut and Axel Steel since practically the beginning. If those guys aren't warriors of their chosen craft, we haven't the foggiest idea who would fit that description. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find meaning behind the name. Warriors of Rock is the first game in the series to play host to a narrative-heavy storyline, which developer Neversoft is calling Quest mode. It's a Gene Simmons-narrated journey that revels in hard-rock aesthetics, mixing eccentric characters with thunderous venues while often weaving the music you play into the storyline. This new feature was the focus of our most recent hands-on demo with the game, after previously catching a look at Warriors of Rock just before the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

The story in Quest mode is, at its heart, a simple tale between good and evil. Only, evil is a giant robot and good is an axe-wielding demigod that embodies the purest essence of rock and roll. Oh, and it's a battle that's fought everywhere, including CBGB, fictional megavenues, and flowing lava pits. OK, so maybe it's not that simple after all. At any rate, along the way, you'll recruit Guitar Hero's various recurring characters, like the aforementioned Lars and Axel, who all have their own backstory and transformational abilities that play into the storyline. They can all change into a slightly insane, beastly alter ego that affects the gameplay with various modifiers (like a minimum multiplier threshold) to make unlocking stars to progress the story that much easier. In short: Quest mode is Neversoft taking that hard-rock edge that it has embraced slightly more with each passing game and just completely running wild with it.

One of the more interesting aspects of Quest mode is the way that the plot and the music frequently intersect. We got to experience some of that firsthand with the Rush sequence in Warriors of Rock. Rush is a band known for highly conceptual prog-rock where the instrumentation is every bit as elaborate as the lyrical imagery. There's a whole chapter of the Quest mode dedicated to one of the band's more abstract songs, the 20-minute opus "2112" from the album of the same name. This seven-part song takes players through multiple venues on a story that runs fairly close to the main narrative in Warriors of Rock: The player has to enter a cavern and obtain a magical guitar to further progress the story; a task completed, naturally, by successfully completing the song.

Doing so is no easy feat considering the shifting, at-times unpredictable nature of "2112." But though it is a genuine challenge, it's far from impossible. Fortunately, you also have breaks between the 20-minute song's seven parts. We saw one that felt like a serene dream sequence, with a camera panning through the clouds while lead singer Geddy Lee read from the liner notes. It was an interesting contrast to the intense musicianship of the song, as well as the testosterone-fueled heavy-rock imagery with which the rest of the game surrounds itself. Oddly enough, when we first walked up to the game and saw this cloud sequence out of context, we thought for a moment that it might have been Gene Simmons--who narrates the rest of the game--reading poetry in an inexplicably high-pitched voice. Fortunately, someone from Activision was there to let us know what was actually happening onscreen. But the fact that our mind was able to jump to such a bizarre conclusion gives you an idea of just how out-there Quest mode is in comparison to previous Guitar Hero career modes.

Now that's a face only a mother could love.

We'll be honest: We were skeptical about Quest mode when we first had a look back at E3, but it seems like Neversoft might have made the right decision in going completely wild with those gritty aesthetics and hard-rock tropes that people have come to associate with the franchise. It really looks like a lot of ridiculous fun was had here. If nothing else, building a fleshed-out story mode with all those crazy sights and sounds should at least add a fun bit of spectacle to a game that's grown quite familiar throughout the years. We should see how it all comes together when Warriors of Rock arrives on September 28.

Discussion

51 comments
Bongman822003
Bongman822003

Even though guitar hero games might have had their peak years ago, this one is definitely worth picking up if you like guitar hero.

toxiehead
toxiehead

im so glad there bringing back that old hardcore rock that they used to have in there games like gh 1, gh2, and gh3, those were great games gh 4 was ok but it was losing that hardcore rocker feeling, and then gh 5 came and dont get me wrong it was fun but it completely lost the hardcore rocker feeling way to much variety, leave variety to rock band. GH is all about crazy guitar solos and heavy rock thats why i love it more than rock band.

Son_Jazrin
Son_Jazrin

I have to agree with X_Allan_X. But is activision forgetting that the market is still suffering from an over saturation of this type of genre? They're just digging the hole deeper with no though of escape.

x_Allan_x
x_Allan_x

First off Gene Simmons is a douche. Secondly why cant GH come out with a "Best of" that's actually full of good songs instead of trying to get everyone to buy the good songs they left out. I wish I could pop in one GH game, save the songs I like to the SD card, repeat, then play them all under one GH5 umbrella. Buying a $50 game for 5 or 6 good songs is getting expensive.

Iciomura
Iciomura

For me, nothing he said was as awesome as he may think, well, at least the battle song thing sounds cool

KingKevo71789
KingKevo71789

Activision needs to close out the series with a GH: Metal game. The "story" could incorporate the various phases in the history of metal (part 1: Sabbath, Zeppelin, etc; part 2: Maiden, Priest, etc.; part 3: Big 4 thrash metal, and so on), and you could defeat various Hot Topic/Emo/Deathcore kids along the way.

Fryboy101
Fryboy101

i've said this before an i'll say it again: GH:WoR is doing NOTHING to revolutionize the genre. it's literally GH 5 with a quest mode.

ziv_ew
ziv_ew

its like every rock band and guitar hero game that comes out u can see how rock band go's to the more serious direction with pro mode and the art style and GH go's to the more childish direction with ppl turning into pigs and a fantasy story. gotta say i preffer RB3 over this

X-7
X-7

Can't wait. The story will be weird as all get out but the song list I saw looks amazing.

Death_Blade_182
Death_Blade_182

Not excited at all about this game, but I must admit that the story with the robot destroying rock music is pretty clever, specially considering that's what happening nowadays... but instead of a robot we get annoying teens with no talent :/

Ratatoskr321
Ratatoskr321

I admit, I've been a total Rock Band fanboy from the start. I started with Guitar Hero but Rock Band totally captured me and I haven't played any GH games since 1 (aside from a brief foray into 3 while visiting a friend). Must say though, I'm actually kind of excited about this game. I originally thought it was stupid but it's sounding more and more likable with everything I read about it. I may actually have to get this game along with Rock Band 3 when they come out!

dibooda
dibooda

It seems I spoke too soon without checking the preview of rb3...In that case both of the next music games looks interesting!! no more fanboyism!! ^^

Scisor50
Scisor50

Yeah in my opinion all setlists have just not been that good. They seriously need a metal only title. Also songs from different countries not just American, British and French songs. How about some Resorte or X for a change?

coruscant
coruscant

There's yet to be a Guitar Hero game that is better than GH3. This new instalment doesn't look like it will get close to it. I'm only interested in the set list, and since GH3 only Rock Band, not Guitar Hero, has had decent set lists that make me want to buy the game.

ilovearrasy
ilovearrasy

i will buy the game but will there be like latest hit rock songs cuz idk y i cant dowlode in ps3 network.

robtheguru
robtheguru

Machine Head and Devildriver please!

bigtruckseries
bigtruckseries

I've got Metallica and Word Tour. I need more mainstream songs to get the most out of my Ion rocker, cause I'm not a huge rock fan.

kidnamedkain
kidnamedkain

why are you all so pissed at gh... if you dont like it play something else... seems easy enough

badiie05
badiie05

CMON who cares at least put awesome hard rock songs ':(

wario96
wario96

GH5 may have had a bunch of features, BUT THE ONLY THING THAT MATERS ABOUT MUSIC GAMES IS THE MUSIC!!!!!!!!

ArmoredBreaker
ArmoredBreaker

@XxShadowzX.......DAMN YOU ACTIVISION DAMN YOU DAMN YOU! just to put some emphasis in what u said!

XxShadowzX
XxShadowzX

Idk why the hell Activision stopped making Guitar Hero(s) for PC... DAMN YOU ACTIVISION! DAMN YOU!

squirrelman87
squirrelman87

@dibooda have you looked at rb3's "pro" mode? That might interest you if you're looking for a challenge. I'm here since I wanted to see what GH has to say to RB's evolving peripherals and ever-expanding library of songs; so far I'm not impressed. Wild and crazy can only get you so far until it becomes just plain stupid.

weisguy119
weisguy119

It's too bad they weaved such an epic song as 2112 into some kind of lame story mode. Frankly, the song deserves much better.

b1ack5nake
b1ack5nake

This looks pretty cool, though I think I'm just gonna rent this sometime to play the Quest and stick to Rock Band 3.

otanikun
otanikun

It sounds very promising

Strategygamer22
Strategygamer22

As long as the pop and modern rock songs are kept to a minimum (preferably none) I'll get the game. Its has Chemical Warfare! No song by Oasis or Paramore (for example) could ever stand up next to it. Here's hoping for Iron Maiden, Testament, Buckethead, and, if possible, Cannibal Corpse (the latter might be impossible for a T-rated game, but I don't care).

rbenns2
rbenns2

While Rock Band has always been interested in realistic (or at least plausible) concert situations, Guitar Hero has progressively become wilder and crazier with each new entry. I wondered how they would be able to top playing at the Arctic Circle, the Lost City of Atlantis, or on top of a golden chariot flown through the air by massive eagles. Now I know.

DKtroa
DKtroa

Show me dem horns! \m/ yeah!

nitzan_z
nitzan_z

ha ha, Lars is a werehog. he is like sonic at night, (but he is a real hog)

H0rr0rG4m3r
H0rr0rG4m3r

I'm only interested in the setlist :D finally no more of that soft, pop crap that has been destroying Guitar Hero for the past few years. But finally once again its time to rock!!! \m/

jurassiraptor
jurassiraptor

Progress through a narrative-heavy "Quest Mode" to morph your character into some kind of animal-mutant-monster? Can you say "jump the shark"?

axelgarcia1
axelgarcia1

the whole warrior stuff is lame, only reason im looking forward to this game is the setlist

killa32130
killa32130

When this game was announced, people were getting all messed up over activision killing the series and now it seems like those people have forgotten about that... i've gotta say atleast this does not look as bad as Gh5 which had the worst setlist ever.

Kyoh
Kyoh

Just when I thought the GH franchise couldn't get any worse.

dibooda
dibooda

Honestly I see lots of GOO ROCK BAND...Rock Band does have great song but it's much more mainstream and the pace of the song seems slower...I mean my friend forced me to play rb 2 and said to the lamb of god or mastodon I don't remember right, but he said it was the hardest song...made it 85% whilst I fail the hardest song in gh...Just a reminder that these are games not real guitar thus I seek chalenge!!

higgydiggy
higgydiggy

I've said it before ad I'll say it again, Can't wait for this. So far the set list looks fun And they said they were going for 90+ songs so I can't wait to see the full thing.

Dan21278
Dan21278

*COUGH* RockBand *COUGH*

SoCoolCOOlKid
SoCoolCOOlKid

Guitar Hero comes out with new songs weekly so, maybe its following RBs footsteps in that aspect but who cares, new songs are new songs. Also, GH DLC doesn't include miley cyrus. nuff said.

badron11
badron11

@soCoolCOOlKid By amazing what do you mean? Don't expect a ton of DLC like the Rock Band Franchise. They like to make $60 games, not constant good track packs and whatnot. I play both Rock Band and Guitar Hero all the time, and I find myself always going back to Rock Band for all of the great DLC they put out every week, and the Rock Band Network as well. I'll play this just like the others, but I'm not buying anymore GH games.

SoCoolCOOlKid
SoCoolCOOlKid

oh god I need to make a new account. SoCoolCOOlKid lol...hi 6th grade.

SoCoolCOOlKid
SoCoolCOOlKid

This looks like a lot of fun to me. Havn't bought a guitar hero in a while but I will be buying this. The setlist is pretty amazing imo. +1 GH:WoR

badron11
badron11

..............................This is weird stuff.