Valkyrie Profile of Rock


For me, E3 2010’s subtitle should have read, “Prove it.” There were so many items, both hardware and software, I simply didn’t believe in that I really needed to see what was going on for myself. Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock was once such item. Based on pre-E3 info, I wasn’t sure I liked where the franchise was headed. The core “Rock Star” fantasy I love about the series was gone and replaced with a fantasy of another kind.

Warriors of Rock’s single-player mode, Quest, depicts a classic story of good versus evil. Centuries ago, the Demigod of Rock – voiced by Gene Simmons -- was defeated by The Beast and banished to a tomb along with his guitar axe. In order to defeat The Beast and liberate the Demigod, players will need to amass an army of rock.

Reading over the premise, it sounds a bit silly, but after speaking with members of the development team at Neversoft, it’s a neat addition. Looking back over the last two games, the team thought the series was straying from its rock roots. The new story is part of Neversoft’s attempt to bring the game back. Gone are Top 40's Pop Hits and "Party Songs;" all are replaced with pure rock songs bursting with power chords and drum solos.

Quest, which is available in both solo and band varieties, is split into eight chapters, each focusing on a different character from the Guitar Hero roster, like Johnny Napalm or newcomer, Echo Tesla. Each chapter features a set list specific to that character. For instance, Johnny’s set is comprised of mostly punk songs. Additionally, each character possesses a special ability. Johnny Napalm, for example, has a constant 2x multiplier while Echo earns extra Star Power for every 10-note streak.

Character abilities seem like even more of a departure from the norm, but really shake up the core gameplay. In previous games, stars were just something you earned. Here they’re more important. Earning stars in Quest unlocks new items, songs and helps fuel story progression. Eventually, characters will earn enough stars and transform into their warrior form, granting an even stronger special ability.

Once you’ve unleashed all characters inner warriors, you’ll head into a final battle with The Beast featuring “Sudden Death,” a song written specifically for the game by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine. According to Neversoft, the song will push player skills to their absolute limit. Expect loads of guitar solos, described by Neversoft as “finger bending.” After completing the main quest, you will unlock a Demigod chapter and play through Domination, where you can use all 8 abilities.

Quest is joined by Quickplay+ mode, which has also seen a number of changes. Although following a classic formula, Quickplay+ asks players to complete 12 different Challenges for every song, including downloaded and imported tracks from previous games.

Some Challenges require hitting particular note streaks while others require earning and using Star Power. Each has three levels of completion (Gold, Platinum and Diamond) and include every instrument type. Challenges are always running in the background and, if you want, you can share results with friends and even try to top their spot on the Leaderboard.

Normal Challenges are joined by Power Challenges, which are played with the aid of special abilities from Quest Mode. Purists should note there are both “Powered” and “Un-Powered” Leaderboards, though once you get a taste of the Powers in action, you’ll likely want to always play with them activated.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is a different direction for the series, but so far its looks like the right one.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock