Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock Preview

The new title supports superb Wii-to-DS connectivity, along with more online functionality. We tested these features out, along with the classic guitar strumming, at a recent press event.

By Evan Campbell. Posted 09/10/2010 12:04 Comment on this     ShareThis

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock - Multiplier Boost

A word of caution for your wrists and fingers — prepare for them to be sore in a few weeks. Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock, from developer Vicarious Visions and publisher Activision, will be coming to Nintendo Wii on Sept. 28.

I felt the wickedly good aches in my digits at an Activision press event for the game Wednesday in San Francisco. Not having played a Guitar Hero game for months and months, throwing the guitar strap over my shoulder and strumming along to the note highway was a pleasant and refreshing experience.

And Vicarious Visions makes the Wii rock journey all the more enjoyable by providing Nintendo console lovers with exclusive content.

“The biggest thing that sets the Wii version apart is our integration of the DS connect mode,” explained Joe Fisher, a producer on Warriors of Rock at Vicarious Visions. “Last year, we introduced Roadies in Guitar Hero 5, and this year we really integrated them into Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. We really tried to expand them and give them a greater role.”

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock - Pyro Cursed

This expansion of Roadies starts with the ability to help bassists and drummers, along with guitarists, according to Activision. Also, up to 4 DS systems can connect to Wii (up from 2 in Guitar Hero 5), along with 4 people rocking out, creating a ridiculous 8-player battle. Fisher said that the communication and battles that have happened back at the studio in the DS connect mode were pretty epic and intense.

And I do not doubt his claims after testing out the cooperative mode. The DS minigames require twitch reflexes, with one example requiring players to plug wires into required slots. Quickly succeeding in your effort pays huge dividends for the person rocking out. For instance, my effort as a Roadie enabled Fisher, playing guitar, to acquire an insane 32x multiplier.

This combo booster helps a lot, too, because there are specific challenges in Roadie Mode that require team cooperation. Fisher and I were aiming for a designated high score, which was easily surpassed by blasting out enhancements to him. To help matters, the interaction between the two systems works really well, with immediate results from screen to screen.

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock - Warrior Axel

But you do not have to own a DS to enjoy Warriors of Rock. The guitar-strumming, finger-pressing game mechanic of the franchise is back and as good as ever. The title definitely places a larger focus on metal and rock, which seems to lead to challenging, yet fun, play sessions. However, I questioned Fisher if the new focus and Quest Mode were enough for players to pick up the new game, especially if they own previous iterations in the series.

“You get all the same features that you’ve come to love from the previous versions, plus we’ve just added on,” Fisher explained. “We continue to refine and polish the version we’ve done before.”

The additions are plentiful, especially in the online realm for Wii owners. For starters, Warriors of Rock will be the first Wii game to utilize Facebook and Twitter. Rarely does a studio put so much effort into the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, but Vicarious Visions always raises the bar.

“We’ve added more of a persistent online presence,” Fisher said. “So when your friends do accomplishments in the game, you can broadcast those to your friends as well as to social networking sites. We’ve also incorporated a Wii award system, so when you do specific challenges in the game, you get credited for an award. You can share those with your online friends as well.”

Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock - Highway Fire

The online functionality does not stop there. The game supports high-capacity SD cards to download music and the ability to import your disc songs from Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero, according to Fisher. He also stated that up to 550 songs can be played off your SD card for Warriors of Rock, with each available in the new Roadie modes. The only thing missing is online voice chat. Sadly, Fisher confirmed that the title will not use WiiSpeak, nor the upcoming HeadBanger Headset.

Lastly, the game looks really good, as the difference between the Wii version and its PS3/360 counterparts was hardly noticeable at the event. In regard to the graphics engine, Fisher said that the team made some “selective improvements, specifically with the particle system as well as [upgrades to] the Create-A-Rocker system.”

Once again, Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock will be available to Wii owners Sept. 28. The standalone game will be priced at a MSRP of $59.99; the guitar bundle will sport a MSRP of $99.99; and finally, the super bundle (with guitar, drums, and microphone) will be tagged at a MSRP of $179.99.

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