I miss the days of Rock Band and Guitar Hero. I get that the peripherals were cheap plastic that took up lots of space and was expensive to some. It’s also a licensing nightmare! After the trend of those rhythm games died down, in came more unique rhythm games meshed with other genres such as platformers, beat-em-ups, and racing games to keep the genre going.
Why not try a fighting game with rhythm? In comes Modus Studio’s God of Rock. During our preview, I mentioned the game has some fun moments and has other things it needs work on. Does God of Rock…rock? Or will we boo it off the stage?
Our preview only allowed us to play training mode, local matches, and the track editor. I finally played the story and honestly was disappointed. The God of Rock himself approaches your character and challenges them to a rock-off…. That’s it. There is no other backstory other than that. Each character has their own personality and style though. Most can be a bit generic looking. One mark Modus missed is having each character stand out by making them look like real former rock stars. They already have the character King who looks like Elvis. Champ can maybe look like a beefy Freddy Mercury if you look hard enough. Maybe there are others that I missed but I haven’t noticed anything too familiar.
The story mode is delivered by artistic, static storyboards each with their own unique character motivation to the God’s challenge. They’re short cutscenes and get right to the point. I don’t mind them being simple and short but unfortunately, I can’t forgive the endings. Yes, each character get’s their own ending but they are…. **very small spoiler**…incredibly, insultingly short! I’m talking less than 5 seconds short, and that’s being generous. Gone are the days of retro gaming where all you get is “Great Job! Thanks for playing!” and then go to credits. Today, players want some impact on character or story development, dialogue, teaser, or something! Each ending gives you absolutely nothing for your time playing. After two story-mode characters, I was done giving my time to it. Onwards did I go to the other modes.
Streets of Rage
So, the more important and obvious question should be is the game good? How is the gameplay? It’s not perfect. No game is, but yes, it is fun! Just like most rhythm games, the buttons fly across the screen from left to right. Hit them at the right moment to hit your opponent and reduce their health. I found the learning curve frustrating at first but it’s only because, just like in any fighting game, you must learn your moves. Memorization and strategy are key to winning your match once the difficulty ramps up at the peak of a battle. It can get difficult as the song progresses, even in easy mode. Loads of simultaneous button presses make a great challenge.
Specials and supers are a necessity during battle. Once your meters fill up, use them in a pinch to slow down your opponent’s button presses and/or reduce their health. The move sets, however, are unimpressive from a spectacle standpoint. They all look the same and have the same combination of buttons to perform one. I can barely appreciate the combat that’s going on since I’m focused so much on the music buttons so I don’t miss anything. During our preview, this was a problem I had as well. There can be too much going on. I have to give props to whoever thought of putting in the feature of a countdown back into the battle after leaving the pause menu. *Chefs kiss*
Each character has their own personality and is shown visually. For a small developer, Modus has some amazing art style and creativity in God of Rock. The colors and backgrounds, sounds, and animations are all A+ quality when I do get a chance to appreciate them. I’m sad they went the static image route with their story and endings though. I really wish they fleshed out each of the 12 characters available using more interesting storytelling.
The music is just as good. Over 40 tracks. Don’t expect Modus to use any licensed songs but they can still get blood pumping during a close battle. If the difficulty still isn’t enough, they have multiple difficulty modes and a track editor to make things a bit more challenging for you and your friends. It takes some practice to get the track editor going. I felt I needed a degree in engineering when I first messed with it. I got the hang of it, however, and made a few random choices just to see how it all works.
Potential God of Rock
God of Rock has a great idea under a lot of chaos and questionable choices. I think this works better as a rhythm game than a fighting game but can also see many enjoying the ride. I see a lot of potential if Modus decides to add on DLCs and patches to improve the game. I suggest more stories for characters, including the God of Rock himself, better specials, super animations, and hopefully someday in the future, some licensed music. For $29.99, it’s not a bad deal. I can’t recommend this game to everyone. This can still be a fun time, just not for most. If you need a new rhythm game, scratch that rhythm itch then!
This review was written based on a digital review code of God of Rock for PC provided by Modus Studios.