If you like the idea of combining a fighting game with Rock Band-style rhythm, you ought to keep your eye on God of Rock.
Have you ever played Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat and thought to yourself, “this game needs more… rhythm?” Chances are, probably not. But on the off-chance that you have, God of Rock is for you. Scheduled to release on PC and consoles in April, God of Rock combines traditional button-matching rhythm gameplay with one-on-one combat. The result is hectic but very intriguing.
You and your opponent – who can be local, online or AI – will face off against each other, sparring as you try to hit as many flawless notes as possible. Performing well will nibble away at your opponent’s HP bar, but that’s likely not going to be enough by itself. Sure, nailing a particularly hard bit of track will help, especially if your rival fluffs it, but you’ll need to pull some actual fighting game-style combos out of the bag to truly shine in God of Rock.
Each character in God of Rock has their own powerful attacks which can be activated by pushing a string of buttons. Thankfully, they’re not as complex as some Street Fighter combos, for example: a simple down, right and a trigger button will pull off the simplest of them. But fitting those in between keeping up with the rhythm – which uses all four face buttons – can be tricky. You’ll need to have your wits about you not to fail in God of Rock.
It’s the type of game that’s going to take a lot of practice, then. But thankfully, with its colourful visuals, interesting cast of characters and rocking soundtrack, putting in some time to learn the ropes shouldn’t feel like too much of a hardship.
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What is a little disappointing is that God of Rock doesn’t have any licensed tracks. Its soundtrack is made up of 40 original songs, and while what we’ve heard so far is pretty good, it’d be nice to battle it out to the tune of some well-known bangers. With Guitar Hero and Rock Band basically relics of the past, it would have been great for another game to swoop in and give us the play-along rock soundtrack that we’re sorely missing.
It’s not a deal-breaker though. After all, we get it: music licenses aren’t cheap. And God of Rock doesn’t need them to be entertaining. In fact, there’s a good reason why it only uses original tracks: a fight can go on forever. Theoretically, anyway. The combat doesn’t end when the song does: instead, a track will get more and more complicated as time goes on and as players whittle down the HP of their opponent. It only ends when one player remains. If your opponent isn’t very good, it’ll be over in less than a minute. But if you’re both excellent players, you could be battling it out for quite some time.
God of Rock is an interesting premise, and while we don’t think it’s going to massively shake up the fighting game scene, it’s certainly going to offer something different alongside the big hitters. It’s a mash-up of genres that fit together surprisingly well, and we’re intrigued to see how it fares on the competitive scene. After all, there’s already a tournament lined up and happening next week. But even for us casual players, there’s an enjoyable challenge to be had here. If you’re a fan of rhythm games, it’s well worth checking out.
God of Rock is coming to PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC on 18th April.