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WarBeast Guitar
Score: 95%
Developer: DreamGEAR
Device Type: Controller
Compatible With:



Function:

The "average" gamer is not a kid anymore. You're looking at people upwards of 18 years old. Furthermore, games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band actually extend the range of gamers, by introducing a controller that is similar to something they're more familiar with, rather than some cryptic plastic dog bone-shaped thing covered in buttons.

However, the guitar controller that comes with Guitar Hero or Rock Band isn't to scale. It actually is closer to a "ukulele" controller. This is fine for smaller people, perhaps, and those who haven't actually played guitar before, but this scaled-down size is one aspect of the controller that could be irritating to potential players. It's hard to try to look cool when shredding on a small, scaled-down controller.

The WarBeast Guitar answers this issue with a full-sized controller that is also made in a cool shape - think heavy metal Axe, tripped out with skulls, rather than the typical electric guitar shape of the controllers that typically come with Guitar Hero or Rock Band.


Performance:

The first thing you notice when you pick up the WarBeast Guitar is that it really is full-sized. Hold it next to a guitar and you'll see. When I put the included guitar strap on the WarBeast and slung it on, I found that it felt much more natural to use a full-sized guitar controller than the smaller ones that come with Guitar Hero: World Tour. It wasn't until I played with the original controller again as a comparison that I realized that the WarBeast didn't hurt my arm like the original controller does. I don't know if it's because I am 6'2" or if it's a problem for everyone, but my right forearm typically rests against the corner (edge) of the original Guitar Hero and Rock Band controllers, causing discomfort after extended play. The WarBeast didn't cause this problem at all; since my hands are further apart when I play, the angle is a more natural one and my arm can rest against the front of the guitar when I play. If you have this problem, you should definitely try the WarBeast.

The design of the WarBeast is such that it can be played with Guitar Hero, Rock Band or Rock Revolution games on the PS3 and PS2. It doesn't feature the touch-pad-esque section that the Guitar Hero: World Tour controller has; instead it sticks with the second set of (high) note buttons, near the body, which is good for solos. Actually, Rock Band guitars require you to strum when using this second, smaller set of buttons unless you are in a specially marked "solo." The WarBeast, however, sends different signals than the original, making it always playable without strumming. This means that you can choose for yourself when you want to use these "solo" fret buttons in "solo" mode, regardless of what the music is doing.

I use an atypical fingering when I play games with a guitar controller. Specifically, I wrap my left hand around the neck so that I can play the (Green) fret button with my thumb and leave my other four fingers to play the other fret buttons without having to ever move my fingers. This takes long fingers and big hands, but, if you're able to do this with other guitar controllers, you should be able to pull it off with the WarBeast. I found it considerably easier to do this with the WarBeast, in fact, than with the original Guitar Hero: World Tour guitar controller. The WarBeast's neck is wider, but much thinner, like a real guitar; the Guitar Hero guitar controller is a bit thick in the neck, making this playing style more difficult to pull off successfully.

The WarBeast does have a palm button, as is found on the Guitar Hero: World Tour controller. The other controls (Select) and (Start) and the (PlayStation) button, well, in this case, a (DreamGear) button, are on the face of the guitar, but are located on the lower right-hand corner, which, since this guitar is full-sized, conveniently sits out of the range of accidental presses caused by overactive guitar shredding. Also, around the corner, on the bottom of the guitar, furthest from the neck, is a switch with Off / Guitar Hero mode / Rock Band mode and a sync button that syncs the controller up with the included dongle. The dongle is interesting, in and of itself; it has a PS2 controller connector for using with the PS2 and a USB connector which is used when playing on the PS3. When the USB connector is not in use, it can be stored on the bottom of the dongle, in a special groove that is form-fitted for the cable.

I found that the action of the buttons and the strum bar were nice and the larger size made the controller more comfortable. I also found that I made higher scores when playing with the WarBeast, partly due to the thinner neck allowing my reach-around playing style to be easier and partially due to occasional use of the "solo-whenever-you-want-to" second set of fret buttons.

One interesting side-note about the shape of the WarBeast: I found that when playing in a "Captain Morgan" pose, with my right leg up on an ottoman, the curved wedge in the bottom of the guitar fit around my knee, helping to hold the guitar in a very comfortable position.


Features:
  • Compatible with: Guitar Hero series, Rock Band series, Rock Revolution
  • USB Connector for PS3 use (with Storage)
  • PS2 Controller Connector for PS2 use
  • Full Sized Wireless Guitar Controller with Strap
  • Custom Tone Switch (for Rock Band), Extra "Star Power" button, Extended Strum Bar
  • Solo Fret Buttons for Strum-less Playing at Any Time
  • Removable/Replaceable Faceplate
  • Separates into Three Pieces for Portability
  • Licensed by B.C.Rich Guitars
  • Requires 4 'AA' Batteries (Not Included)

Drawbacks & Problems::

The WarBeast is large. This its greatest feature and, possibly, its greatest irritating factor. If you're used to running around, running into the kitchen or bathroom or whatever, with your guitar controller, you are likely to end up banging the WarBeast into things. If, however, you play guitar and you're used to the size of a normal guitar, then the WarBeast will feel much more natural to you.

One aggravating factor about the WarBeast is that, while it's wireless, it needs a dongle when using with the PS3. This is a shame, since the PS3 has built-in wireless capabilities; it's sad that Sony won't let third party controller companies utilize that feature.

All in all, I would highly recommend the WarBeast to anyone who has noticed discomfort when playing with the smaller controllers, anyone who plays a guitar or anyone who wants to use the solo buttons whenever they feel a solo coming on.


-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Sony PlayStation 3 Wireless Keypad Sony PlayStation 3 Shadow Wireless

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated