Its been a while since Harmonix gave players a new reason to pick up their plastic instruments. With their last release seeing universal acclaim and changing the music game formula lots, fans of the series wondered where they can go next. While it seems we are still very far off from a Rock Band 4, Harmonix found a new, inventive way to get players rocking once again with Rock Band Blitz. Let’s take a deeper look at Harmonix’ newest title.
Rock Band Blitz puts the player’s efforts on a controller instead of the instrument peripherals, along with focusing more on the scores rather than a player’s accuracy. Players jamming out are required to hit a select amount of notes using the face buttons to move up in the multiplier by hitting checkpoints and switch over to other instruments using the shoulder buttons. The multipliers have been bumped up gradually. As you pass by a checkpoint, the max multiplier increases. Players might wind up getting 22x more points for hitting a note. The catch? Make sure you hit the required sections, or that multiplier won’t increase.
Rock Band Blitz puts the player’s efforts on a controller instead of the instrument peripherals, along with focusing more on the scores rather than a player’s accuracy. Players jamming out are required to hit a select amount of notes using the face buttons to move up in the multiplier through checkpoints and switch over to other instruments using the shoulder buttons. As you cross checkpoints, the max multiplier increases. You can find yourself scoring 22x the normal amount of points per notes if you are successful. The gameplay is incredibly addictive and a blast to play. There were plenty of times where I kept saying “I’m getting off after this to play another game,” but wound up staying for a whole extra twenty songs.
Unlike previous Rock Band titles, Rock Band Blitz doesn’t feature a campaign or career mode. A fan of single player gaming and Rock Band’s past career modes especially, I was a tad disappointed to start the game and simply be shown a long track list. The game comes stock with 25 songs, but the songs don’t end there. Rock Band Blitz supports all previous and upcoming DLC releases, exports and Rock Band Network downloads. This 25 song setlist instantly turned to a massive setlist of over 200 songs. If that isn’t enough to work with, the 25 songs can also be played with the plastic instruments I keep bringing up on Rock Band 3. So Harmonix made sure to stick to their formula when it comes to making the Rock Band universe one whole.
As noted above, the game’s focus is on scoring high and earning stars and cred. What does that cred unlock? A feature that differentiates itself from previous arcade music games – power ups. Rock Band Blitz is very dependent on these power ups, making the difference between earning four stars and gold starring the song very clear. The power ups vary among three different categories. Players can select up to three power ups, ranging from double bass points and even the truck from the first Rock Band title scattering around the highway destroying notes. Select the right mix of Power Ups, and you might see yourself gold starring stars at a breeze. The game’s focus on power ups make for a unique twist to the already familiar formula.
Another important, classic Rock Band feature missing in Blitz is true multiplayer. This was, of course, lacking in Rock Band Unplugged as well. However, that isn’t to say the game is strictly single player based. Players can challenge others to score duels, which is as simple as it sounds – see who can score higher on a song. Sure, it sounds pretty basic, but there’s one important factor to take into consideration – power ups. I found score duels quite interesting purely for the fact that if, say I don’t win, I’m wondering what power ups the opposing player might have used to score higher on the song. It creates a different vibe rather than the usual “he/she hit more notes than I did.”
Graphically, Rock Band Blitz is simplistic, yet vibrant. The colors of the highway stand out, and the city atmosphere makes for a load to look at while you’re blasting notes away. You’ll find yourself traveling over a bridge, passing by several cop cars and the such. Seriously, if you clear a long set of notes, take a look around. Looks really nice. The menus are really simple as well. Start the game, and you’re thrown into one huge menu full of everything you need – your songs, suggestions, music store, etc. No cluttered feeling or anything of the such here, following suit after the “pick up and play” Rock Band 3.
The on game set list is a bit of a mixed bag. As noted, the game comes with 25 songs stock. While there are some classic rock tracks, the set list definitely has more of a pop vibe to it. However, the better aspect of Rock Band Blitz is that all of your DLC transfers over. So, if you don’t like any of the 25 on disc songs, you have plenty of other options available to you. Not a fan of Fun.’s ‘We Are Young?’ That’s cool, go swing on over to some rocking Green Day tracks. However, there are some nice choices in the game, such as Spoonman’s ‘Spoonman’ and Living Colour’s ‘Cult of Personality.’
Rock Band Blitz is composed of purely addictive, adrenaline inducing fun. At first, I had no idea what exactly I had to do to score high. Then I realized the game’s very dependent on the power ups, and from there on out, I couldn’t let go of the controller. The power ups not only create for an inventive new way to play, but also help build up the social aspect with score duels. The game’s lack of career is pretty disappointing and the on game set list isn’t too exciting, but the ability to transfer your DLC certainly gives a good reason to dust off all of those songs you purchased. Rock Band Blitz is a blast to play and is surely worth a purchase. My biggest gripe for this title would have to be that I couldn’t shake the feeling it belongs on the PlayStation Vita. However, Harmonix delivered in innovating the music game genre once again, crafting a game capable of holding us off until Rock Band 4.
- Addictive fun, familiar formula with an innovative twist
- Power ups are a welcome change and improves the only social aspect of the game
- Compatible with all recently released DLC, 25 on game tracks playable on Rock Band 3
- Vibrant colors and city like environment being passed at a fast pace looks surprisingly nice
- Menus are easy to navigate
- Lack of a true career mode
- On game set list is a mixed bag
- Feels like it should be a PlayStation Vita game