Harmonix has done it again and released yet another Rock Band title. However, unlike like the tradition Rock Band games, there is no need for instruments on this one. An entire Rock band experience requiring no special controllers much like Rock Band Unplugged. Pulling from their roots of FreQuency and Amplitude, Harmonix dreamed of delivering a Rock Band console experience like none other, and they succeeded.
By using only a controller, Harmonix was able to morph the classic game play of Rock Band into something totally different. Instead of up to 6 different notes on each instrumental track, each one only has two different buttons to press. However, you’re focus is not on just one track, you have to pay attention to all 4 (or 5 if there is a keyboard on the song) tracks. You have to make sure that you keep all of the tracks’ multiplier balanced. If you keep all of the tracks’ multipliers up, whenever you hit a checkpoint in a song the “level cap” will increase so you can increase the multipliers even more. Trying to keep all of the tracks’ multipliers up, if not maxed out, becomes very hectic on fast songs. If you are able to keep your chain of notes going though, you will enter Blitz mode which is almost like Hyperspeed and you will begin to fly very quickly down the streets, its as fun as it is horrifying.
To push you to try even harder on songs, you can also challenge friends to different Score Battles to see who can do better on a song. Score Battles last for a few days and the current leader can shift as many times as you and your opponent play the song. Score Battle rewards both players in them, giving both sides bonus coins and Blitz cred although it does give the winner bragging rights as well.
Somewhat new to Rock Band in Blitz are Power-Ups. There are three different kinds of Power-Ups that each cost coins to use per song, coins are gained y playing songs so its not a problem to rack them up. The first power up is one that uses your overdrive/energy meter and can range from working like Overdrive does by doubling your multipliers, having a bandmate come in to play a track while you play a different one to even having a car drive drunkenly across the tracks, taking out notes that it hits. The second type of power puts special notes on the tracks that can blow up notes around it, set fire to certain notes for you to chase and even have you playing keeping a Pinball in play by bouncing it off of your note bar at the bottom of the screen and more. Lastly, there are power-ups that last for the entire length of the song and increase the amount of points you get for different instruments.
The design of the backgrounds in Rock Band Blitz is great. As opposed to performing on a stage, in Blitz you are racing down the streets of a city. Building pulsate with the beat of the music and you see cars drive near the track as well. It all ends with a giant theater looking building in front of you that just says Finish in huge letters. For the speedy feel of the game, it was a very good choice to go with.
They games presentation is great as well. The menu allows you to seamlessly switch between Recommended songs, the Music Store, any messages you may have from Score Battles and your tracks with just the press of a button. Admittedly, the menus confused me at first since it was not at all what I was used to from past Rock Band games but it was a very quick adjustment to get used to it. Also, with the new Facebook integration with Rock Band World you can even shop via your computer then just pull up the Music Store tab and click on “Shopping Cart” to purchase and download all of your songs right there instead of searching through the Store.
The selection of music that comes with the game is very good. You get a great mix between current and past hits, including some very recent hit songs like “We Are Young” by Fun and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson and hits of the past like “Death on Two Legs (Dedicated To…)” by Queen. All in all, you get 25 new songs with Rock Band Blitz that can be brought over to Rock Band 3 to be played with full instrumentation. Along with the fairly good size setlist of Blitz, you can play all of your DLC from the Music Store and Rock Band 1 and 2 and any songs from Rock Band Network.
Rock Band Blitz gives you a completely different game play style while maintaining the feel of Rock Band. Harmonix really made something special with this game by allowing those who have wanted to play a Rock Band game but just don’t have the money for all of the instruments the chance. Is Rock Band Blitz an end all replacement for the traditional Rock Band games? No but it sure is fun and addicting. The only real complaint I have with the game is that there is no difficulty control for those who are not able to keep up with the speed of some songs. While the songs included with the game more than justify the $15 price point, the game play itself is able to justify it as well. If you are a fan of music titles, do your self a favor and grab Rock Band Blitz.
- Fun and addicting new gameplay
- Great setlist
- Blitz songs are usable on Rock Band 3 and all DLC work with Blitz.
- No difficulty control
Alfred Trujillo: Rock Band Blitz is a great music game that doesn’t require expert knowledge of plastic instruments or previous versions. The song selection is good but a few of the songs are from Rock Band 2 instead of including new songs for the hardcore rhythm players. Powerups in this game separate it from Rock Band Unplugged and include ways to increase overdrive, score, blow up notes, or setting the instrument highway on fire. This game makes every song fun because it forces interactivity, using all instrument highways offers a complete experience.