Rock Band Blitz

9.6 Overall Score
Fun: 10/10
Replayability: 9/10
Controls: 10/10

Addictive I Fun I Great songs

Social networking could be explained better in-game.

Written by on August 27, 2012 in [, , , , , ]

It’s been far too long since I have been able to play Rock Band with my favorite instrument; the drums. My reason for this is that when I try to play, my two year old daughter also wants to play. While she looks cute trying, she really doesn’t understand how drumming works. So the first thing that I did when I heard about Rock Band Blitz, was rejoice that there would be a Rock Band that I could potentially play without interruption.

While the visuals will recall past beat match games like Frequency and Amplitude, when you actually start playing the Rock Band Blitz it is unmistakably Rock Band. Harmonix’s downloadable title brings in two rather incredible things to the Rock Band franchise; strategy and social networking.

The gameplay is deceptively simple.  The normal note highways from Rock Band are on screen all at once which you can navigate using the triggers on the game pad.  Once you choose your note highway, you will have two notes that could possibly be required, the left note being played using the down stick or button and the right note to be played using the “A” button in the default control configuration.  If this style of play does not suit your fingers, Harmonix included several other control options for those who would rather play with all face buttons, shoulder buttons, or even “Freakish” people who must be ambidextrous.   Players are then tasked to make the best score possible by using energy gained by playing glowing notes to enable different powerups that you can use to drive your score even higher.

It all sounds rather simple.  Well, until you play through a song and find that all of your friends are better than you are somehow.

If you take on a song and just play through it without planning your attack, you will be hopelessly outclassed in the leaderboards.  You have to know the song that you are playing enough to know the timing to switch between parts based on complexity and possible scoring benefits.  You have to weigh the risk/reward for trying the complex sections and floundering or going with the easy parts.  You have to decide if the energy gained in the next lane is worth losing your streak and breaking your “Blitz” bonus score.  Should you build your multiplier by keeping up all of the lanes or is it best to just focus on the parts that have more notes?

Many of those decisions have to be made on the fly while the song plays out, but before you even try you must decide what power up or combination of power ups would work best for the song you have.

There are a multitude of power ups, the most powerful of which are unlocked through play.  Some power ups can be used for a bonus on a specific lane, others were based on playing specific notes with various consequences like detonation of surrounding notes or a fire that would spread.  My favorite power ups were the deployable ones like Band Mate, which plays a lane for you while you focus on others and the powerful Road Rage, which unleashes a wild car into the note highway so to clear more notes for a higher score.  Those are but a sampling of the different power ups available, with dozens of different combinations available to you.

Another opportunity to put your own strategy in place comes when choosing these combinations since you must purchase these power ups at the start of each song with coins.  When you play through each song, you will be awarded coins for your performance with boosts to your purse for trying new songs and performing in challenges using the Rock Band World app on Facebook.

This brings me to the social networking.

In Rock Band World, you can challenge your friends in a “Score War” to gain coins, but more importantly those power up coins are awarded to the winner.  You will also see “Goals” that Harmonix has set for the community and to challenge you individually, like playing a “Metal” song or getting a certain number of stars for example.  Each goal includes a number of coins you get for completing them based on the difficulty. Some goals even allows you to team up with a determind number of your Facebook friends.  These options all promise to keep the game fresh as does the literal thousands of songs available on the platform.

Furthering my desire to play and replay the game is my need to beat all of my friends on the Leaderboards for each song.  There is nothing more satisfying then playing through a song to see that you rank in the top ten of those who played it and your buddy is number one hundred and ten.  The reverse of this is true as well and it only serves as incentive to rethink your strategy and dive in again.  Some of the Harmonix staff is even on the boards and being better than someone who had made the game is incredibly satisfying.  I assume it is satisfying anyway because that has never happened to me.

Don’t worry if you don’t have that much Rock Band DLC on your hard drive since the setlist of 25 songs are varied and a blast to play. However, if you have previous songs downloaded from Rock Band,Rock Band 2, Green Day: Rock Band, AC/DC, a retail track pack, or DLC, most of them are playable in Rock Band Blitz.

Rock Band Blitz is fun, challenging, competitive, and encourages replay. This is a fantastic game, in fact I might even like it more than Rock Band 3 which is one of my favorites of all time. I think gamers who aren’t fans of the rhythm game genre will get quite a kick out of it as well.

A copy of Rock Band Blitz was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Wallace Phelps View all posts by

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