Where do you take a series after three big retail releases and a whole slew of band/genre specific versions? It’s no secret that the music game genre has been on a recent decline in the past few years – even with the impressive Rock Band 3 in 2010. Those once – life of the party – plastic instruments are now packed away in closets gathering dust and spider webs. Rock Band Blitz may be the resurgence that the genre has been looking it. Changing up the formula; Harmonix is still delivering a rocking music game, even if it’s more suitable for solo play rather than the go to multiplayer game.
If you are reading this review, you probably own or have played one of the many different music games that have been released in the past five years. You will have a favorite instrument to use whether it be the guitar, drums or possible the keyboard – that was introduced in Rock Band 3. With Blitz you get the chance to play all of those instruments yourself with on-the-fly switching during the songs – except using the controller the entire time.
Controlling all of the different instrument tracks yourself, Blitz will literally force you to relearn everything that you think you know about music games – starting with how you control them. Yes, I am aware that Harmonix started out creating button based rhythm games long before Rock Band and there are other rhythm games that use a controller, but they are definitely not the standard for the genre nor as popular as the peripheral based ones.
The first thing you may notice about the downloadable Rock Band Blitz, is the unique way to control each instrument during a song by switching between them at any time. Unlike the previous Rock Band games, there is no story mode to play through, but instead Blitzfocuses on competing on high-score leaderboards – and this is a good thing. As you time your notes and switch between the different instrument tracks you will also be stringing together power-ups that will boost your score as high as it can go. Songs are littered with checkpoints allowing you to add to your score multiplier for each different track. If you are successful before a checkpoint you will be giving the chance to raise it even higher.
Now the whole premise may seem different at first, but after a few songs everything will start to flow smoothly and instinct will kick in. Instead of “failing” a song for missing notes, you simply lose the chance to add those points to your high-score. Switching to the instruments that still require a bump up in the score multiplier is essential, but the inclusion of different power-ups may tempt or distract you – especially when you get a “2x” multiplier or the power-up for the AI to continue to hit the notes for that track appear on screen.
The download for Blitz is broken down into 2 different downloads, one for the actual game and one for a track pack that includes 25 new songs. All of your current Rock Banddownloadable tracks are fully supported and ready for you to use in the game – expect those from Rock Band 3 and The Beatles: Rock Band. The Blitz songs can be imported intoRock Band 3 however, making Blitz the cheapest track-pack if you are looking for a bunch of new songs. With over 3,800 songs available for download, you and your friends have plenty of leaderboards to compete with each other.
I might go as far as to say that Rock Band Blitz is the best Rock Band game I have ever played. While I will miss the gatherings of friends; the addicting nature of getting high scores and bragging to your friends is just too much fun. This only works of course, if you have friends to compete against, as well as posting challenges with friends over Facebook.Note: Rock Band Blitz was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.