Rock Band Blitz preview

Rock Band Blitz is not only a great value for fans that have amassed a significant Rock Band library, it's a fun return to Harmonix's roots.

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While the Rock Band franchise has fallen out of the limelight, there's still plenty of reason to be excited by Harmonix's latest entry into the series, Rock Band Blitz. Blitz represents a significant departure for Rock Band. Not only is it a XBLA/PSN downloadable title, it also ditches instrument support altogether. The end result is a game that should appeal to Rock Band fans that continue to rock out and gamers that have dumped their plastic gear. What makes Rock Band Blitz such an attractive proposition is its compatibility with the Rock Band library of games. In addition to the 25 songs that will be included with the game at release, Blitz will work with any song you've downloaded to your console's hard drive. Across DLC, Rock Band Network, and disc imports, that's a library of more than 3500 songs that can be accessed. For anyone that's invested in the Rock Band ecosystem, this is a great opportunity to get new life out of old songs. While Blitz represents a great value for long-time fans of Rock Band, it wouldn't mean much if the game wasn't fun to play. Harmonix has been in the beat-matching game for a long time before Guitar Hero came along, and Blitz will be immediately familiar to anyone that's played their previous games: Frequency or Rock Band Unplugged, for example. As in Unplugged, Blitz gives you the ability to switch and play between every instrument in a song. You can stick to one instrument, but you'll be able to toggle between the various instruments by hitting the shoulder buttons on the controller. Whereas guitar tracks used to have players press one of four buttons, Blitz distills the experience into two--left and right--regardless of what instrument you're playing.

Rock Band Blitz's various control options

That might make Blitz seem much "easier" to play than previous Rock Band games, but a heavy emphasis on multipliers and power-ups makes Blitz a more competitive affair than previous games. As you play, you're constantly being compared to other players in your friends list. As in Trials HD, an on-screen indicator quickly informs if you're beating or trailing your peers at any given time. To earn a high score, the game encourages you to switch between the instruments as often as possible, without missing a note. Each phrase you complete flawlessly increases that individual instrument's multiplier, and passing a checkpoint will increase your total potential multiplier--assuming every instrument has reached a certain threshold. With players having to switch between guitar, bass, drums, vocals, and keyboard, there's a lot of information to process. Matters are made even more complicated thanks to power-ups. Before each song, you can select a power-up that has certain effects. The most visually appealing one is the pinball power-up. When activated, this launches a ball that bounces around the play field. You'll want to switch between the tracks to make sure you can bounce it back. While each bounce will earn more bonus points, you also don't want to risk breaking your multiplier by wildly chasing it. Trying to keep track of everything and use the pinball power-up is not unlike patting your head while rubbing your stomach while reciting the numbers of pi. (It's quite difficult!) Rock Band Blitz is not only great for fans that have amassed a significant Rock Band library, it's a fun return to Harmonix's roots. Blitz is no less fun than the Rock Band games that inspired it--but it sure is a lot more accessible.
Watch the Shacknews E3 2012 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. This preview is based on a hands-on demo shown at a pre-E3 event.

From The Chatty

  • reply
    June 1, 2012 8:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Rock Band Blitz preview.

    Rock Band Blitz is not only a great value for fans that have amassed a significant Rock Band library, it's a fun return to Harmonix's roots.

    • reply
      June 1, 2012 8:15 AM

      Why on earth would you dump the instruments that's the best part and the music? This will fail, not sure why they did this so odd?

      Huh does anyone think this is cool, why would you play this if you can play RB3,2 or 1 with the gear?

      Odd.

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        June 1, 2012 8:19 AM

        Before Harmonix made plastic-instrument games, they made Rhythm games, awesome Rhythm games. And for those of us old enough to remember them fondly, this is a fun departure. And playing with the controller is just one more way to enjoy a song. Like playing a different instrument than you usually do.

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        June 1, 2012 8:31 AM

        Frequency and Amplitude are fucking awesome, that's why! And being able to use my huge existing library of Rock Band tracks? Sign me up.

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          June 1, 2012 8:35 AM

          Yeah had no idea never played them or knew about them, I guess RB3 is perfect so what more could they really do to the game? I wanted RB4 from them personaly but then again they keep releasing songs so I guess there is no point.

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        June 1, 2012 10:02 AM

        If this was the direction that that RB series was going and never to return to plastic instruments, your arguments are valid.

        But they've said this is a side product. There will be an RB4 (not this year). So as a side product, they make it work with as much as you already have and keep the cost barrier low (no plastic instruments, downloadable title, incentive to bring 25 new tracks into the main series). It is, basically, genius. If you have any investiment in RB in terms of DLC, there's no reason not to get this.

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      June 1, 2012 8:53 AM

      I hate you for having played this.

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        June 1, 2012 10:03 AM

        Online while-playing score tracking ala Trials is going to be AWESOME.

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          June 1, 2012 10:07 AM

          dude, fucking CRACKER next week. and not even Low!

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      June 1, 2012 2:21 PM

      Amplitude!