Before I even start this review I want to say that anyone with any vested interest in Rock Band and anyone that has a large amount of Rock Band downloaded content needs to buy this game, regardless of how good it may be. The value proposition of $15.00 for 25 tracks alone is worth it. Typically tracks for Rock Band are $2.00 apiece. That would mean that these 25 tracks bought individually in the store would cost $50.00 (not to mention the fact that these songs aren’t available in the store). Rock Band Blitz could be complete garbage and it would still be worth the money you are paying for it. Now, as for the game itself, it’s pretty boss if you ask me.
Rock Band Blitz is the latest from Harmonix Music Systems and the most recent Rock Band release. Its an Xbox Live Arcade/Playstation Network game, so you won’t be finding it on store shelves. Anyone that played Frequency or Amplitude, Harmonix’s games, prior to Guitar Hero are familiar with the gameplay. Additionally, it’s very similar to the way you play Rock Band Unplugged, in that the whole game is controlled with a controller, not the large instruments that people have grown accustomed to using with Rock Band games.
Also like Frequency, Amplitude and Rock Band Unplugged the songs are played by switching between all of its different instrument tracks including vocals, bass, guitar, drums, and the newly introduced keyboard (I say newly introduced, but it’s been around for like two years now). Blitz differs from Rock Band games in that the goal isn’t to hit every note, it’s to increase your multiplier. Each instrument has a running multiplier on the left side of the screen and the more notes you hit on each instrument increases that instrument’s multiplier. If you’re able to increase the multiplier of each instrument evenly, your ability to get higher multipliers increases. So, if you’re able to get all five of the instruments to a multiplier of four, when a checkpoint is passed, you’ll be granted the ability to earn a multiplier of seven. If the player doesn’t successfully get all five of the instruments up to four, the multiplier maximum only increases by the number of multipliers successfully passed. I’m sure that sounds confusing but once it’s onscreen everything makes sense, I promise. In short, playing just one instrument isn’t an option, you have to play them all.
The player bounces between the tracks using the shoulder buttons and presses either A or the down D-pad button to hit the notes. The analog sticks can be used too, but they don’t seem to be as responsive. During play, the player is given several different options for power-ups, and ways to increase their score. Much like a traditional arcade game, the score matters a lot, but one of the main goals is still to earn 5 stars on every song. Also, the game is very good about comparing your performance to other player’s scores on the service. There’s an ever-present social aspect to the game that constantly pushes the player to improve their score. Blitz even connects with the Rock Band Facebook app for further social integration.
As I said, the game is $15.00 and comes with 25 songs. Those 25 songs are fully compatible with Rock Band 3. In addition to that, Blitz is compatible with all previous Rock Band downloadable songs including ones exported from Rock Band, Rock Band 2, Green Day Rock Band, Lego Rock Band and any track packs you may own. Blitz successfully turns your Rock Band collection into somewhat of a toy or arcade game. It really complements Rock Band 3, and properly leverages the strengths of its existing content.
It’s flashy, almost circus-like, attitude is unlike anything that has been in a Rock Band game before. It’s very light-hearted and clearly isn’t taking itself that seriously. Having to juggle the different tracks makes the game much more fast-paced than traditional rhythm games and can actually get kind of hectic. Surprisingly, The gameplay really helps you appreciate all of the different pieces of a rock song.
When I play Rock Band, I typically play alot of guitar, I’m pretty good at the drums and for any songs I think I can sing I will grab a microphone. Unfortunately, I rarely ever openly choose to play bass or keyboard. Since Rock Band Blitz forces you to play all parts, you learn quickly that some songs have much more intricate or significant bass parts than you originally realized. Hell, there were some songs I did not even know had keyboard parts until playing them on Rock Band Blitz.
Unfortunately there’s not much to the game itself. It doesn’t have many options, its only single player, and there’s only one difficulty setting. The interface takes some time to get used to, a lot like a Rock Band 3’s is interface did, but any complaints that can be levied against Rock Band Blitz are completely erased by its value proposition. The game is basically free, in fact the game almost pays you to play it. Think of it as an interactive coupon.
Anyone not invested in the Rock Band platform may not get as much out of it as a Rock Band veteran but then again Blitz is only $15.00. If there’s somehow still someone in this world who has not decided whether they like the Rock Band formula, Blitz may be a strange but satisfying way to dip in your toe. Most people already know if they want a buy Rock Band Blitz, reading this review just confirms what they already know. Here’s the tracklist
Avenged Sevenfold – “So Far Away”
Barenaked Ladies – “One Week”
Blink‐182 – “One Week”
Collective Soul – “Shine”
Elton John – “I’m Still Standing”
Fall Out Boy – “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More Touch Me”
Foo Fighters – “These Days”
Foster the People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe – “We Are Young”
Great White – “Once Bitten Twice Shy”
Iron Maiden – “The Wicker Man”
Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger(What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Kool & The Gang – “Jungle Boogie”
Living Colour – “Cult of Personality”
Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera – “Moves Like Jagger”
My Chemical Romance – “Sing”
P!nk – “Raise Your Glass”
Queen – “Death on Two Legs”
Quiet Riot – “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Give It Away”
Rick Springfield – “Jessie’s Girl”
Shinedown – “Diamond Eyes (Boom‐Lay, Boom‐Lay Boom)”
Soundgarden – “Spoonman”
Tears For Fears – “Shout”
The All-American Rejects – “Kids In The Street”
Verdict: Rock Band Blitz: A good idea, fully realized into a good product!