DISCLAIMER: Here at Continue Play, we try to watch bad language; words that upset people. However, in this article there was no getting away from constant use of the ‘F’ word. We know that some gamers find this word offensive and we also know there’s a lot of developers who try to avoid this word at all costs, which is why we will be using asterisks to cover up the ‘F’ word. The main issue we had was that when it comes to Rock Band: Blitz, there’s only one word that can be used, the ‘F’ word. Rock Band: Blitz is fun!
Harmonix are innovators plain and simple. They’re the guys who introduced us to playing guitar as a sea of colors assault the TV screen. They’re also the guys who brought us band-mayhem. They gave us the ability to play drums and sing to our favorite tracks. And above all else, they’re the guys who are still passionate about the music game genre and prove to us that it’s not quite as dead as we previously thought.
The goal for Rock Band: Blitz is simple. To bring f** back to music video games.
Blitz brings an all-new approach to the tried and tested formula by ditching music peripherals entirely. Instead of picking an instrument, you control the entire band via the controller. You sing, you play drums, bass, lead, and even keyboard; all at once, all on one controller. It’s frantic, it’s really frantic, and most importantly, it’s f**.
The music track that emits the colored notes, has had a huge makeover. Instead of a floating track with your band lip-syncing along in the background, the notes are driving down a music-highway. This may sound like a superficial change that isn’t needed, but in fact, it really helps cement Blitz as its own game and not as another iteration into the Rock Band series.
The speed that the notes fly at is blinding. There’s been a few times I’ve been rocking out to The Living Colour’s Cult of Personality, that I’ve been crashed into by motion sickness. Normally, something like a game making you feel sick would be seen as a negative, but in this chaotic mayhem, it adds to the setting. Loud, fast music combined with motion sickness combined with visceral gameplay, equals f**! It’s not your normal definition of f**, but it’s f** nonetheless.
During the blitz of colors (pun intended, sorry), a pull of the each trigger jumps between instruments. Meaning you could be moving the thumbsticks in time with the main rift on lead guitar, and suddenly you realise you’re neglecting drums. With a few pulls of the left-trigger, you jump from plectrum to drumsticks. Blitz is all about scoring big. The higher your multiplier, the higher your score. Here’s where skill comes in to play. To max out your multiplier, you’ll need to have the entire band playing in unison. This, like everything, adds to the addictive fast paced – f** – nature of Blitz.
Along with building up your score multiplier, there’s also unlockable perks that can add to your overall score. Once a song reaches its climax, the player earns coins and experience points. Experience points increase player rank, which in turn unlocks new perks for purchase with your hard earned coins. Perks range from abilities to play sections of a song, to exploding notes, to extra points for staying on fire. The premise here is that you play a song, master the song, then buy your favorite perks to achieve a Godly high score.
The issue I have with this is that I don’t enjoy playing the same song repeatedly to master it to avoid wasting my coins when I enable perks. This whole perk process would have been so much better if once we purchased a perk, they stayed on constantly, allowing users to find their own setup and trade ideas online. As it stands, having to buy them for each song can become annoying. Without perks, your score isn’t anywhere near what it could be had perks had been enabled.
Next up we have the track list. For reviewers this is the section that always proves the most troublesome. What makes a good track list is all down to personal music tastes. For me, it’s great and easily the most diverse Rock Band track list to date. Artists range from Elton John, Maroon 5, Pink, Foo Fighters, Tears for Fears, all the way to Kelly (no relation to Jeremy) Clarkson. There’s a small focus on catchy pop songs. A focus that I’m very much in favour of.
There’s a total of 25 songs in Blitz, 23 new to the series, and two from Rock Band 2 that couldn’t be exported into Rock Band 3. This, presumably, is Harmonix’s way of getting these two songs (Give it Away and Spoonman) to us. All of the 25 songs are fully exportable into Rock Band 3 at no extra cost.
This is one of the many reasons as to why I’m raving so fondly about Blitz. On Xbox, Blitz costs 1200 Microsoft Points (around £10). A song on the Rock Band Marketplace costs around 160 MSP. You don’t need to be a mathe-magician to know that this is incredible value. Even if you don’t like the game and only use it for few extra achievements, you’ve just gained 25 new songs to play in Rock Band 3. Hell, it’d be easy to recommend it purely just to boost you song library.
Rock Band: Blitz shows how dedicated and still full of inspiration Harmonix is. When others have thrown in the towel, Harmonix are still here, and they’re still making great games music games. Blitz is new, it’s exciting, and it’s f**. F**, followed by f**, followed by more f**.
1200 MSP to play Rock Band with its latest instrument, the control pad.
1200 MSP to boost your song library by 25 songs.
Either way you look at it, Blitz is a steal and a must-have for anyone who’s a fan of the gaming music scene.
Here’s to the new future of music games. Here’s to future where Harmonix continues to reinvent and evolve … and hopefully include some Care Bears on Fire.