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Rock Band Blitz Review
It is easy to sum up this game: a great Rock Band experience without the Rock Band experience.
Rock Band Blitz brings a lot to the table. It’s a different way to play all your Rock Band songs in a fun, fast, and exciting way. Just keep in mind though, this is not a Rock Band experience. The notes, colors, and note track might look the same but this isn’t the same game with different controls. Blitz carries itself solely on its fun as there is barely any substance after that. No story/career mode. No multiplayer. No instruments. Well, that last one is the whole point of Blitz and it works well but for some players this just isn’t going to reach them.
Rock Band, and therefore even Guitar Hero, is great for those who casually game but enjoy music. I have a friend that whenever we feel like pulling out the instruments and playing some RB songs, he is always the singer. He isn’t quick with controls. It takes some time for him to react and even then he rarely counters with the right reaction. So something like Rock Band Blitz would honestly be beyond him yet fun to watch. It’s going to be this group of Rock Band players that misses out on what Blitz adds to the songs we all play. I’m sure it was a risk that Harmonix knew going on, though.
You’ll find a prompt to download a soundtrack for Blitz once you start it and believe me, get it over with now. If you don’t download the Blitz Soundtrack, you get three songs to play over and over again until you wait for the pack to finish. The songs for Blitz are fun and varied and makes the download wait easy to swallow. It took long enough for Jungle Boogie to make its way over to Rock Band. Also, it is worth noting that if you head to the music store you’ll see that you are able to re-download or download nearly every single released Rock Band DLC songs to play on Blitz.
The gameplay is very simple and everyone who has taken up my controller to try it got everything down within the first song. It may be easy to play but it is difficult to master. There are no difficulties in Blitz as the game wants you to focus on maintaining a healthy Blitz mode during the songs and setting up a nice trio of power-ups. You have pick up to three power-ups as long as you have coins. Coins are earned by playing songs without power-ups or doing so good that the reward outsets the cost. The joy about these power-ups comes with the abilities for hardcore players to mix up and find the best sets and for other players to just pick what makes the game extra fun. You don’t have to play with power-ups but it is recommended if you are shooting for anything over 3 stars on a song.
Power-ups aren’t the only thing you need to master, though. You’ll have to learn just when to switch note tracks to another instrument while not interrupting the flow of any tracks you may pass over while switching. If you play a series of notes correctly, you’ll enter Blitz mode which seems faster but honestly, the notes remain the same distance away from each other and once you get a few Blitz modes you’ll think nothing has changed. It is with the Blitz mode that this game really challenges you. To get a 5-star rating on a song you either have to play so good with multipliers and power-ups or really test yourself with an on-going and healthy Blitz mode. Blitz is a great way to get your multipliers up in order to take full advantage of the checkpoint leveling system.
That last bit may have confused you. As you play your songs you’ll see on the left hand side a meter giving you multiplier numbers for each instrument. Every instruments begins at 1x but the sky is the limit depending on how good you get. At random intervals throughout songs, you’ll run into checkpoints which evaluate your playing across all instruments and then gives you more multiplier chances. You have to keep building up each instrument to increase the available washer and dyer here.
It sounds complex in theory but in action it is simple and fun.
And while simple and fun is a great two terms to have associated with your product, a third word I would add is lacking.
Rock Band Blitz has a lot to bring, as I said. However, it only goes so far because you begin to feel the exclusion of a career mode or multiplayer as a bad thing. You can only Blitz so much before you want more and right now the only “more” is DLC from the Rock Band Store. You’ll have to be content with the fun of switching tracks and setting up power-ups. You also need to be quick with a controller or have quick reactions.
Blitz might be niche and lacking in some major aspects but the game does one thing that is very important to me: it makes me want to turn on my system and play it.