Rock Band Blitz Review
No plastic peripherals necessary in this new look music rhythm game
Though Rock Band Blitz is another Rock Band game from the series developers Harmonix, it is not Rock Band as we know it. It requires no plastic instruments, and there’s no option to use them. Having seemingly admitted the rather drastic demise of the music rhythm genre, Harmonix have wisely opted for a less ambitious XBLA and PSN release that requires nothing more than a single controller. It’s certainly a more concise package compared to Rock Band 3, but the core gameplay is enjoyable enough to call this new venture a success. However, although it can’t be denied Blitz is fun, how long the game will hold your attention is a separate issue.
The first thing that will strike veteran Rock Band players is the new layout. Instead of focusing all your efforts on one instrument, you are now in charge of all five - a shoulder button press switches you between drums, bass, guitar, vocals, and keyboard. While it can initially be overwhelming taking care of all aspects of the song, it helps that two alternating button presses is all it takes to keep in time with the music. A simple tap of A and the D-pad (or whichever control scheme you prefer) along to the beat gets you points and raises your multiplier. It’s surprising how effectively this works, and even though the instruments are boiled down to their most basic rhythms, this simple mechanic rarely gets boring.
Of course, there’s more to it than that. This is Rock Band, and points, multipliers and bonuses are everything. Rather than aiming for a perfect streak to hit the maximum multiplier, the main crux of your success depends on your ability to multitask each of the five instruments equally. If you manage to hit enough notes on each instrument, your multiplier level increases. Songs are divided into sections which give you the opportunity to raise the multiplier cap, but only as high as your lowest instrument. So if you focus all of your efforts on guitar and vocals, but leave drums down at the x1 multiplier, the multiplier cap won’t go up and your score won’t significantly progress.
Yes, at first, it’s as complicated to play as it is to explain, but it soon becomes second nature to balance your play. When you master the art of flicking between tracks and hitting the max multiplayer, just as you reach the next section, the satisfaction is immense. And still that’s not all. You earn coins with each song which you can spend on various bonuses to help boost your scores even more. These bonuses vary from doubling the points that a single instrument gives you, to shooting rockets at distant notes or even letting the computer take over when you’re a bit behind. In terms of getting the highest scores, using the best combination of these many bonuses is crucial, and you will fail to get a 5 star rating without some experimenting.