For the past few years, Harmonix has been pumping out all kinds of content for its Rock Band games. Ever since the initial game’s launch four years ago, a number of artists have had their work featured in the interactive game, leading to thousands of jam sessions and various game releases, including ones specifically devoted to Green Day and AC/DC. But for its next outing, Harmonix decided to take a step into the past, hunkering back to its old days of Frequency and Amplitude on the PlayStation 2. Get ready for Rock Band Blitz, the newest in the franchise and a game we had a chance to play with on the show floor at PAX East.
The game features a similar set-up to the Rock Band games, but instead of playing with plastic instruments, you use your controller. Your job is to switch between four music tracks, ones set aside for vocals, lead guitar, bass/rhythm guitar and drums. You hit certain beats on each track in order to keep the rhythm going, then switch to the next one to keep the score on the rise. There’s no way to fail in the game, so you get to learn as you go along, eventually getting better at it and mastering “Blitz” multiplayer opportunities.
Rock Band Blitz is very different from other games. It doesn’t offer online multiplayer, but instead supports online leaderboards, so you can still compete with others and see how they fare compared to your run.
The visuals look very cool, reminiscent of Amplitude and Frequency. You run on a track with a city passing by on both sides of you, but keep a clear view of the notes coming down on your track, so you can hitting buttons accordingly and prepare for what’s around the bend. Keep an eye open, though, as the track can easily speed up in Blitz mode, forcing you to react much more quickly.
As for songs, Rock Band Blitz comes with 25 tracks, which can also be turned around and played in the previous Rock Band games. These include tracks by Blink 182, Great White and others. And if you’re looking for extended replay value past that, the game fully supports all downloaded Rock Band tracks, including regular DLC packs, exported songs and more. So if you feel like grooving to Rick Astley, have at it. (The only negative is that you can’t import songs from Rock Band 3, since they’re on the disc.)
It’s great to see Harmonix with a project that combines their biggest franchise with some of their previous efforts, as it definitely channels the spirit of their earlier releases. Rock Band Blitz is sure to be a big hit at your next party, even if it’s just you hanging out in your apartment. The show floor definitely had a bunch of people rocking out to the game, and if you've ever played Frequency or Amplitude, you know exactly what to expect. Look forward to this one on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network this summer.