Impressions from playing at PAX

onix12345onix12345 Unsigned
edited April 2012 in Rock Band Blitz
Just thought I'd post my impressions, as a Frequency/Amplitude player who got to play quite a bit of Blitz at PAX this weekend.

The gameplay is excellent. I was skeptical that the 2-lane track format would provide a challenge, but it's actually just as fun, if not more so, than the previous Freq/RBU games. The "track unlock" gameplay is completely replaced with the "track leveling" gameplay, which is probably the most significant change for any HMX game in a while -- missing a single note is not nearly as disastrous for your score as in any previous Freq or GH/RB game, and it seems like there's some interesting strategy in choosing whether to level tracks versus playing a track with more notes. It also removes the need to do split-second track movements like in Freq/Amp, which I think makes it considerably more fun.

The control options are pretty good. I mostly used the strangely-named "Freakish" setting, where you move with a stick/dpad, and hit notes with the shoulder bumpers/triggers. This makes it easy to hit quick double notes on either lane, by using both a trigger and bumper. I do think it would be nice if the final game had completely customizable controls, like Freq/Amp had.

Four little things that annoyed me, posed as questions both to other people who played (to see who else noticed them) and to HMX people (if any info can be given about them):
[LIST=1]
[*]Occasionally, the twisty note track will go over a hill in the road. This makes it very hard to read upcoming notes for a few seconds.
[*]When I had to move way across the board, like from drums (far left) to keys (far right), the display kind of choked up a bit, like it lagged for a second because I switched tracks too fast.
[*]Perhaps this is an option that I missed or that will be added in the final game, but I didn't see an option to wrap around the tracks (i.e. pressing "move left" when on drums to wrap around to keys).
[*]During an instrument solo, since the non-solo tracks don't have any notes, I think it makes sense to just auto-move to the track that has the solo. But, perhaps this could be an issue when two instruments have simultaneous solos. Anyway, just a minor thing.
[/LIST]

Comments

  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited April 2012
    M_Robbins5;4700832 said:
    Child In Time too.
    How could I forget that one?
  • TedroxTedrox Unsigned
    edited April 2012
    Tuesday's Gone has a guitar and keys solo at the same time too.
  • MileycyrussouljaMileycyrussoulja Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    Lowlander2;4700821 said:
    Don't quote me, but I think Spinning Wheel has this too.

    Queens of the Stone Age - "No One Knows"
    Blood, Sweat, & Tears - "Spinning Wheel"
    The Clash - "Death or Glory"
    Deep Purple - "Child in Time"
    The Doors - "Riders on the Storm"
    Janis Joplin - "Me and Bobby McGee"
    Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Tuesday's Gone"
    Queen - "One Vision"
    Santana - "Black Magic Woman"

    Those are the only ones that are non-RBN that have instrument solo duets.
  • edited April 2012
    I too got some quality time with the Blitz demo, and have posted some thoughts below. The demo was very polished and aside from a crash bug looked like it could have been a retail release game already.

    General Comments:

    As I tweeted during PAX, Blitz is really going to breathe new life into old RB songs. The demo station had Living on a Prayer, a song I was intimately familiar with from the RB2 disc. Getting to try it under a new style/ruleset really provoked a new interest even though I was relatively tired of hearing it in RB3.

    Control wise, I tried 2 different controller layouts... they were both intuitive enough that I could adapt within the span of a song. The only minor annoyance was fast switching across multiple lanes, jumping from the far left to the far right, as I did not see any immediate way to accomplish this. It would be nice if the bumper buttons jumped 1 lane L/R, and the triggers 2 lanes L/R, or something similar to help this.

    Two lanes of beatmatching was not as detrimental as I had thought... the note density keeps you engaged for the whole song. Difficulty wise, the hardest song I played was The Trooper, which kicked my ass pretty well, but was passable. Can't comment on the powerups since many were locked, but the ones that were available were fun. (the pinball one, especially)

    Art/GUI was very much in the style of RB3. It works, its nice to look at, and looks very polished for just a demonstration version.

    The cross-game interoperability is very attractive. At the very very worse, even if you don't like Blitz, (which is hard to believe) it will be a nicely rounded 20 song DLC package for the regular RB3 game.

    Other observations: Songs that have non-traditional note charting could be really fun/interesting (Freezepop for example, or the rare Footloose and Fancy Free RBN release, if you own it)

    Areas for Improvement:

    Having played a few games at pax I agree with OP's criticism #1 regarding playfield legibility in a few areas. The uphill example was a big one. The blur/fastfoward effect powerup was equally disorienting. Also I found dense notefields like Raining Blood's guitar solo to be disorienting. I feel like the cries for a hyperspeed mode are going to be pronounced, as they were in the RB1 era.

    Regarding track switching, I was surprised that drums were on the far left. I felt that bass, drums and guitar should have been the middle 3 tracks, since they have the highest note density, with the vocals/keys on the far wings due to their lesser density. The middle 3 are going to get the most attention/play so they should be the 3 most prominent, in my opinion.

    Played about 6-8 songs over my demo experience, let me know if you have any questions.
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited April 2012
    onix12345;4700743 said:
    The control options are pretty good. I mostly used the strangely-named "Freakish" setting
    Strangely named? Really? :-)
    onix12345;4700743 said:
    [*]Occasionally, the twisty note track will go over a hill in the road. This makes it very hard to read upcoming notes for a few seconds.
    Very interesting. This isn't something that has come up in our playtesting. I suspect that you get used to the curvature and can anticipate after playing for a while.
    onix12345;4700743 said:
    [*]When I had to move way across the board, like from drums (far left) to keys (far right), the display kind of choked up a bit, like it lagged for a second because I switched tracks too fast.
    That must have been a glitch. We haven't fully optimized the game yet, but obviously we don't want anything like that in a shipping build!
    onix12345;4700743 said:
    [*]Perhaps this is an option that I missed or that will be added in the final game, but I didn't see an option to wrap around the tracks (i.e. pressing "move left" when on drums to wrap around to keys).
    As has already been stated in the thread, I don't think we are going to ship with Track Wrap.
    onix12345;4700743 said:
    [*]During an instrument solo, since the non-solo tracks don't have any notes, I think it makes sense to just auto-move to the track that has the solo. But, perhaps this could be an issue when two instruments have simultaneous solos. Anyway, just a minor thing.
    [/LIST]
    How we treat solos is a hot topic right now, this behavior may not be the final one that ships. Stay tuned!
    Apples;4701121 said:
    The blur/fastfoward effect powerup was equally disorienting.
    I think you'll find after a couple songs you get used to the effect, and it won't trip you up at all.

    Thanks for the feedback guys. I heard from a number of people that the game was harder/more strategic/more engaging than they expected, which makes me very happy. Just judging it on the two lane gems doesn't really give it a fair chance.

    Fortunately we will have a free trial of the game so people can try it out before they purchase.
  • WitticusWitticus VERY DEEP
    edited April 2012
    HMXMister_Game;4701181 said:
    Fortunately we will have a free trial of the game so people can try it out before they purchase.

    Great commentary Mister and I'm looking forward to the demo version!
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    HMXMister_Game;4701181 said:
    Strangely named? Really? :-)

    Perhaps "Freqish" would be a little more obvious (assuming that's what you were going for)? :P That was really the more natural of the control schemes, IMO. Sticks make sense for moving, buttons make sense for triggering.

    My one random complaint, the tier display needs better contrast. I was like, "no way is Band on the Run tier 5 on everything!" because I couldn't really see the yellowness in the dots.
  • onix12345onix12345 Unsigned
    edited April 2012
    HMXMister_Game;4701181 said:
    Strangely named? Really? :-)

    Yeah, I'm gonna try to save some face and file that under "PAX is exhausting and also I'm posting at 1am" :P
  • MagnetMagnet Moderator
    edited April 2012
    bclare;4700819 said:
    - At the HMX panel on Saturday about RBB, someone asked about wrapping around. The answer was that that option was coded, but is not slated for inclusion in the game at this point. I hope they decide to put it back in though.
    That strikes me as odd. It wasn't the end of the world to not have that feature in Frequency/Amplitude, but I do find it strange that it would be introduced in Unplugged and then removed again for another track switching game. Unless the feature is introducing technical issues with the game, I can't say I agree with removing a feature to make track movement more convenient. I guess one concern might be that players who know about it could have an unfair advantage? But if the game has loading screens like the demo seemed to have, then all players could eventually be informed about track wrapping that way.
    Apples;4701121 said:
    Having played a few games at pax I agree with OP's criticism #1 regarding playfield legibility in a few areas. The uphill example was a big one. The blur/fastfoward effect powerup was equally disorienting.
    There was some similar uphill stuff in Amplitude, and I didn't find that it was difficult to make out the notes or that it negatively affected my playing in that game. There was less of the tracks that could be seen at once in those areas, but I kinda liked that it added to the challenge slightly by spicing things up a bit.

    The only thing that I'm seriously concerned about is the effect where "Blitz" is at the top of the screen, it zooms in, and the gameplay gets blurry. I have a lot of trouble seeing the notes in that mode with busier areas (especially on the yellow track). They just blend right into the background too much for me, and it seems like it's something that could essentially cripple my ability to play the game competitively.

    I don't know if the problem stems from me being partially color blind, but without some kind of clear contrast between note color and track color, I can't really pick out what's going on in busy areas. Really hoping this gets tweaked before release. Being able to see the notes is sort of a priority in this kind of game.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited April 2012
    Does the vocals track read off of the solo vocal line, or off the Harmonies where they exist? It could make playing between legacy versions and RB3 versions slightly more interesting...
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited April 2012
    LoopyChew;4701822 said:
    Does the vocals track read off of the solo vocal line, or off the Harmonies where they exist? It could make playing between legacy versions and RB3 versions slightly more interesting...

    The solo vocal line.
  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited April 2012
    How do Big Rock Endings work in the game?
  • NumskullNumskull Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    Not a matter of any great urgency, but I'll ask anyway: Will there be a song rating system as in RB3? Even if there's no "random song" feature (although it's kind of hard to imagine there won't be), it would still be a good utility for people with huge song libraries. I can't always remember how much or how little I like every song I have.
  • Cipher_PeonCipher_Peon I don't get it at all
    edited April 2012
    I always thought one of RB3's best features was the lighter options. My music taste exploded because I could finally remember what songs I liked and play them again.
  • CharlieSheenCharlieSheen Opening Act
    edited April 2012
    This was asked at the panel. They said all BREs have Expert charts for the sake of animations so they just read those. Only got a chance to play the game once. I played Walk by Foo Fighters. The game is incredibly fun and, if it's available to preorder a DL code at any point, I will fully pay it off the second I can.
  • edited April 2012
    Lowlander2;4701881 said:
    How do Big Rock Endings work in the game?

    We actually author that part of the song on expert anyway when they go through the regular song authoring process, as we need it for animations and such. So, we just take that authoring and "Blitzify" it.
  • samjjonessamjjones Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    Just one question:

    Does this game have lasers?
  • edited April 2012
    Numskull;4701887 said:
    Not a matter of any great urgency, but I'll ask anyway: Will there be a song rating system as in RB3? Even if there's no "random song" feature (although it's kind of hard to imagine there won't be), it would still be a good utility for people with huge song libraries. I can't always remember how much or how little I like every song I have.

    One of the cool features of Rock Band Blitz is the "Recommended" feed. This screen greets you every time you load up the game, and is a fresh feed of recommended songs each time you start it up. This will suggest challenges for you to send to a friend, show you songs that are new to the Music Store, taunt you with songs your friends are beating you on, etc. One of the cool things it'll also do is prompt you to play songs you haven't posted any scores on. In effect, the game knows which songs you own that you might have forgotten you own!

    Also, Random Song is currently an option in the game's song list as well.
  • TkDiamonDTkDiamonD Rising Star
    edited April 2012
    HMXPope;4701915 said:
    We actually author that part of the song on expert anyway when they go through the regular song authoring process, as we need it for animations and such. So, we just take that authoring and "Blitzify" it.

    Wow, really? Would have been cool to have an option to turn off BRE's in RB3 to see (and likely get whooped by) what lies underneath, something like the clear overdrive activation lane
  • PankrazzoPankrazzo Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    TkDiamonD;4701953 said:
    Wow, really? Would have been cool to have an option to turn off BRE's in RB3 to see (and likely get whooped by) what lies underneath, something like the clear overdrive activation lane
    Would love that feature, can't stand dumbed down BREs.
  • SirDavidTLynchSirDavidTLynch Headliner
    edited April 2012
    From what I gathered, Big Rock Endings are only authored for Expert guitar and bass, while keys and drums are animated separately from the playable charts, which are blank during BREs.
  • edited April 2012
    samjjones;4701919 said:
    Just one question:

    Does this game have lasers?

    There's a bottle rocket.
  • edited April 2012
    TkDiamonD;4701953 said:
    Wow, really? Would have been cool to have an option to turn off BRE's in RB3 to see (and likely get whooped by) what lies underneath, something like the clear overdrive activation lane

    If you're interested in learning more about this phenomenon, some customs makers have posted videos on youtube showing some of the more interesting looking charts for big rock endings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sro11egy2yI&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2nlUvCI60k&feature=related
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    SirDavidTLynch;4702021 said:
    From what I gathered, Big Rock Endings are only authored for Expert guitar and bass, while keys and drums are animated separately from the playable charts, which are blank during BREs.

    They can be blank, but they ought not to be. Not that anyone would've known if they were.
  • ManOfPopsicleManOfPopsicle Unsigned
    edited April 2012
    HMXPope;4701915 said:
    We actually author that part of the song on expert anyway when they go through the regular song authoring process, as we need it for animations and such. So, we just take that authoring and "Blitzify" it.

    Oh god, Bodhisattva. I'm sufficiently terrified now.
  • osteofightosteofight Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    HMXPope;4701915 said:
    We actually author that part of the song on expert anyway when they go through the regular song authoring process, as we need it for animations and such. So, we just take that authoring and "Blitzify" it.

    Well, my mind is blown. I've never even noticed the animations being customized per song for BREs, just guitar smashing and drum wailing.
  • FujiSkunkFujiSkunk Headliner
    edited April 2012
    HMXPope;4701915 said:
    We actually author that part of the song on expert anyway when they go through the regular song authoring process, as we need it for animations and such. So, we just take that authoring and "Blitzify" it.

    But, but...

    All this time we've been told the animations aren't based on the game charts!

    Though... would I be correct in remembering we've only been told that about the drum charts?

    Not that it matters to me so much, but you're going to make some itchy fingers in the conspiracy theorists.
  • FairwoodStudiosFairwoodStudios Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    FujiSkunk;4702128 said:
    But, but...

    All this time we've been told the animations aren't based on the game charts!

    Though... would I be correct in remembering we've only been told that about the drum charts?

    Not that it matters to me so much, but you're going to make some itchy fingers in the conspiracy theorists.

    On guitar and bass, the hand positioning on the neck is defined by authoring 'position' notes, while the strumming action is defined by the authored Expert part (and hand shape is partly text events, partly authoring).

    On keys and drums, all animations are defined independently of the playable authoring.

    Vocals are their own weird thing.
  • samjjonessamjjones Road Warrior
    edited April 2012
    Apples;4702023 said:
    There's a bottle rocket.

    Bottle rockets are cool, but they are only 17% as cool as lasers.

    I might hold out for Rock Band Blitz 2: Laser Edition.
  • FujiSkunkFujiSkunk Headliner
    edited April 2012
    FairwoodStudios;4702136 said:
    On guitar and bass, the hand positioning on the neck is defined by authoring 'position' notes, while the strumming action is defined by the authored Expert part (and hand shape is partly text events, partly authoring).

    On keys and drums, all animations are defined independently of the playable authoring.

    Vocals are their own weird thing.

    That's enlightening. Thanks, Fairwood!
Sign In or Register to comment.