Rock Band Blitz: A hardcore Rock Band players review.

edited September 2012 in Rock Band Blitz
Well I had a chance to spend some quality time playing Blitz and thought I would share my thoughts as someone who has been a Rock Band player since day 1. This will likely get long as I am going to more philosophical that technical. :P

I am not one to read all the press on a new game, I like to make decisions for myself and tend to skip a lot of the hype and speculation... So some of this info may have been "reported" elsewhere but this is my own personal perspective, free of any outside influence.

First, I will say that this game is fun. At first glance via screenshots and even game play videos it is not something that is easy to see and I can see why people given this as an evaluation tool could give a quick Meh and move on.

Now when I say its fun I mean, FUN. Like Tetris style addictive game play fun. You WANT to play again and the scoring system is such that you can DRAMATICALLY improve scores, not just incrementally.

Things like "optimized" pathing may be possible but when you add in the all the multiplier variables and power up options it makes this task considerably more difficult than your standard single instrument chart path optimization.

The two buttons on a track game play is MORE than enough to deal with as your mind is now dealing with tracking multiple paths, multiple multipliers, track switching (two more buttons) and power-up usage/execution. To say it is mental exercise is an understatement.

For me the Rock Band experience has always been about the music and one of my primary concerns with Rock Band Blitz was having the game be such that the game was taking away from the music. That may sound confusing to gamers but I hope it makes sense to the hard core music fan that plays Rock Band.

This is a concern that was quickly removed.

After my second play through my foot was tapping away and I was "rocking out" while playing Blitz. I was interacting with the music. There was that satisfaction that I was concerned about losing by the game using the controller. Was it the same as expert pro charts on my full Roland drum kit? Of course not but is it the ideal thing to do when I don’t want the physical demands of playing the drums? Absolutely!

The depth of the game far exceeds what can be grasped as an observer and there are dynamics at play with the undulating tracks that really have you paying attention to so much at once that you are pulled into the game as an environment and the graphics and presentation support that with beauty and detail. It is easy to want to read signs and marquees and lose track of what you were doing.

The tutorial does a good job of explaining the basics and can have anyone playing Blitz in just a few minutes. It will however take even the most seasoned rocker considerable time to master.

The new songs are exciting to me as it’s been a while since we had a "pack" of this size to add to our libraries but I really wanted to stress that after playing this game, if you are planning on buying it to export and are somehow stubborn enough to be dug in on saying you wont play it, you really need to play it.

I played One Week as my first song and I was smiling like a lunatic to dance back and forth on the crazy vocal track that song has. Next was Metal Health and the guitar was a blast via two buttons and to say I was rocking out would be an understatement.

I played several songs over the course of three sessions and had a chance to download my thoughts with a developer right after the last session and that really shaped this review as it helped me to understand what I was thinking by verbalizing. (Thanks Aaron!)

I really enjoyed the plug-and-play nature of the games total lack of difficulty settings beyond the songs themselves. It takes a ton of base-line intimidation out of the game for new players as they are not pressured at the song selection screen to prove how tough or cool they are by selecting a difficulty setting. I really like that.

This game will be accessible to anyone who loves fast paced arcade game play that requires a "heads up" approach and calls on the skills of the most advanced multi-tasker out there. A gamer could have tons and tons of fun with the on-disc songs alone. This is a game that can take you into the wee hours of the morning trying to eke out an extra star on a song.

For the seasoned Rock band player this game gives you a reason to revisit songs you may not have played in years. It makes your DLC new again and I can say without reservation I am looking forward to getting the game and playing Say It Aint So in it as the first song as a nod to that first gig the first time I played Rock Band.

In closing I want to say I am stoked for Harmonix to get to flex some developer muscle by making this downloadable game as a true independent company and to have come up with such a winner of a game. It really gets me excited to see what Harmonix is capable of both in and OUT of the music game genre.

These are exciting times for fans of Harmonix and I am really looking forward to the future.

I am happy to answer any questions as I am sure I left out info that I have now after playing that may be on your minds.

Rock On!


TLDR version: Try it, you will like it. :)

Comments

  • The-XaiaXThe-XaiaX Unsigned
    edited June 2012
    Did you play anything with a disco roll on the drums?

    When I got to the disco roll in Working For The Weekend, they charted the kick/snare, which felt really disconnected since I'm used to the expert pro charts and there's way more going on there. I gave them some feedback on that at PAX East, but I can see why they might leave it that way since otherwise it might just be a blur of lrlrlrlrlrlrlrlr with no sense of what's a snare or hat.

    Mainly I'm just curious if that's handled any differently.
  • edited June 2012
    The-XaiaX;4768958 said:
    Did you play anything with a disco roll on the drums?

    When I got to the disco roll in Working For The Weekend, they charted the kick/snare, which felt really disconnected since I'm used to the expert pro charts and there's way more going on there. I gave them some feedback on that at PAX East, but I can see why they might leave it that way since otherwise it might just be a blur of lrlrlrlrlrlrlrlr with no sense of what's a snare or hat.

    Mainly I'm just curious if that's handled any differently.
    If I did, I did not notice.

    Quite frankly, without sticks in my hand I don't think I would have noticed.

    While I play by ear more than sight while playing Rock Band I for sure feel like I was using all of my optic powers to play Blitz while using my ears more for enjoyment than trigger guidance.
  • folkeyefolkeye Headliner
    edited June 2012
    I wish it would remotely spark any interest for me, but it still doesn't. Still holding out to see if the future brings anything that might get my attention. DLC will be collecting dust a while more I guess, or shelved. We'll see.

    Also can't play games like this, have enough trouble with regular games and my both hand tendonitis issues. :( Hoping for another hands free installment (or something with a microphone).Hence singing was the way to play, the mic stand made my hands happy.
  • RickXTNRickXTN Unsigned
    edited June 2012
    Nice review and take on the game. I'm excited for the game and this made it even more so... especially being that you're a big fan of the usual way of playing instruments. At one point you said EXACTLY what I've been thinking... this will be a nice change of pace for when I want to play my songs but without having to exert energy with instruments. :-) Can't wait for BLITZ!
  • Edify1Edify1 Rising Star
    edited June 2012
    Sweet! I wasn't really looking forward to the game, more so for the 25 new songs to export into Rock Band 3. But now after reading your review of it, I must say that I'm quite a bit more stoked for it. Thanks for giving your thoughts. :)
  • daxx1970daxx1970 110% Awesome
    edited June 2012
    Hey Doc, that sounds better than expected. One small question, can you list out the 25 songs that come with Blitz in the order you liked them most?


    (It was worth a try)
  • metalkornmetalkorn Rising Star
    edited June 2012
    they have only announced 14 of the 25 so far.
  • edited June 2012
    daxx1970;4769245 said:
    Hey Doc, that sounds better than expected. One small question, can you list out the 25 songs that come with Blitz in the order you liked them most?


    (It was worth a try)
    Even if I was privy to such info I would still be compelled to advise you to stay tuned for the setlist announcements as they develop.

    Even as awesome as you are. :)
  • SayburrSayburr The Always Informative Rock Band Forum Guru
    edited June 2012
    Thanks Doc. I was watching that playthrough video of a Bang Camaro song on YouTube last night and the gameplay looked a little blah to me. So, this review helped. Tetris looks blah to watch a gameplay vid, but damn, it sure it fun to actually play, so I am glad you used that comparison.

    I have to admit, watching that video had me confused on the multiplier. Do you have to play each section Or does playing one section pull the multiplier upwards with it. For example, say I am playing a long solo on guitar (think Richard Thompson), would the increasing multiplier from guitar increase the other multipliers for the other lanes? Or to put in another way, say I love the lyrics for a song and I concentrate on only playing them, the vocal multiplier increases but then comes a instrumental section of the game, would the guitar, drums, bass, and keys still be at the X1 multiplier?

    Next question… are songs with a key lane dramatically harder than those with only four lanes?
  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited June 2012
    Okay, but was there anything wrong with the game?
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited June 2012
    Amazing review and I can't wait for Blitz, both playing the game and playing the songs in RB3. Just hoping we get the rest of the setlist and a release date announced soon.
  • edited June 2012
    Lowlander2;4770033 said:
    Okay, but was there anything wrong with the game?

    That can't be healthy that that's the first place you go. Gotta look on the bright side of thing buddy.
  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited June 2012
    MagicMurderBag7;4770036 said:
    That can't be healthy that that's the first place you go. Gotta look on the bright side of thing buddy.
    True, but it kind of seems like this impression was gushing a bit. There's got to be a possible improvement to be made, right?

    I do think the game will be fun, but it's not going to be perfect, is it? I mean, if it is, hooray, open the champagne, but it's not going to be.
  • PankrazzoPankrazzo Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    There will never be a perfect game.
  • osteofightosteofight Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    Lowlander2;4770033 said:
    Okay, but was there anything wrong with the game?

    Yes, I don't have it right now.
  • edited June 2012
    osteofight;4770097 said:
    Yes, I don't have it right now.

    That is a major flaw. Hopefully HMX can fix that in a month or two.
  • ricecakericecake Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    Thanks for the review, Doc! Did you ever play Frequency or Amplitude (both of which I enjoyed a lot), and if so, how did the gameplay compare to those?
  • edited June 2012
    Sayburr;4770027 said:
    Thanks Doc. I was watching that playthrough video of a Bang Camaro song on YouTube last night and the gameplay looked a little blah to me. So, this review helped. Tetris looks blah to watch a gameplay vid, but damn, it sure it fun to actually play, so I am glad you used that comparison.

    I have to admit, watching that video had me confused on the multiplier. Do you have to play each section Or does playing one section pull the multiplier upwards with it. For example, say I am playing a long solo on guitar (think Richard Thompson), would the increasing multiplier from guitar increase the other multipliers for the other lanes? Or to put in another way, say I love the lyrics for a song and I concentrate on only playing them, the vocal multiplier increases but then comes a instrumental section of the game, would the guitar, drums, bass, and keys still be at the X1 multiplier?

    Next question… are songs with a key lane dramatically harder than those with only four lanes?
    The multiplier is per-lane and its dancing from lane to lane to make sure all of the multipliers are increased that allows you to increase the multiplier cap. Whew, it even sounds fast paced typing it. :P

    Yes indeed, adding a key lane adds difficulty and its easy enough to forget about the key lane thatthe game reminds you in the tutorial not to forget.
    Lowlander2;4770033 said:
    Okay, but was there anything wrong with the game?
    Yeah, I could not Gold Star stuff right away...

    The only way to find fault is to expect it to be more than it is, and that will happen. There are people who chub up at every opportinity to be d-bags and rip stuff apart but hey everyone needs a hobby I guess. ;)

    At face value, its more than I was expecting and incredibly fun. Hence my review.

    MagicMurderBag7;4770036 said:
    That can't be healthy that that's the first place you go. Gotta look on the bright side of thing buddy.

    Some people will argue tricycles should have four wheels, it is just in their nature.

    I could not imagine resigning myself to such a miserable existance... Not that I am refering to anyone specifically of course... Just sayin'

    :)
    ricecake;4770411 said:
    Thanks for the review, Doc! Did you ever play Frequency or Amplitude (both of which I enjoyed a lot), and if so, how did the gameplay compare to those?
    Glad to speak up for the game, really looking forward to playing all my DLC in it.

    Ya know, I have not.

    My reverse compatable PS3 died so I never picked up the PS2 discs.
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited June 2012
    An important thing, is it possible to GS every song or will some songs like Song of the Century be like Polly on drums for RB2 (Impossible to get higher than 3 stars).
  • edited June 2012
    grumblevolcano;4770524 said:
    An important thing, is it possible to GS every song or will some songs like Song of the Century be like Polly on drums for RB2 (Impossible to get higher than 3 stars).
    Unknown but I am sure there are several songs that will be really goofy in Blitz. As far as scoring goes, only time will tell.
  • NumskullNumskull Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    Is it fair to say that for average-ish songs, the vocal lane is the one you really have to watch in terms of not letting its multiplier fall too far behind the others? Bang Camaro is really sparse in the vocal department so I don't think it was a great choice for that preview video that most of us have seen.
  • edited June 2012
    Numskull;4771036 said:
    Is it fair to say that for average-ish songs, the vocal lane is the one you really have to watch in terms of not letting its multiplier fall too far behind the others? Bang Camaro is really sparse in the vocal department so I don't think it was a great choice for that preview video that most of us have seen.
    I think the multipliers are closer together on tracks with less content so yes and no. That's the way it seemed to me anyway.

    They do come and go. Its kind of like fishing in that once you see a multiplier you need to hit that lane and hit notes to reel it in, otherwise it swims upstream.

    It's a trip watching for the multipliers on all the streams at the same time. Multi-Tasking-Amundo.
  • rkbdgurlrkbdgurl Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    Thanks for the review doc. I'm looking forward to playing it, though I've never done well on anything other than Rockband. I can see this is gonna open up a whole new world for me. Can't wait.
  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited June 2012
    Doc_SoCal;4770462 said:
    I could not imagine resigning myself to such a miserable existance... Not that I am refering to anyone specifically of course... Just sayin'

    :)
    Hey, I'm not-- It's just that you're making it sound like a 10/10 game, and the only one within the last two years I would even consider giving it to is Rayman: Origins. As much as I love Harmonix, and I really really do, I don't think Blitz match up to Origins, or hell, RB2, in terms of pure quality.

    No doubt it will be fun, and it's a day one buy, but you know how it is. And besides, it does have a definite flaw: it isn't out yet!
    Pankrazzo;4770066 said:
    There will never be a perfect game.

    Well...I'm not sure how you could improve Half-Life 2.
  • edited June 2012
    Lowlander2;4771319 said:
    I don't think Blitz match up to Origins, or hell, RB2, in terms of pure quality.

    I don't seee how or why anyone would rate Blitz based on a comparison to either of those two games. May as well say its sucks because there are no zombies or grenades.

    That's my point about people expecting it to be something it is not. There is no way to win over that player.

    Maybe the fun of it will wash away the expectations that were never planned to be part of the game, maybe not. Only the individual can decide.

    It is, what it is, and judged soley on its own merrits I think HMX nailed exactly what they were trying to do and its quite clear while playing it.

    But I am not here to tell anyone how to feel. I just find myself needing to explain why I think it is great.

    I am pretty confident I have as much time, money and emotional equity invested in Rock Band as just about anyone out there and that's why I felt compelled to share my thoughts on Blitz.

    I want Rock Band 4 as much as anyone and I, just like the majority or Rock Band Manicas, would have traded Blitz for a reboot of the franchise in a new ubber band game with RB4 as its name when I first heard about Blitz but that is not what is happening right now. I was able to put that feeling aside and be more patient for what may be next after playing Blitz.

    Maybe it is a nice Sorbet in between courses, maybe it is a lite dessert after an impressive meal. I dont know but I do enjoy it for what it is. A tastey little tidbit of Rock Band awesomeness. :)

    Whew... coffee fueled posts are long... :p
  • Lowlander2Lowlander2 FaIling Star
    edited June 2012
    I hope time doesn't tell, I hope we can play the damn thing now!
  • Pitch-BlackPitch-Black Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    Thanks for the review, Doc. It really is good to hear a RB fanatics take on it. Personally I value a hardcore RBer's review much more than a whole legion of press reviews. From some of the things you said I find myself a bit relieved, too. Going by my own admittedly basic idea of the game, I thought it could be maybe a little too simplistic for my taste. But I get now that there will be more going on in the game than I had originally thought. Keeping an eye on track multipliers and multitasking makes the game sound like it could, at times, become frantic with strategic elements I hadn't concidered. I like frantic and strategic.
  • IcemageIcemage Road Warrior
    edited June 2012
    I think people need to stop projecting their desire for Rock Band 4 and/or Frequency/Amplitude 2 onto Blitz.

    As long as the game is fun, so be it. Sure, I'd love to see Rock Band 4 come down the pipeline at some point, but now that I come to think of it, I don't want Rock Band 4 before next year, when we'll have all new hardware from all manufacturers (which will hopefully help resolve many of the issues with Rock Band 3).

    In the mean time, if Blitz gives me something else to do with the thousands of DLC I've already purchased, fantastic.
  • R1ngmasterJ5R1ngmasterJ5 Unsigned
    edited June 2012
    What's the control scheme like? I've heard there are multiple control schemes, did you try more than one?
  • edited June 2012
    R1ngmasterJ5;4772836 said:
    What's the control scheme like? I've heard there are multiple control schemes, did you try more than one?

    D-Pad is the left note and A button the right. (I think was A, it was one of em over there)

    RB & LB swapped tracks. I did not mess with alternate setting menus.
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