Strike a New Chord
While Rock Band Blitz may seem like the next step in the Rock Band franchise, it actually has been several years in the making. In 2010, when Viacom sold Harmonix, the prototype game was in the beginning stage. The game was revived, and two years later, it will finally be released.
Rock Band Blitz differs from previous Rock Band titles in that there are no instruments to set up and play; it's played on your controller. For those with limited space, this should make them very happy. On the other hand, fans of the series might be put off. However, Matthew Nordhaus, the project director, has stated the game is supposed to be "fast, and loud, and silly, and a little over the top," so we'll just have to keep our minds open.
The game will have five lanes of notes coming at the screen. Each one represents one of the instruments in Rock Band 3: bass, drums, guitar, vocals, and keyboard. Players will have to jump from lane to lane hitting the button just as the note reaches the bar across the bottom, just like when playing with an instrument. However, the player will have to keep changing lanes to get the highest score, as hitting multiple notes in succession makes the multiplier go up for that specific lane. One of the differences between Rock Band Blitz and previous Rock Band games is that missing a note in a lane does not penalize the player other than with the missed score point. The multiplier does cap out for each lane at a certain point, and if the gamer leaves a lane alone too long, the multiplier will go down and eventually disappear, so this is why there will be much jumping back and forth.
The game will still have sections with Overdrive notes, just like past versions. However, activating Overdrive in Blitz will release one of three power-ups possible. Only two have currently been announced: the Bottle Rocket which will clear all the notes down the current track the gamer is on, and the Bandmate will give gamers an A.I. player for a while who will clear another track at the same time. Another special note this time around will be purple. Hitting these will release other power-ups such as a pinball, which moves across the entire grid, clearing notes for as long as the gamer can keep the ball in play, as well as a bomb power-up, which takes out all notes around it.
When the player finishes a song, a 1 to 5 star score will appear, just like in previous versions. The score automatically uploads to an online scoreboard, and gamers can challenge friends through this. Blitz will also make recommendations for new downloadable songs based on the song score.
One of the coolest aspects of the new Rock Band game though is that the entire 25-song soundtrack will transfer to Rock Band 3 for those who want to play it with instruments. And as if that wasn't enough, almost all the songs in a gamer's current Rock Band library will be playing on Rock Band Blitz! There will be future songs for the game, and anything released from this point forward will be Blitz / RB3 compatible. Currently, Harmonix has announced five of the songs on the soundtrack: Blink 182's Always, Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl, Foster the People's Pumped Up Kicks, Great White's Once Bitten Twice Shy, and Quiet Riot's Mental Health (Bang Your Head).
It remains to be seen if this will be a dumbed down version of Rock Band or another way to have fun with the game when someone doesn't want to drag all their gear out. Either way, come late summer to early fall, Rock Band Blitz will be available via download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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