Video Game Reviews

Rock Band Blitz (XBLA) review


The developers of Rock Band are back with some new music for your library and a whole new way to rock out on your sofa.  Welcome to Rock Band Blitz, a new music title from Harmonix.  You can keep your plastic guitars and drum set in your closet for this one . . .this is completely controller based, which has it’s own pros and cons.

The game comes with 25 new songs that are downloaded to your system and can be played in Rock Band 3 if you so choose.  When you consider the price of the individual download songs, this is a pretty good deal.  The game runs 1200 Microsoft Points, or $15.  The individual track download price is 80 or 160 Microsoft Points ($1 or $2).  While the songs are trying to cover a fairly large user base, there is a lot of different music here, from punk to metal to ’70’s funk by way of Kool and the Gang.  Yes, Jungle Boogie is finally available in Rock Band!  Obviously, while trying to hit a large demographic, the track list is sometimes hit an miss.  That doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the title, though.

The controls are all controller based.  You have five tracks on the screen each correlating to a different instrument.  Each track has a left and right mini-track.  Your goal is to increase your multiplier in each individual track by playing the notes that stream from the top. You switch tracks to try to get your multiplier as high as possible to get your score as high as you can.  This game is completely score based and you will not fail out of a song.  Ever.  If you don’t like the initial control setup, there is an option to change how you click the left and right notes.

As you progress through the game, you earn coins and Blitz Cred.  The coins a used to purchase special powers for the song you are playing.  These include more points for the individual instruments, bombs that blow up the surrounding notes, and a 2x multiplier when triggered.  You can have up to three powerups in any song and the coin cost varies.  Blitz Cred is used to unlock the powerups.  When you accumulate enough cred, a powerup is instantly unlocked to use in any song you choose.

As I said, the goal of the game is to get the highest score possible and get 5 stars on the songs.  That is a pretty daunting task.  I have only managed to 5 star one song and I have unlocked all my powerups. Needless to say, this is a bit of a difficult game.  When you are as practiced as I am on the plastic guitar, switching to a standard controller is difficult . . .but I am getting a lot better and seeing my scores climb.  Watching yourself knock your friend down a notch on the Leaderboards is always a satisfying feeling!

There is also a neat feature called Score War, where you can challenge a friend to try to top your high score on a particular song.  You can play as many times as you’d like for 3 days.  Whoever has the highest score at the end, wins.  The winner earns a nice stash of cred and coins, while the loser (besides being a loser) gets a smaller stash.  It is a fun way to challenge your friends and I have used the feature quite a few times (I am typically said loser).

As a side note, all of the songs you have on your hard drive from the Rock Band series are compatible with this game.  Even the downloads.

I am seriously enjoying this game and can see it being played in this household for a long time.  As a fan of the music games (Guitar Hero, Rock Band) I enjoy games like this.  While I would have rather seen Rock Band 4 or Guitar Hero 7 or or whatever they’re on, this is a fun way to pass the time.  I can honestly say that this is an extremely fun game.  Highly recommended!



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