As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the preview.
Finally, I come to my most important (and favorite) inclusion of the Rock Band 4 instrument set; the drums.
I had my doubts about whether I’d still enjoy moving my fingers around in time, pounding drum beats, or butchering the chorus to songs I’d never heard, but it didn’t take long to get back into it, to learn songs, go on tour, and just enjoy music for a while.
The Band-In-A-Box is priced the same at GAME, Amazon, and Argos as well. But by then, the plastic rhythm game bubble had burst, so my motley crew of band mates slowly whittled down over time. Wondering what’s changed in the past five years? Will it win over audiences once again?
So how about the DLC tracks that do work?
So let’s get right into it. The setlist (seen here) is going to be a point of contention for many. You’ll want to download your pre-purchased DLC as soon as possible. I generally turn them off. Then you have the issue of era disparity due to a disjointed design. You also have the issue of showcasing a heavy helping of B-hits from major artists, like “Kick it Out” from Heart or “Prayer” from Disturbed. Even after years of playing Karaoke Revolution and Guitar Hero obsessively, the game instantly impressed me with its wonderful ability to turn a room of strangers into an instant party unified by the power of rock. I mean, “That Smell” from Lynyrd Skynyrd? We’ve spent the last week reliving the glory days with Harmonix’s new game – here’s why you should too. Existing PS3 and Xbox 360 instruments are generally compatible, although the new Fender Stratocaster designed for Rock Band 4 is an enviable piece of kit. It is much longer than it was in Rock Band 3.
Just to clarify with Harmonix as of this week, I double-checked on the DLC roadmap beyond the singles in the store now (of which there are hundreds of piecemeal tracks). Those are, of course, in addition to songs that will be made available as DLC and those that can be imported from previous games.
Strapping on the guitar, stepping up to the mic, adjusting the drum set to your height; playing Rock Band 4 just feels like old times.
We recently moved into a condo that shares a hallway with seven other units, containing everything from young families to retirees who seem to constantly have delicious food in the oven, and I’m a tad paranoid about the sounds that escape our door.
In case you missed the original fervor, Rock Band is a rhythm game where players use plastic instruments to emulate a band playing a show, with an impressive catalog of music across a wide range of musical genres.
The branching tour/story mode is a cool feature for folks that like to play solo. If you’re new to the game, take a trip through the store before starting a tour. Touches of humor, such as my cartoony bandmates and I getting lice from our travels in our beat-up tour van and appearing on stage bald at the next gig, mark choices that allow you to add more fans or better unlocks as you wind through the globe-hopping tour. It’s as simple as syncing the instruments (which is incredibly easy to do now) and pressing start, then you’re ready to rock. It’s fair, and it’s a nice break from manually choosing songs. Everything has been marginally upgraded (both physically and in-game), but I’m still reeling from the complete lack of keyboard and Pro Guitar support.
Recommendation: If you’ve got a catalogue of Rock Band legacy music, Rock Band 4 will pay for itself simply in paid DLC that you’ll have access to again. That’s all well and good, but what made Rock Band so enjoyable was its pick-up-and-play element.
Freestyle Guitar Solo mode brings its own tutorial; inherently needed in order to understand the mode’s surprisingly demanding rules. That’s not to say these songs aren’t fun to play – they are! – but they’re the equivalent of deep cuts on what should be a greatest-hits album. Solos use a color-coded language to indicate where and how to play on your guitar during certain sections of songs, but within it you’re afforded full freedom – meaning you can press any notes you want and create your own licks while being rewarded rather than penalized. On guitar, you hold one of five fret buttons while strumming in time with jewels on a scrolling vertical note track. Also, every song supports a full-time freestyle solo through a separate menu option.
Best Rock Band 4 price isn’t evident – We haven’t been able to track down the current cost at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, or Asda.
Pop stardom isn’t a zero sum game, but it is often built on rivalries, real or manufactured.
It has few other minor problems. Drummers can elect to drop the freestyle fills from past games in exchange for premade fills, which don’t have the distracting lag they’ve suffered from in the past. As long as you still sing on key, you’ll be able to score points. It doesn’t help that despite your tour itinerary jetting you around the globe, all the venues – in the early running, at least – are essentially indistinguishable. Rock Band 4’s new Shows mode changes the formula to include a degree of randomness.
In the end, Rock Band 4 offers up plenty of fun, especially if you can regularly gather a group of friends. The publisher provided GamesBeat with copies of the game as well as guitars, drum kits, and microphones for both platforms for this review.