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Found 9 results

  1. Jordan Haygood

    Rock Band 4 Announced for 2015

    Call your former band mates up, because it's time for a reunion! That's right, Rock Band 4 is finally coming! It's been over four years since the world last got a taste of the Rock Band franchise in the form of Rock Band 3, and about two years since songs stopped being added to its digital library. Since then, many gamers found themselves with little reason to pull their plastic instruments out of storage. Well, with a new Rock Band on the way, Harmonix has a pretty good reason for you to use those instruments once again, given that you have the console that directly succeeds the one you have instruments for (and still have the instruments, for that matter). Of course, if you don't, there will be new instruments you can buy with the newest iteration of their beloved franchise. With more details for the game expected to be announced at this year's E3, Rock Band 4 is slated for release by the end of 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sorry, Nintendo rockers, but Harmonix has decided to skip the Big N with this one. Harmonix, who is working independently this time around, announced the news alongside a short documentary clip. You can watched that clip below: Source: Harmonix Blog Are you excited for Rock Band 4? What are your thoughts on this announcement?
  2. For years Harmonix has beaten the Rock Band and Dance Central drum, with the developer's last few outings being the arcade-y Rock Band Blitz and Dance Central 3, but what they have coming up next on the release agenda is decidedly different from the simple music-based rhythm games of yesteryear. Today they announced Chroma, a free-to-play, rhythm-based, first-person shooter that is being developed in part with Hidden Path Entertainment (of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fame). The premise lies in shooting a gun that emits a laser beam in various hues, which is also a musical note or sequence. Different guns and characters have different tunes and so forth, and matching beats and creating tonal harmony will maximize firepower and hit points. Chroma is still very early in development, with a closed alpha beginning later this month; you can sign up now on PlayChroma.com. No release date or window has been revealed just yet, not surprisingly, though the game is expected to be publicly playable at some point during the Fall. Source: Polygon, Joystiq Are you interested in Chroma's premise?
  3. Fantasia: Music Evolved is an upcoming music/rhythm game for Kinect. It doesn't really have anything to do with Disney's Fantasia, but that's beside the point. This Harmonix and Disney Interactive title encourages you to "become the new apprentice of legendary sorcerer Yen Sid, and explore and transform magical worlds by unleashing your musical creativity." Okay, so maybe it's a little like Fantasia with all the arm movement and pretty colors. You can see all of it in motion in the trailer below. Here are the tracks that are currently confirmed for Fantasia: Music Evolved: AVICII – "Levels" Bruno Mars – "Locked Out Of Heaven" Fun. – "Some Nights" Kimbra – "Settle Down" Queen – "Bohemian Rhapsody" Fantasia: Music Evolved will be available for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One sometime in 2014.
  4. It seems no one is safe in this internet-centric age. Yesterday, Harmonix sent out emails to users of RockBand.com, DanceCentral.com, and Creators.RockBand.com to make them aware of an attack that took place on all their sites. As a result of said attack, these Harmonix sites have been taken offline for the time being. Here is the exact information from Harmonix: "The security of your Harmonix user information is very important to us. We“ve taken the sites down while we investigate this incident and determine how our systems and the information we maintain may have been compromised. At this time, we have not found that any of our users“ information has been published or misused. None of our sites maintain any credit card information, social security numbers, or financial account numbers for any of our users. As a precaution, we have disabled your Harmonix password. We“ll send you a notification when the sites are back up. When you log back in, we will require all users to reset their passwords. If you have been using your old Harmonix password on other sites, we recommend that you change those passwords too." So thankfully it doesn't appear that any passwords were compromised in this attack. Harmonix also seems to be giving their best effort. Sure, resetting passwords may be a bit of a hindrance for users, but it's important to be overcautious in these events. Although the hacker's intentions are unknown, it is likely that they wanted to show their anger over Harmonix ending Rock Band DLC after many years of continual output.
  5. Since the release of Rock Band, Harmonix have been consistently putting out downloadable content for the game week after week. Over the past five years they have managed to hit their weekly schedule of new musical content, which leads to a library now full of over 4,000 DLC tracks. It's hard to say that anyone else has ever come close with variety of content, even a certain PC train simulator. With that said, Harmonix simply wouldn't be able to do this forever. Today they have announced the end of new DLC releases for April 2nd. Here is their thank you message to fans: "We hope that you“ll all agree that this has been a tremendous run, and you should know it“s a ride that we at Harmonix have been thrilled to be a part of. We“re going to continue to support the forums and RockBand.com and hope to still see you rocking out online, in photos of Rock Band parties shared on Twitter and Facebook, or here on the forums. Whether you waited in line for a midnight release of Rock Band over 5 years ago, or you just joined the party with Rock Band Blitz… whether you“ve downloaded every single song we“ve ever released, or you“ve just played on disc songs until your neighbors moved away… whether you“re a metal shredder, or a bubblegum pop singer… thank you for being a part of our band." Why are they stopping now? Harmonix has a few games they're working on the moment and none of them are a Rock Band title. Their resources simply can't be spent on keeping up with continuous updates. They have not ruled out the possibility that they may release new DLC again at some point, but for now they can't even switch to a monthly schedule. A 50% off sale on all Rock Band DLC is ongoing in case fans would like to grab some tracks from the massive library.
  6. Rock Band Blitz hit the gaming world last year to critical praise. The Harmonix-developed rhythm game looked to be another take from the blueprints of Frequency until it was actually played. Once you got your hands on a controller (no more plastic guitars!) and gave it a go, it was easy to see the differences. The biggest change is the addition of social features which connect players to their Facebook. Though this gate, gamers can tackle challenges or attempt to best their friend“s scores. It“s certainly an intriguing feature, but is it the sign of a shift? Your main goal in Rock Band Blitz is to get the highest scores possible on songs. Although the game itself only comes with a handful of songs, most players have probably accumulated lots of Rock Band Network DLC. No matter what song you play though the goal is always the same. You are meant to score major points on a song and skyrocket to the top of the high score charts. There“s nothing at all wrong with this, as it feels very arcade-like, but its implementation is odd. In order to get the maximum points possible you“re going to want to use power ups. Unfortunately, these power ups can only be purchased (per track) via coins. Coins might at first sound like a scary free-to-play scheme. Thankfully this is not the case - you gain coins through beating songs. This is one of the first strange design choices for the game. Why must you purchase these power ups on a song by song basis? Why isn“t just unlocking them enough? There would have still been strategy involved in selecting only a certain set of power ups on each track without having to pay for them each and every time. Grinding doesn“t seem to jive with the Rock Band universe. What do you get for maxing your scores? The whole point seems focused around competing against your Facebook friends. While there is nothing wrong with this on its own, it seems strange how the game basically is just a hub to that world. It doesn“t offer nearly as much competition between you and your “gaming” specific friends on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. Strangely, when you play a song it does pit you against “someone”. Unfortunately this someone isn“t even a real person but always the same set of fake players (named after Rock Band characters). Why, if the game is so competition-focused, do you not get to see how you fare against any other real player? At least there is a high score list to view after each song. Not your traditional rhythm game Now, what if you totally love the Facebook connectivity? That“s perfectly fine as it certainly is a new way to interface with the game. This leads into another strange choice by Harmonix - why aren“t there difficulty settings? Instead of giving you the option to play a game on an easy or other difficulty level like most other rhythm games out there, you are simply given one difficulty. I“m not aware of how Harmonix managed to port almost all the RBN library into the game but it must not be too hard to convert tracks. If that is the case it should have been easy enough to list all difficulties for each song instead of selecting one to use forever. It seems that Harmonix wanted to make a game that“s hugely accessible to the Facebook crowd. Aside from the complexity of how to best amplify your score, the game is designed to be quite simple. Having one difficulty setting is an example of that, as it keeps players contained to one exact note chart for each song eternally. The same can also be said for how the game does not grade, or rate you down for awful performances much. In games like Frequency and Amplitude you would fail out of a track if you couldn“t keep up. Here, you can play the song no matter what and still manage to score some points. There is little depth to the gameplay to make it truly rewarding. It feels great to trump a friend and brag to them about it online, but what reason is there to keep playing beyond that? You can hammer through annoying charts with the crummy default controls (or switch to superior “Freakish”) but it only does so much. In Harmonix“s earlier games you felt compelled to play as the lanes would stop playing their specified instrument if you weren“t taking care of them. You would get more than scores, you would get a sense of accomplishment for completing stages. Instead of two buttons per lane there were three, and that allowed for a fair bit more creativity than pressing the left and right ones a million times. Harmonix has definitely created a game worth playing but it may not be for the traditional rhythm game crowd. Rock Band Blitz easily ushered in Rock Band fans who had put their dusty guitars away but how long will they stay involved? It is a new way to play the songs you already bought - but is it a fun way? Again, there“s nothing wrong with making a fully arcade-like experience where you compete for scores. This is something that some enjoy and there“s no reason they shouldn“t. However, if other rhythm and music games take this path it may take away from what rhythm games have always had going for them. Rhythm games are fun. They increase in difficulty from easy to hard and you might struggle through them for hours, but eventually you“ll be able to master them. That feeling of becoming skillful at hitting buttons, strumming, or dancing is a simple pleasure that music games have been able to provide since their inception. Rock Band Blitz is strong when it comes to online bragging, but falls short of providing a whole experience. Many will disagree, but no matter how it looks, Rock Band Blitz isn“t your typical rhythm game. It is something else which hits close, but in fact may change the whole understanding about what players like from their music games.
  7. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Rock Band Blitz

    Developer: Harmonix Publisher: Harmonix Platform: XBLA, PSN Release Date: Out Now ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the XBLA version of the game Put those plastic instruments down, because this installment of the Rock Band series isn't quite what we“re all used to. In fact, Rock Band Blitz is only about half of a Rock Band game, with the other half being something completely different. And all you need to play the game is $14.99, a standard controller, and enough free space on your hard drive to hold the game and its 25 tracks. So is the game worth the trouble, or is it just a waste of space like the fake instruments filling your closets? The answer is simple: if you like rhythm games, buy this one. Once upon a time, Harmonix created two controller-based rhythm games known as Amplitude and Frequency. These games had you shifting between different layers of each song, playing the guitar part one moment and jamming on drums the next. Rock Band Blitz can be seen as Rock Band and these two games mixing together to create something new to the Rock Band series. Well, I can“t really say it“s completely new, as this idea was played with in Rock Band: Unplugged for the PSP and Rock Band 3 for the Nintendo DS, I guess you could say that Rock Band Blitz is a more refined version of what those games had to offer. The game is fairly simple. There is no campaign mode, so all you do is pick the controller up and play through a song whenever you feel like it. Each song takes you down the streets of “Rock City,†akin to the scrolling note “highways†of previous Rock Band games, with different colored lanes corresponding to the drum, bass guitar, lead guitar, vocal, and keyboard parts of the songs. Unfortunately, the vocals can get insanely confusing at times, depending on the song, because you will often have to keep to a rhythm that doesn“t exactly have a steady beat. Still, it“s all fun nonetheless. The game“s controls are pretty standard; each lane gives you left and right notes that you hit by tapping the D-pad and a face button, the left and right joysticks, or whatever controls suit your fancy. And the more notes you hit down one lane, the higher that lane“s multiplier rises, which in turn allows that lane to earn you more points. However, you can“t stay on one instrument throughout the song and expect the multiplier to keep rising, giving you no choice but to switch lanes if you desire a high score. And once you raise the multiplier for each part by at least one, a checkpoint will increase the cap by three greater than the part with the lowest multiplier. For example, if you had four parts at 3x, but one at 1x, the max will only rise to 4x. As such, one of your main goals throughout each song should be to jump between each lane and increase the multiplier for each as much as possible before you hit the next checkpoint. Doing so will maximize your score, which is the main objective of the game. Another way to maximize your score is through the game“s “blitz†meter. If you hit notes consecutively, this meter will fill up. Once full, you will begin moving down the lanes faster and faster until you miss a note. This increase in speed is complimented by a bonus to your score, so it helps not to miss notes. Of course, missing notes is a little bit too hard in this game. With only one difficulty setting and only two sides to each lane, this game lacks the kind of challenge the main series has. But it“s not the main series, so this pick-up-and-play aspect can also be seen as a fun little break from shredding that plastic guitar on expert mode. Once you complete a song, you are scored with the classic 5-star system. And depending on how high a score you receive, you are awarded accordingly with both “blitz cred†and coins. Blitz cred is sort of like experience, and the more you increase your blitz cred, the more power-ups you unlock. Unfortunately, you need to collect coins in order to use these power-ups. Normally, this wouldn“t be a problem, but the payout for each song is so much less than you need to truly take advantage of the power-ups. As you could imagine, this can often take some of the fun out of the game. When you can afford to use power-ups, though, the game gets a bit more fun. Power-ups come in three flavors – overdrive power-ups, note power-ups, and track power-ups. Overdrive power-ups are triggered in a familiar sense, in which you play glowing white notes to gather enough energy to use them. These power-ups offer several score-boosting benefits, such as temporarily doubling all your multipliers (star power, anyone?). Note power-ups are a bit more exciting, providing you with fun little mini-games of sorts that you play by hitting purple notes throughout the songs. Perhaps the most fun of all of these is the pinball note power-up, which launches a large pinball that increases your score the longer you keep it on the streets. Lastly, track power-ups are a bit simpler, including such powers as raising your score by switching lanes at certain points. Unlike its older brothers, Rock Band Blitz isn“t a game where you can jam with friends at a house party. Instead, this arcade game gives you a Facebook app called "Rock Band World" that allows you to connect with your XBLA/PSN friends who also own Rock Band Blitz and happen to be on your Facebook friends list. You can either play cooperatively to earn extra blitz cred or you can choose to initiate “score wars†and destroy your friends“ high scores. You can even watch other players“ scores throughout each song as you try to surpass them. It“s just unfortunate that you have to be on Facebook in order to make the most out of this game“s multiplayer potential, rather than simply relying on your XBLA/PSN friends list alone. Overall, Rock Band Blitz is a nice little game that any rhythm gamer should pick up. With fun gameplay and plenty of songs to play through, this game will often have you saying “just one more song!†And if the game itself wasn“t enough, guess what – the entire soundtrack doubles as DLC for Rock Band 3. How about that! Furthermore, Rock Band 3 DLC is also playable in Blitz for even more button-mashing good times. So whether you“re interested in the game itself or just interested in the DLC pack, for $14.99, Blitz is definitely worth the price. Pros: + Fun gameplay that doesn't require plastic instruments + Power-ups are a nice addition + The soundtrack doubles as DLC for Rock Band 3 + Rock Band DLC can be imported Cons: - The coin system is a nuisance - You can't play cooperatively with friends without connecting to Facebook Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Following the footsteps of its brethren, Rock Band Blitz is a fun little arcade title that any rhythm gamer should pick up.
  8. Cipher Peon

    Rock Band Blitz

    It's no secret that I love Harmonix. I love their games, their community team, their philosophy on gaming, and their approach to the untried and risky instead of playing it safe and by the books. Every time I hear someone curse DLC as the worst thing to happen to gaming, I shake my head and think of Harmonix, which proved that DLC can be an extremely fundamental part of gaming. Unfortunately, these high standards will cause people to look at their latest title, Rock Band Blitz, and declare it as a Audiosurf/Frequency/Amplitude/Rock Bad Unplugged rip-off. At the surface, this statement is very true. You're hitting notes using a controller and switching between lanes in order to get as many points as you can. However when looking at gaming history, Rock Band Blitz would probably be seen as the first fully fledged Facebook game. Make no mistake, this game is built for consoles, meant to be played on consoles, and Facebook isn't necessary to experience the balls out fun that Blitz has to offer. However, I STRONGLY encourage you to connect your Facebook account to the game to experience what it has to offer. If you're an antisocial individual that wants nothing to do with the social aspects of Facebook, just make an account, set it so nobody sees you, connect Blitz to it and just forget about it. Connecting your Facebook account allows you to attempt goals with friends, set up duels with friends and strangers to see who can get a higher score, set up a wishlist for DLC purchases, and track your ingame stats.There is definitely room for improvement, however. Anyone can join your goals and mooch off of your points, Score Wars aren't customizable, and you can't Score War with someone on a different console as of the time of writing. The cynic would ask why all of this information couldn't have been provided in game, which would definitely be a fair question. Some of the experience like setting up Score Wars, which could be done extremely awkwardly ingame, feels like it could have been plastered onto the game itself. However, at its core Rock Band Blitz was built as a game that uses Facebook as a foundation for its philosophy.This is made evident by the currency the game provides you after completing songs, which can be gained in large amounts after completing Facebook goals, setting up Score Wars, etc. How well Harmonix encourages you to use Facebook is beyond frightening, in less than a weekend I was already an admin in a 23 people Facebook group discussing the game and challenging one another. As one of our Rock Band regulars said "Who would have thought that a single player game would bring a community based on a multi-player game closer than said multi-player game?" Ironically, I would compare the Facebook integration to the use of guitar controllers in previous Guitar Hero titles, like Guitar Hero 3. You COULD play the game with the controller but playing on the guitar is a much more satisfying experience. It's ironic, because the gameplay in Blitz is nothing but satisfying. The game is fast paced, rewarding, and appealing as getting high scores to beat your friends and smashing goals is extraordinarily fun. I found myself going to sleep at 2 am and waking up 7 hours later just to get my Blitz fix. Unforunately, the game's problems become apparent with the gameplay. First off, this game is challenging. I never declare a game's challenge as a problem with the game unless it's well deserved (shoddy curves, improper pacing, unfair or fake difficulty, or lack of engagement), and the game's challenge feels contradictory to the audience it's trying to capture. Getting great scores is definitely not an easy task, and casuals who demand constant statements of them rocking will not be pleased with the reality of them sucking initially. The game does have a learning curve, but I feel that by the time casuals start getting good at the game, they would have already given up and gone to play something else. Another part of the gameplay that may seem off putting is the VAST amount of on screen information being thrown at you at all times. The game definitely does feel overwhelming to an onlooker as they see and endless sea of notes and only one lane to score them in. It's not a flaw, but it does feel a bit unsettling considering the audience the game is targeted towards. The game's menus share this characteristic, as every single menu is flowing with information. Seeing as there are multiple menus, each filled to the brim with text, this could definitely be seen as off-putting. Another one of the game's issues would be navigating its song sorting. Gone are the days of filters, album sorting, and ratings (the latter which I used extensively). Setlists are strangely gone as well, however the time it takes between picking songs is extremely insignificant, which always leaves to fluid song choices. The songs themselves are in small to read font, which definitely is an issue when it comes to playing with other people at parties and anybody who is used to Rock Band 3's navigation will curse their muscle memory as they'll accidentally go to another menu. Lastly, the game also doesn't save the last song/sorting from your last play which is very disappointing considering I remember this being heavily requested to be patched in Rock Band 3, going to your last song choice could remind you of the goals you were doing, and there's a specific way I like to be greeted by songs. The game also features DRM out of all things, not allowing you to gain coins if you're not connected to the Internet. It definitely feels out of place, but you can still play the core game without problems if you lose your connection. As for the 25 song list... it's very geared towards modern listeners, but they're an absolute BLAST to play on Blitz. With the exception of probably Shout and We Are Young, every song is extremely fun to play with their unique quirks to get you engaged in the game. My favorite part of the game is allowing every song to have different approaches for getting a high score. Different solutions towards the same problem allows for discussion outside the game, which is an excellent way to promote gaming culture as a whole. The variety of power-ups suits varying playstyles ranging from by the book people who take no risks in life to high rollers who would risk it all to win the big jackpot with a roll of the dice. Finding the style that suits you is extremely fun and the strategic elements can not be be missed. As a whole, the game is a fantastic value and a fantastic package for its 15 dollar price tag. With the potential of infinite replay value thanks to DLC (I have over 700 hours in Rock Band 3), goals, Score Wars, etc as well as all of the songs being immediately playable in Rock Band 3, it's amazing how much value this title has. ESPECIALLY considering song downloads are usually 2 dollars each, even if the thought of Blitz repulses you, the amount of compatibility it has with Rock Band 3 is great. However, with the amazing friends I've made thanks to this game, I couldn't give it anything less than a glowing recommendation. It might even be better than Castle Crashers. MIGHT BE. But seriously, We Are Young is awful.
  9. Harmonix has done pretty well for itself over the years. From more humble beginnings with Frequency and Amplitude on PS2, they have since moved on to work on massive titles. Rock Band, and more recently, Dance Central, are their best known works these days. With Dance Central being their latest cash cow they are now bringing out a third game in the popular dance game series. Today Harmonix announced a handful of tracks which are: 2NE1 – "I Am The Best (Original Version)" Alice Deejay – "Better Off Alone" Backstreet Boys – "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" J.J. Fad – "Supersonic" Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz ft. Ying Yang Twins – "Get Low" LMFAO – "Sexy And I Know It" Los Del Rio – "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)" Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera – "Moves Like Jagger" Vanilla Ice – "Ice Ice Baby" Vicki Sue Robinson – "Turn The Beat Around" Village People – "Y.M.C.A." Beyond that Harmonix stated that there will be "more than 40" tracks on disc, which is par with previous versions. For reference, Dance Central 2 had 44 tracks (with many more available as DLC). It's also expected that you'll be able to import your track lists from the previous games into this one by paying a small fee. Dance Cental 3 will be out on October 16th to delight the Kinect owners out there who still use the device.