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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?
Marcus Estrada posted a article in Industry NewsSince 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 Blitzâ€¦ whether you“ve downloaded every single song we“ve ever released, or you“ve just played on disc songs until your neighbors moved awayâ€¦ whether you“re a metal shredder, or a bubblegum pop singerâ€¦ 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.
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 â€œRock City,â€ akin to the scrolling note â€œhighwaysâ€ 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 â€œblitzâ€ 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 â€œblitz credâ€ 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 â€œscore warsâ€ 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 â€œjust one more song!â€ 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.
It“s officially summer, and that means it“s time go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Or if you“re like me, then you know it“ll be here for a few more months anyways, so why not just stay home for the hundredth time and play some more video games? Better yet, bring some people over and have a party. Here are a few games that you might consider bringing at your next summer party. Dance Central (Kinect) If you've never seen the moves in Dance Central, you're going to have a fun time figuring them out for the first time... in front of your friends There are a few choices for dancing games. From Just Dance, to Everybody Dances, and even Dance Dance Revolution, you can definitely have a good time with the ones that I just listed. However, I“ve seen that Dance Central for the Kinect usually brings the best crowd and laughs. Thanks to its controller-less set-up, the only assembly required is pushing aside the coffee table and leaving some space for the next dancers. Dance Central also has a very accessible learning curve, so pretty much anyone can get up and do the easier moves, or step up to a harder difficulty as required. The soundtrack consists of popular hits from today and old school classics that even the youngest guests should recognize. And it“s also hilarious to watch your friends butcher â€œBaby Got Back.â€ Rock Band/Guitar Hero (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2) Rock Band allows you to change things around for casual gamers or those who are just picky This is always a given. Either title is a fine choice, but I“ll just use Rock Band as an example. You take four players and each one plays either drums, guitar, or vocals (Or the keyboard if you“re playing Rock Band) and you basically jam out to your favorite rock songs. Rock Band is definitely a great choice because anyone of any comfort level can jump in with an instrument, and you“re more outgoing guests can start wailing out Bon Jovi classics. The games also carry a fairly varied set list, so unless your guests are hardcore rap, classical, or country fans, there shouldn“t be a problem finding at least a handful of songs they like. Other features such as No-Fail mode and Band Battles offer more ways for your guests to have fun with it. And as far as which one is the better of the two, I prefer to stick with Rock Band because of the way the in-game interface is set up, it“s recognition among pop culture, and for its more casual play style. Of course, Guitar Hero should do the job just fine. Mario Kart/Modnation Racers (Wii/PS3) Mario Kart, where turtle shells are your worst enemy Mario Kart and Modnation Racers are part of the â€œkart racingâ€ genre. While they“re not hardcore enough to be considered a racing title, they make it up with wacky visuals and wild weapons. There are some racing games that do feature four-player split-screen action, but they don“t seem as fun or as accessible as these two titles are. Mario Kart is a classic, with roots back during Nintendo“s early days. Players can jump in and have a short race, or try one of the other fun modes such as Balloon Battle or Coin Runners. If you“re itching for a more intense race, Modnation Racers is the way to go. Exclusive on the Playstation 3, Modnation boats an emphasis on creating your own tracks, characters, and karts. From a racing perspective, Modnation Racers doesn“t have any special modes, but it provides a more competitive racing experience with faster speeds and devastating weapons, all while keeping its all-ages theme. Both kart racers are fun and easy to learn. Super Smash Bros. (Wii, GCN, N64) Some newcomers may not like a Smash Ball once they see what it does... Take a few dozen iconic Nintendo figures (And maybe one from Sega or Konami) and toss them into a fight to the death. That“s the basic idea for Super Smash Bros. It“s a brawler at heart, and with up to four players on a single screen, you can see some very intense match-ups, some that I“ve seen go on for more than fifteen or even twenty minutes with sweat-inducing back-and-forth action. But new players shouldn“t feel hesitant to join in. Smash“s control scheme is fairly simple, with your basic attacks locked onto single buttons. So, anyone can jump in and start pulling off a few simple leaps and attacks and even hold their own against others. Just make sure the veterans don“t discourage the newbies. Halo/Call of Duty/Other Popular Games Remember kids, no screen cheating! Chances are not everyone at your party will be a gamer or barely know what a video game is. To be safe, it wouldn“t hurt to have some of the more popular titles on hand such as Call of Duty. You can assume that most people have at least tried or seen Call of Duty, and due to its popularity you can expect at least some people to play it. Halo and Gears of War also seem to be very recognizable so they should also do just fine. Make sure that whatever game you decide to use has the option to put multiple players in at once, four if you can. And also be sure to make certain that turns will be taken, and that those turns don“t last longer than 5 to 10 minutes so that way everyone gets a chance to play. Also be sure that the game is easy or easily accessible with a humble learning curve; you want to make sure your guests are having fun with the game and not spending the whole time flipping through a manual. Lastly, remember that video games should just be one of the few things to do at your party, and shouldn“t be used as a primary source of good times. Unless, of course, things just end up that way. I mean, it“s a party after all.