Rock Band Blitz

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Rock Band Blitz Review

Rock Band Blitz Review

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Whenever a band's popularity starts to wane, it's common to see them declaring a return to their roots or taking a swerve towards the mainstream in an attempt to win over fresh fans. As for rock bands, so it is for Rock Band.

Following lacklustre sales for the ambitious Rock Band 3, this downloadable entry in the series finds Harmonix ditching the plastic guitars and heading back to the controller-based rhythm gaming it pioneered with FreQuency and Amplitude. It's also a much more casual and accessible experience than previous Rock Bands, with no way of failing a song and a structure that actively encourages you to miss notes in pursuit of higher scores.

Gone, too, is the party-friendly multiplayer core of Rock Band. This is a single-player only game, with one controller handling drums, bass, guitar, vocals and keyboards. Each instrument gets its own track, scrolling down the screen in the familiar style, and each track has notes on the left or right. There are various control configurations available, but the default one has you using triggers or shoulder buttons to shuttle between tracks, and twanging the twin sticks to hit those left and right notes. It definitely feels strange when so much of the presentation leads your fingers to expect an instrument peripheral, but two concise tutorials get you up to speed without fuss.

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Rock Band Blitz release date announced

Rock Band Blitz will be available to download for Xbox 360 on 29th August, developer Harmonix has announced. It will cost 1200 Microsoft Points.

US PlayStation 3 gamers get the title on 28th August for $14.99 (about 9.60). Presumably that means the game will launch on 29th in Europe, in line with the EU PlayStation Store's usual Wednesday updates.

Crucially, Rock Band Blitz does not require an instrument-shaped controller to play.

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Rock Band Blitz Preview: Harmonix Returns to its Roots

Once was a time when the plastic controllers of Rock Band ruled the world - or at least the living rooms of the world where they gathered in a garish pile. But if the music genre hasn't exactly died, the one that supported a plethora of peripherals most certainly has, its leave of absence stretching on for some two years and leaving its most successful exponent, Harmonix, looking for new avenues for its rhythmic gameplay.

Enter Rock Band Blitz. The Boston developer's upcoming Rock Band spinoff does away completely with peripherals. Even stranger, it's primarily a single-player game set for release on Xbox Live and PSN.

Rock Band Blitz harkens back to Harmonix's early days with games like Amplitude and Frequency. In Blitz, the camera zooms down the highway of 'Rock City' where a handful of familiar colour-coded lanes represent the different instruments comprising each song. Each lane only has two notes to hit - one on the left and one on the right. Hit enough correct notes with an instrument and you'll gain a multiplier signified by the lane filling in with colour. You can only raise the multiplier to a certain cap before the next checkpoint, so you're encouraged to switch between the various parts like one of those one-man band street performers.

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Rock Band Blitz announced for XBLA, PSN

Rock Band Blitz announced for XBLA, PSN

Instrument-free spin-off due this summer from Harmonix.

Rock Band Blitz is the next entry in Harmonix's rhythm action franchise, due on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade some time this summer.

The series' traditional 'runway' perspective survives but the peripherals have been ditched in favour of frantic controller-based gameplay, Harmonix told G4TV.

You use power-ups to explode gems and chase down blast notes for big bonuses.

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