I can’t stop hearing The Protomen. I’ve known concerning this band and their Mega Man-inspired tunes for a long time now, but I hardly ever really gave them a chance until ”Light Up the Night” popped up throughout a ROCK-BAND 4 set. Works out that song is ideal: triumphant sing-along vocals, driving synths straight out of an ‘80s training montage, pounding drums that subtly crank up the song’s unstoppable intensity. It’s a complete blast both to listen to also to play, and without exceptional song through the immediacy of ROCK-BAND, I may do not have fallen deeply in love with it.

That, in essence, may be the power of ROCK-BAND. It harnesses the intrinsic joy of music and presents it in a manner that we cannot only play but share aswell. The pure euphoria that washes over you whenever a song commences to build and you’re nailing every note and you finally hit that pinnacle and the crowd erupts in cheers and applause… Few games can elicit that feeling so frequently, consistently, and authentically. It’s a rare and laudable accomplishment, the one which propelled the franchise to great heights in the late 2000s and that lives on in ROCK-BAND 4.

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Now Playing: ROCK-BAND 4 – Video Review

Still got your cymbals? Mad Catz add-ons worked for all of us!
While this fourth installment ditches ROCK-BAND 3’s button-heavy Pro Guitar and superfluous keyboard controller, the core gameplay remains almost totally unchanged. You (and ideally some of friends and family) can grab a classic five-button guitar controller, plastic drum kit, or USB microphone to complement scrolling, color-coded notes with time with a number of qualified tracks from rock gods like Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, and, uh, Bruno Mars. As before, your instrument’s audio tracks drops out when you begin missing notes, but maintaining an unbroken streak increases your combo multiplier, Overdrive meter, and number of stars earned. So yes, it’s specifically the gameplay you know and love.

Unfortunately, therein lies the problem. Great as that gameplay could be, ROCK-BAND 4 does little to tell apart itself from its predecessors beyond a small number of hit-or-miss ideas and, sometimes, even takes a tiny step backwards. For instance, the game’s loosely story-driven campaign mode follows the same rote formula utilized by several previous music games: select multi-song ”shows” from a global map, earn stars and fans to unlock new shows, etc.

ROCK-BAND 2 handled this same subject material in an even more elegant way. Reacall those loading screens that showed your band casually hanging out a heavily lived-in practice space or riding the subway with almost all their instruments in tow? Simple because they were, those scenes subtly relayed a tale in an exceedingly universal way. This game? Only expositional menu text, which made any feelings of immersion or investment practically impossible.

Unfortunately, therein lies the problem. Great as that gameplay could be, ROCK-BAND 4 does little to tell apart itself from its predecessors beyond a small number of hit-or-miss ideas and, in some instances, even takes a tiny step backwards.

Even the game’s opening cutscene–which were generally massive, over-the-top spectacles bursting with personality in previous games–just shows your band tuning through to stage for some seconds. It’s disappointingly predictable and boring, even though none of the detracts from your capability to rock out with Ozzy, it can feel just like a missed opportunity.

Character customization doesn’t fare far better. Where previous games provided a respectably deep well of options, ROCK-BAND 4 doesn’t even enable you to change a character’s physique. You can eventually unlock a whole wardrobe of wacky outfits, but for the reason that vast majority of these options must be slowly but surely earned through campaign progression, I came across it difficult to build up a feeling of ownership over my band.

Compounding this insufficient ownership: the overall game forces you to use pre-created ”stand in” characters anytime friends and family aren’t show play as your custom characters, this means it’s literally impossible to keep a constant lineup. Considering that a band is, by definition, a set group, that’s a fairly frustrating betrayal of the rock-n-roll fantasy the campaign was created to fulfill.

Sure these characters look cool, however the customization options are actually pretty limited.
Beyond the campaign, ROCK-BAND 4 also offers a fresh, slightly richer Quickplay mode appropriately named ”Play A Show.” Whenever a track ends, Play A Show presents players with an array of songs and lets band members vote on what things to play next the same manner some shooters let lobby members vote on another map.

It’s a novel proven fact that occasionally proved convenient, but it’s also sort of pointless when you’re standing in the same room as the others of your band. ROCK-BAND 4 eliminates synchronous online multiplayer, even though that’s not really a huge loss, it can mean anytime you’re using other persons you can just turn one to the other and have, ”Okay, what’s next?” Just like the campaign’s story elements, this mode doesn’t diminish your capability to enjoy the gameplay, but it addittionally doesn’t add much to the entire experience.

Beyond those modes, ROCK-BAND 4 feels a lttle bit content light. Bafflingly, you won’t discover a practice mode, for example, or anything resembling, say, Rocksmith 2014’s assortment of Guitarcade mini-games. You will, however, locate a handful of crucial tutorials for ROCK-BAND 4’s one truly original and truly exceptional idea: Freestyle Solos. During the past, the team at Harmonix painstakingly authored just about every note of a song’s recorded solo. That style continues to be a choice, but Freestyle Solos are actually on by default.

Beyond those modes, ROCK-BAND 4 feels a lttle bit content light. Bafflingly, you won’t discover a practice mode, for example, or anything resembling, say, Rocksmith 2014’s assortment of Guitarcade mini-games.

Accordingly, sections which were previously populated with colorful notes now cave in to less cluttered runways filled up with subtler visual cues. If you wish to keep your combo multiplier, you could possibly be asked to carry notes on the high frets or strum 16th notes on the low buttons according to the pattern displayed on the track. Whether or not you follow along or maybe totally do your own thing, the overall game will create a unique new solo that matches your inputs.

Just like the old drum fill sections, mashing buttons randomly creates a disruptive cacophony that momentarily ruins the song, but once I took enough time to essentially internalize those tutorials, I began to understand how complex this mechanic is really. It uses logical abstractions of several real-life guitar techniques–from finger tapping to feedback–to equip players with a complete palette of sonic tools.

In the event that you implement these techniques thoughtfully, it is possible to create some awesome sounding stuff. Like, surprisingly cool. And it’s weirdly addictive. It’s not similar adrenaline-fueled, fist-pumping thrill of nailing every note in an extremely technical section, but there can be an unexpected sense of discovery and reward. Just turn up Endless Solo Mode and riff over entire songs until you’re comfortable.

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Guitarists aren’t the only kinds who get yourself a little added room for creativity. As well as the inclusion of three part harmonies, singers is now able to earn points for singing basically anything in the proper key. Similarly, drummers will have three options with regards to solo sections: Static Fills, which mirror using the recorded fill; Classic Fills, which enable you to just go nuts; and Dynamic Fills, which pull a random, pre-authored fill from a library, providing a welcome compromise between your chaos of Classic Fills and the predictability of Static Fills.

Of course, most of this–the solos, the modes, the story–means nothing without the proper soundtrack. Sadly, ROCK-BAND 4 provides the weakest collection of songs of any ROCK-BAND game to date: less popular tracks from big name artists, songs from smaller acts a lot of us aren’t acquainted with, and only a small number of genuinely exciting bangers.

That doesn’t mean the complete game’s a lost cause, though. Sure, the tracklist looks just a little underwhelming at first, however the on-disc songs still provide enough variety to keep repetition away for a good few hours. Plus, I guarantee you’ll discover a few new favorites among the bunch. There are a few seriously inspired choices here, Protomen being truly a prime example. I was constantly amazed by the tracks I didn’t know beforehand, so when it involves the classics, I’ve one word for you personally: PANAMA. PANAMA-AH.

There are several seriously inspired choices here, Protomen being truly a prime example

There’s an added factor to consider here aswell: DLC. According to Harmonix, you’ll eventually manage to re-download practically every song you already own, with over 900 legacy tracks offered by launch and roughly 800 more to arrive the next couple of months. Basically, if you own a song, the machine will recognize it and enable you to download the track to your brand-new console for free. Better still, those classic tracks have already been re-worked to add new ROCK-BAND 4 functionality like Freestyle Solos.

We were unable to check this functionality since it was not available ahead of launch but, suffice it to state a more substantial song library would drastically improve ROCK-BAND 4’s appeal. In case you have a huge amount of songs languishing on a vintage account, that is your chance to provide them new life and grow your ROCK-BAND 4 library with hand-picked personal favorites from among the wealth of excellent songs obtainable in Rock Band’s robust, feature-rich store. It’s disappointing ROCK-BAND 4’s on-disc offerings aren’t stronger, but at least the ROCK-BAND platform remains as strong as ever.

As always, Harmonix’s authored note tracks prove exceptionally inventive, taking advantage of each song’s unique rhythms and arrangements. Even songs I wouldn’t necessarily pay attention to in real life finished up being truly a blast to play. The many difficulty levels felt sensible, rarely dragging into boredom or spiking into impossibility. I even attempted the always challenging Breakneck Speed option, which accelerates note tracks to a comically fast pace.

ROCK-BAND 4’s new hardware looks and feels almost identical to previous models, so there’s you don’t need to upgrade if your old gear continues to be collecting dust in a closet. According to Harmonix, a considerable most that old equipment will be appropriate for ROCK-BAND 4. We were not able able to gather all of the gear and test drive it ourselves, but Mad Catz created a chart that outlines specifically what they believe works and doesn’t work.

Backwards-compatibility would make ROCK-BAND 4 more accessible and appealing, but if you sold off your entire instruments years back, don’t worry: the brand new gear works just fine. Once in a while the game didn’t register an email I swear I hit, nonetheless it wasn’t frequent or regular enough to essentially raise any warning flag.

ROCK-BAND 4 recaptures the unadulterated gratification that made the series such popular half of a decade ago, but due to the fact it’s a comparatively unchanged, repackaged ROCK-BAND 2. Too little content and general stagnation hold this specific iteration of ROCK-BAND back, but new ideas like Freestyle Solos genuinely improve the core experience, which remains a sincere and joyful celebration of music.