Screenshot
Screenshot

Become the Rock Legend you dream of with Rock Band 4!

After what felt like an eternity (alongside the fact that my instruments practically broke down from constant usage), being able to play really had me hyped. But how come after playing through every single of my songs do I still feel empty. It can’t be loneliness because it is still at the forefront of many house parties. Could it be the song library? It can’t be that either since at launch they ported over at least 1500 previous DLC they released. Then what can it be? Oh, it’s the fact that the game itself is empty.

RockBand4_Screenshot06_GuitarSolo_2015-08-03-10amETWith Rock Band 4, Harmonix decided to concentrate on what made Rock Band what it was today. They wanted to go back to what Rock Band was all about. Jamming out to your favorite songs, old and new. At its roots it’s still your basic Rock Band game; notes coming down a highway and hitting them with succession. The biggest feature is the addition of freestyle solos. Instead of individual notes during a solo section, it is replaced by lines that the appear on a certain beat. Here you can press the frets anyway you want. Only thing you are required is to hit the strum bar to pace they set. 

They also revamped the option to play a set list, instead you pick the initial song and once you finish the song a list of new ones come up and you vote on the next one. Along with the option to drop in and out of songs and change difficulties on the fly, it keeps the party momentum going. The downside this is they removed the option to just pick the whole set list you would like to play from the start.

Tour mode is back but it feels more like a downgrade with the removal of the loading animations. You know, the ones where your band is shown riding a limo or doing a sound check. While you still have the choices after every section of the tour. It feels more like a “Choose your next bonus” instead of feeling like a choose your own adventure. They do however cause little quirks at the end of the tour like having to shave your hair since you contracted lice from a fan’s bird.

RockBand4_Screenshot07_noHUD_2015-08-03-10amETCertain features are not in the game at all like online multiplayer, practice mode, and a robust character creation system. Two of these are really big omissions. Harmonix did however ensured they are listening to the fans and updates are coming. This is what makes Rock Band 4 interesting. It will be the last Rock Band game to be released. Because of this they are going to continue to support RB4 with updates and new features well into the future. Sounds like they want to avoid flooding the market with plastic instruments again.

Speaking of which they got rid of Pro Guitar, and the keytar entirely. While this is a huge blow to those that invested in those instruments. According to Harmonix, they surveyed many Rock Band fans and found out many did not really care for those instruments.  Luckily for me they decided to stick with Pro Drums since the support for it has been built in since Rock Band 1. That being said, Harmonix tried to support as many legacy instruments as they could. They included every single wireless rock band instrument including RB1. They also managed to support most Guitar Hero guitars including some early ones, which is a nice bonus. With this you would be able to purchase any of the two standalone versions and continue rocking out. Madcatz did release updated instruments alongside with the game as well. You can tell they put some thought into them to make sure they would last. The pads on the drums feel like a tougher rubber. The neck on guitar feels less “plasticky.” They also included the option to update the firmware just in case some issues do arise.

RockBand4_Screenshot10_VocalImprov_2015-08-03-10amETThe on disc songs are somewhat lackluster but some big names are here like Bruno Mars’s Uptown Funk and ever popular Panama by Van Halen. This fault is overshadowed by the fact the 1500+ legacy DLC library was updated and ported to the next gen consoles. A feat that sounded impossible, so I give Harmonix a round of applause for that. Another commendable act on their part is that you would be able to re-download every song you have purchased in older versions of Rock Band free of charge for this new game. As for those newcomers to the series, having access to such a robust song library with so many varying styles will please any fan. The price for each song did however increase to $1.99, but this is due in part adding freestyle solos to every song in the library.

At the end of the day this game is just more Rock Band. I could spend all day tearing this game apart, but if the game does exactly as what it advertise can I really blame it. Besides Harmonix is planning to release new updates over time with the first update coming around the corner. One the plan updates is variable breakneck speed which would be nice. So for now if you have working instruments I recommend staying on Rock Band 3 until the game is feature heavy. Otherwise Rock Band 4 is solid update and it’s here to stay.

 

Pros:
  • More Rock Band!!
  • New and updated instruments.
  • Van Halen!!!
Cons:
  • No Online, Practice Mode.
  • Weak character creation.
  • Lackluster Story.
Graphics Pixl Score 3 3
Story Pixl Score 2 2
Sound Pixl Score 5 5
Controls Pixl Score 5 5
Fun Factor Pixl Score 5 5