Rock Band 4 Review
Rock Band is back and in full force. Harmonix brings us the latest iteration of the popular rhythm series to sing, shred on the guitar, slap the bass, and drum with up to 6 people at a time. The game’s setlist includes 65 songs making it the shortest Rock Band game from the main series. Not only is this setlist short it is also very week compared to songs in previous Rock Band titles, there were only a couple of songs that really stood out to me like Rush’s “Journey to Bankok”, Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Eyes”, and Van Halen’s “Panama”, which also marks the band’s debut to the series.
Regardless of the weak setlist, the game’s Tour Mode (story) excels wonderfully unlike previous entries because the first couple of Rock Band games’ tour mode felt like an endless setlist of songs being repeated constantly, making it repetitive. With Rock Band 4 the players have more control over what song is being played and when it is played, especially with the inclusion of previously purchased DLC songs. Yes, the majority of the DLC you purchased in Rock Band 1-3 and Green Day Rock Band will work in this game as long as you stay within the same family of consoles (PS3 to PS4 and Xbox 360 to Xbox One). Another new addition to the Tour Mode granting you the opportunity to mold your road to rock stardom by choosing which fans you want for your band and earning money from their support unlock outfits and instruments earlier rather later in your band’s career. Besides unlocking clothes and instruments there is no real incentive to play through the story as there isn’t no complex narrative or nuances to follow. Your career mode, like the other Rock Band games, is focused on making you band the most lucrative and famous. Do not fear though because if Tour Mode doesn’t appeal to you then you can spend most of your time in quickplay, the core of the game, where all the songs are unlocked from the get go for your rocking out pleasure.
The overall game play of Rock Band 4 has not changed drastically from past iterations. The new freestyle guitar solos that replace the chart’s jewels in exchange for bright neon colors and symbols guide the player to play the best possible solos for maximum points. You can completely ignore these though and wail on the guitar frets as you see fit to receive a good chunk of the points. Sounds confusing, but the in-game tutorials do a great job in explaining how to go about the freestyle solos. Personally I prefer the charted solos over the freestyle solos because free styling alters the song too much, practically rendering the song will unrecognizable. Thankfully, the freestyle guitar solos can be toggled on and off with a single push of the d-pad on the guitar during a song or in the options menu. The drums, the bass, and the vocals (up to 3) haven’t changed much either and that’s not entirely a bad thing as the game continues to be fun and enjoyable while retaining some form of novelty.
Fans of yesteryear’s rhythm games will find much pleasure with Rock Band 4 even with such a lacking setlist. Rock Band 4 is more of what you enjoyed playing years ago, especially with friends and family.
*All of your old Rock Band/Guitar Hero controllers will work on RB4 as well giving old players an incentive to return on the latest iteration of Rock Band.
**Despite the game playing well, there are issues with disconnecting controllers randomly and Harmonix has stated already that an update fixing this issue is on the way soon.