Rock Band 4 – A New Era of Rhythm Gaming

Plastic instruments around the world have been slowly working their way into people’s garages and lofts for the last couple of years, ever since the great rhythm game boom slowly died off and became stagnant. It was a great time, I owned many of the games and practically had an orchestra’s worth of pretend instruments, which saw hundreds of hours of usage between me and my friends when we were having house parties, or just kicking back with a few beers.

Now it seems those good times of jamming with your friends are back, for what feels like something of a reunion tour and hopefully not the last one. Harmonix is back with Rock Band 4, with new songs, new instruments and given the few years it has been since the last one, a new audience to entice into the rhythm game market.

There’s a notable omission from the game this time around, however, as there is a lack of online multiplayer, which is a big issue for those who live far from their friends. On the plus side, this game is locked and loaded for local co-op gaming, allowing you and your friends to play drums and guitars, as well as sing vocals. Whether or not online multiplayer being missing is a deal breaker for you will vary, but for me, it’s not a feature I would be using. The game is missing a few small features, but all that could change in the near future, as Harmonix has made it no secret that they’re using the base game as a content platform, with new features, songs and who knows what else coming through various updates, with several in the works already.

Setting up the instruments is easy enough, as they’re all intuitive as far as where all the components go and as a bonus, you’ll find batteries included, as all instruments bar the microphone are wireless. The drum controller has been massively updated, although it still keeps the look and shape you’ll be familiar with. It’s more responsive, durable and from what I can tell, a little quieter too! The pads are velocity sensitive, the kick pedal is durable and has a responsive spring that makes it feel natural and as a nice bonus, the included sticks are of a very nice quality; they’ll feel right at home in the hands of anyone who’s played a real drum kit.

The guitar looks stunning, a Stratocaster copy with dual neck buttons. The first five at the top of the neck, the rest above the 12th fret area for some solo and tapping action; if you’re feeling adept enough. I’ve been a Guitar Hero veteran for years and I can still hear the squeaky and clicky strum bar in my nightmares. Those days are gone, the MadCatz guitar is super quiet, and the buttons have a really nice action that’s forgiving for those who don’t hit them dead-center. Put simply, the partnership between Harmonix and MadCatz has paid off really well, as the instruments are the best this sector of the market has ever seen and they’re an absolute joy to use.

Gameplay on Rock Band 4 is right where you would expect it to be, somehow everything is new and tweaked, but at the core, it still feels like the same old game. This is a good thing and a bad thing, those looking for a new dynamic will like the new improvisation sections, but at the end of it all, it’s the same core game we came to know and love in the past. The song selection is quite diverse, offering everything from System of a Down to Uptown Funk (like we’ve not had enough of that one already), but there’s enough in there for the music lovers and the karaoke addicts to blunder their way through and keep people entertained. Of course, there’s also a huge library of legacy songs, as well as DLC tracks that are already coming thick and fast, so there’s going to be no shortage to stuff to play anytime soon.

View the complete song list here and view the complete list of legacy song here

The main “quest” if you will is entertaining enough to warrant a play through, but doesn’t span the difficulty levels as well as previous games in the series. On the plus side, you can swap instruments and even difficulty levels mid-song, meaning you’re less inclined to quit the song when things go wrong. The higher difficulties are a hell of a challenge and a lot of fun, but those wanting something more authentic can invest in the Pro Cymbal kit which launches later this year, as this will unlock Pro mode for the drums.

What this game really lacks though it big hitting tracks, sure there are a few great bands, but they’re not usually the “hits” of their respective albums. This is likely due to most of the best songs being done already with previous entries in the series, but it’s still no excuse. The DLC and more so the legacy library does patch that up nicely, but there’s still no excuses for having two U2 songs here by any measure.

Overall, great fun, incredible new instruments and a good selection of fun to play tracks to get you started. It doesn’t feel as fresh as I was hoping, but with more songs on the way, the drum cymbal add-on now available for pre-order and the promise of plenty of updates to the core game, this is still the best entry in the Rock Band franchise to date and it’s going to be a big contender this holiday season. If you’re looking to get back into rhythm gaming, you’ll not find anything better.

Rock Band 4 – Band in a Box comes with the guitar, microphone, drums and the game for $249.99, while the Triple Cymbal Expansion Kit will set you back an additional $49.99. The standalone game with the guitar is just $129.99. In the UK, the Band in a Box is £219.99, the Guitar and game is £109.99 and the drum cymbals are £39.99.

Pros

  • Exceptional quality instruments
  • All songs available to play without completing main quest
  • Drop in – drop out gameplay
  • Good range of musical styles available
  • Huge DLC library
  • Expandable drum kit
  • Virtually silent guitar

Cons

  • No online multiplay

Neutral

  • Drums expansion kit not available at launch
  • DLC prices can quickly add up to a small fortune, but with licencing rights, this is understandable
  • Not as many big hits in the base game as previous entries in the series

“Rock Band 4 is the best entry in the series so far, with the best instruments ever to bless rhythm gaming and a huge library of songs available to choose from. If you’re looking for the ultimate party game, this is it!”

 

 

Rock Band 4 Launches Today With Over 1700 Songs Available

Today is the day a lot of people have been looking forward to, I am sure of that. Today is the day that the brand new Rock Band 4 is being released and it looks like it easily could be the best in the series yet. Harmonix and Mad Catz have both been hard at work on this release where Harmonix has created the game and Mad Catz the hardware to go along with it as well as the physical distribution.

Rock Band 4 will be available today, October the 6th, for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and there will be more than 1700 songs available upon launch. That’s a lot of songs to master. Available products on launch day include the Rock Band 4 video game, stand-alone software, Band-in-a-Box Bundle, and Wireless Fender Stratocaster Guitar Bundle. The Fender bundle will probably be the most popular one, at least that’s my prediction.

Through the Rock Band Music Store, more than 1700 songs will be available on day one. This includes tracks from the series’ incredible back catalog of music but fully updated to include the new gameplay features in Rock Band 4. Players can rock to these tracks and enjoy new Freestyle Guitar Solos, Freestyle Vocals, and Dynamic Drums Fills, even while touring the world with their band in the game’s new expanded campaign.

One of the downsides is that you have to purchase a lot of the songs from the store at a price of $1.99 each, but there is also good news for those who previously played Rock Band in the previous versions. If you already owned a song there and you stay on the same platform, PlayStation or Xbox, then you’ll be able to get those songs again for no additional cost.

Some of the new Tracks available:

  • All That Remains – “Divide”
  • All That Remains – “What If I Was Nothing”
  • BABYMETAL – “Gimme Chocolate!!”
  • Blitz Kids – “Run For Cover”
  • Bring Me The Horizon – “Throne”
  • Dead Sara – “Mona Lisa”
  • Duran Duran – “The Reflex”
  • Earth, Wind & Fire – “September”
  • Interpol – “All The Rage Back Home”
  • Janis Joplin – “Move Over”
  • Jefferson Starship – “Jane”
  • Linkin Park ft. Daron Malakian – “Rebellion”
  • Marilyn Manson – “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles”
  • Mastodon – “High Road”
  • My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday”
  • Of Mice & Men – “Would You Still Be There”
  • Oh Honey – “Sugar, You”
  • Pantera – “Cowboys From Hell (Live From Monsters In Moscow Festival)”
  • Pierce the Veil ft. Kellin Quinn – “King for a Day”
  • Seasick Steve – “Summertime Boy”
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic – “My Own Eyes”
  • The Wild Feathers – “Backwoods Company”

The Nintendo Guitar Boy Mod is Sublime

Over the years, I’ve seen my fair share of outrageous custom guitars but the ‘Guitar Boy’ is a rockin’ retro-gaming masterpiece. This design was made by [Fibbef], an administrator on the BitFixGaming forum which was built as an exhibition piece for the 2015 Game Boy Classic build off. The project took around 3 months to complete and features a fully-functional Raspberry Pi B+ running RetroPie v2.3. Furthermore, there is a 5-inch display, hand-made wooden buttons and a plexiglass cover.

You can check out the entire build log here which provides a in-depth walkthrough through the build process. Surprisingly, the finished product can be used as a Game Boy with a host of integrated ROMs or a traditional electric guitar. Funnily enough, the A and B buttons perform the standard game controls but also required to alter the volume/tone on the guitar’s pickups. Another highlight is you can play the game’s music through the guitar with a more electric-sounding theme.

If I had one area of complaint, it’s that the neck is quite bland and looks rather cheap. Ideally, this could have featured a decal or perhaps a Pokemon colour scheme. Nevertheless, the final result is technically impressive and a really intriguing creation. The video below illustrates the guitar’s functionality and the creator discusses it in more detail.

What is your favourite Game Boy game?

Thank you Hackaday for providing us with this information.

Guitar Hero Live New Guitar Revealed

It has been a few years since Guitar Hero had a new version released; Guitar Hero Live sets to bring back what everyone loved about the original series with a new twist.

So we know about the game, but what about the iconic controller? With each leap in the franchise, they introduced a new guitar design. Starting off with the original almost Ukelele size design, very basic functions. Then we moved onto the more iconic Gibson Les Paul look-a-like, a little larger than the original and a nicer fit. We then saw a move onto the World Tour Guitar, simplified design but with the addition of the slider bar to get those combo’s with ease.

The new controller resembles the World Tour controller the most, but with a more authentic design and look. With a wood colour neck and more concealed buttons, this reminds me more so of the Rock Band controller.

 

Along with a more authentic look, the developers have also ported what seems like some of the game mechanics onto mobile devices. It’s unclear if this will be a mobile game version that interlinks to the main game, or just a mobile controller.

Do you like the new looks of the new design? What do you think of the removal of the slide bar? Let us know in the comments.

Twitch Streamer Uses Xbox Rock Band Guitar on Bloodborn

What do you get when you mix a Xbox 360 Rock Band 1 Guitar controller with a PS4 version of Bloodborne? Well, a bit of a headache getting it to work at first, but eventually an epic ‘Guitarborne’ gameplay video, as Twitch streamer bearzly names it.

It looks like the guy really has some crazy ideas up his sleeves, but at the same time, they are most entertaining to watch. Also, the Guitarborne stream is not his first, according to his Twitch profile. He has performed many ‘terrible controllers’ runs of different games, but mostly Dark Souls, as he states he is a huge fan of the Souls series.

Aside from his latest Guitarborne video, he appears to have made a Drum Borne (drum controller), piano controller, one finger, Wiimote & Nunchucks and Bongo Souls (bongo controller) videos. Other videos he has in the planning stages include controllers such as the DDR Pad, Maracas, Katana, N64, SNES, Powerglove and Kinect.

Twitch users can also suggest him other crazy controllers and have him try to make an epic video out of them. At present, the hardest controller he used to play on and stream with is the piano Rock Band 3 controller, experiencing a lot of problems with running straight on the thing. Still, the videos are epic!

Watch some of his videos, including the Guitarborne one, below:

If you want to watch more of his videos, head on over to his Twitch profile. What do you think? Have any crazy controller ideas in mind?

Image courtesy of IGN

Create Your Own Fully Working 3D Printed Guitar

3D printing may not be a technology we all have at our disposal, but there’s no doubt that it’s still an incredible technology, that is becoming more affordable almost every day. YouTuber Solstie has created a fully functional 3D printed guitar that can be created without supports, contains a fully 3D printed neck and frets; you can even print your own today, so long as you have access to a printer of course.

There’s no wood core or anything like that to deal with, the only parts you’re going to need are a set of tuning pegs and the strings, which you can get from virtually any guitar store for around £20/$30.

You can download the file and print your own guitar here. Want to see the guitar in action? Check out the video below!

As a guitarist of 15 years, I find this very cool, to have a readily available, playable and cheap guitar that can be made in a day. They’re perfect for a cheap learning tool and a fantastic demonstration of what can be done with 3D printing technology.

Bandfuse: Rock Legends Demo Kiosks Now Available At Guitar Center

BandFuse: Rock Legends, the music video game where legendary rockers transform players into real-world guitarists, bassists and vocalists, is now available to rock at demo stations in select Guitar Center locations nationwide. The demo kiosks feature a playable copy of the game where aspiring musicians can jump in and get a taste of the songs, the real world animated tablature and the in-game rock legends that are a part of the learning experience in BandFuse: Rock Legends.

A list of participating Guitar Center locations can be found here.

Only Guitar Center offers the ‘BandFuse: Rock Legends Guitar Bundle’ (MSRP $179.99), the exclusive, specially-priced starter pack for players that includes a Fender Squier Bullet guitar, the BandFuse: Rock Legends video game (Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3), and a BandFuse guitar cable.

“Reigniting the music video game genre with the only scored four-player guitar, bass and vocal experience on console, BandFuse: Rock Legends’ stellar lineup of acclaimed talent, authentic animated tablature and lag-free audio, unleashes a full band experience for players of all skill levels.” – Bandfuse

Seamlessly connecting real guitars, basses and microphones to game consoles, BandFuse: Rock Legends empowers players to jam to a fully unlocked library of hit songs from rock to metal and punk to funk, featuring 55 massive genre-jumping songs. BandFuse: Rock Legends features six string and bass guitar instruction by a platinum cast of musicians including master guitar instructor Slash, joined by Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society), Mike Ness (Social Distortion), Bootsy Collins (Parliament/Funkadelic, Rubber Band), George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob), Zoltán Báthory and Jason Hook (Five Finger Death Punch), and Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom).

[youtube]http://youtu.be/ST4NGLB22bI[/youtube]

A European release date will be announced soon.

Thank you Bandfuse for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Bandfuse.

Ubisoft To Launch Rocksmith 2014 Edition This Week

Today, Ubisoft announced that Rocksmith 2014 Edition will be available in the UK from October 25th, 2013. Rocksmith 2014 Edition builds upon the initial success of Rocksmith, which innovatively and effectively taught over 1.5 million players how to play the guitar.

Having been a guitarist for 16 years now, I was skeptical of Rocksmith and while I think it took me longer to learn how to play the game than I had hoped, it can be a lot of fun, think of it like an educational but still really fun and obviously realistic Guitar Hero and you’ve got a rough idea of what the game is like.

Rocksmith 2014 Edition offers a completely redesigned interface, as well as the addition of all-new features, techniques, tunings and modes. Now with Rocksmith 2014 Edition, aspiring guitarists can learn to play in just 60 days (Ubisoft’s words, not mine).

The game will now bring “session mode” which allows you to create your own songs using a virtual band, and “instant riff repeater” that lets you loop and rehearse sections your struggling with.

Rocksmith 2014 Edition also features a brand new track list with no less than 55 hit tracks and rock n’ roll anthems, including “Knights Of Cydonia” by Muse, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis, Losing My Religion by R.E.M., “Paint It, Black” by The Rolling Stones, “The Chimera” by The Smashing Pumpkins, “Every Breath You Take” by The Police or Foo Fighters’ “Everlong”.

The standard edition of the game includes the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable, a unique ¼” to USB cable that was developed exclusively for the original Rocksmith. The guitar bundle (Available exclusively with Amazon in the UK) provides a quality entry-level option for people that have always wanted to play but don’t own a guitar. The bundle includes an Epiphone Les Paul Jr guitar, along with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable. For people that already own the original Rocksmith and have access to the Real Tone Cable, the game only version is available.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/wahRKFnduns[/youtube]

Thank you Ubisoft for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ubisoft.

Gittler Launch All Titanium Guitar On Kickstarter – No Neck Or Body!

The guitar is a pretty “traditional” instrument – the core design of the guitar hasn’t really changed for decades, maybe even centuries. Sure some decades ago the world developed the electric guitar alongside the long-running acoustic guitar and since then we’ve made significant advances to electric guitar technology. Yet nothing has really changed the concept of the guitar in a revolutionary way – but Gittler are hoping to do that.

The Gittler Guitar is made from titanium and is unique in that it ditches the neck and it ditches the body. Why? Well Gittler believe that tone woods are redundant and that the basic elements of vibration and gain are the only truly indispensable elements at work when playing a guitar – so the Gittler Guitar aims to remove the unnecessary parts of the guitar. Allan Gittler likened guitars as we know them to all molding their designs from the same piece of clay.

The Gittler Guitar itself isn’t necessary new, it was launched and patented in 1970s by Allan Gittler, though very few were made and they now mainly reside in museums. The Gittler Guitar is made from aircraft grade 6AL-4V Titanium and is 100% Roland compatible.

On Kickstarter backers can get in on the Gittler action and buy it at a “reduced price” of $3995 or grab the special edition for $4995. Gittler say that your Kickstarter pledge becomes a deposit for the guitar and you can pay the rest once your item is complete.

Check out more details on this fascinating guitar right here.

Image courtesy of Gittler (Kickstarter)