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Harmonix Announces Rock Band Blitz for PSN and XBLA, Releases This Summer


Harmonix, the brilliant minds behind the original Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and the old classics barely anyone played FreQuency and its sequel Amplitude, have announced what they hope will be their next big thing: Rock Band Blitz, a seemingly more casual music-rhythm-puzzler Rock Band experience. The game is slated to be a PSN and XBLA release, so it’s currently targeted for a summer release, which isn’t too far away.

To Harmonix enthusiasts, the game will be instantly familiar, as it mostly resembles Harmonix’s PSP outing, Rock Band Unplugged, which in turn was inspired by Harmonix’s earlier (and still awesome) rhythm games, FreQuency and Amplitude.

The game will launch with 25 songs, which can be played inside Rock Band 3. However, as any Harmonix fan knows, they have mastered releasing actually good, not insulting DLC, and the current overall Rock Band library consists of over 3,500 songs. All of these songs will reportedly be playable in Rock Band Blitz, which is nothing short of incredible.

Perhaps the biggest change to this new Harmonix outing is that they’re reducing the amount of musical gems to a meager two — with FreQ and Amp being the former least, with three gems per track. Both Guitar Hero and Rock Band (not counting RB3’s pro mode) relied on five gems, while the PSP outing required four. As a very avid Harmonix game fan, reducing the load to only two gems worries me, but the company hasn’t steered me wrong before.

Blitz project director Matthew Nordhaus told The Verge that the two main reasons why they decided on only two gems is because two gems were better suited for the modern controller, and only having to focus on two gems takes the load off and allows the player to focus more on what is coming up down the track, thus providing a more strategic element. As someone who heavily played Freq, Amp, and Rock Band Unplugged — all of which have more than two gems — I can’t say I agree with these two given reasons, as Freq and Amp worked wonderfully with the PS2 controller, a controller that is more or less the same as the “modern day” controller that Nordhaus describes. Obviously, I’ll have to play it to find out.

Even though FreQuency and Amplitude employed a fun multiplayer mode — with Amplitude actually being one of the early online console games for the PlayStation 2 — and Rock Band eventually delivered one of the best and most comprehensive multiplayer gaming experiences to date, Blitz will decidedly focus on single player, with multiplayer being left to leaderboards.

For those that have been waiting for a new FreQuency or Amplitude, or even a new Rock Band Unplugged, Blitz looks to be what we’re getting for now. Only two gems per track is quite worrisome for this hardened Harmonix gamer, but as I said, they haven’t steered me wrong before, and all of my Rock Band DLC that filled up every last drop of my PlayStation 3’s hard drive space will now have a new lease on life, and won’t require me to make space in my room and compile a bunch of large plastic instruments.

Basically, I cautiously can’t wait.

(via Joystiq, The Verge)

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