Rockin’ All Night Long.
A couple of days ago Harmonix released a survey that wanted gamers’ opinions on a few things to do with the Rock band games. At the crux of that survey was a couple of questions that caught my eye, all of them relating to a possible future entry in the series. It got me thinking – “do we really need a new Rock Band?” – and to that, the answer is a resounding yes.
There’s a couple of different emotions gamers feel towards Rock Band – they’ve played it and enjoyed it, played it once or twice and was ‘meh’ about it or they just don’t like it at all. There’s not many other ways of going about it, as the series divided opinion (especially at its end), or for those that enjoyed it – it became a daily activity. It’s true – the plastic instruments were a pain to lug around and they took up space, DLC was a little pricey and you really had to put the time into Rock Band before you started to really enjoy it, but it was worth it in the end. The series brought families together, they broke the hearts of loved ones and they made competing for high scores a challenge that made us sweat and itch ferociously during songs such as This Calling by All That Remains. It was an amazing experience to gather some friends around and jam out (especially if you don’t play a real instrument) to songs you love.
Fast forward a couple of years. Guitar Hero was buried in the ground following about one hundred different mini-sequels that didn’t innovate in any way shape or form, bringing down Rock Band with it. Rocksmith – the younger, much cooler cousin of the music game genre has taken a step in the right direction and learned from the mistakes made by the others, the problem with it is however, that you have to want to learn to play guitar or bass to really get into it and that takes years upon years of daily practice. Your rock-imposed self can’t handle that. We need a renaissance of the plastic instruments, Rock Band needs to come back. Here’s why.
- It’s a social game – while a lot of us enjoyed jamming out by ourselves to songs like Dani California, All The Small Things and Smells Like Teen Spirit, Rock Band encouraged a social experience. Someone who was co-ordinated would bang out on the drums, a mildly-talented friend would hone the mic and two others would get their guitar and bass grooves on. Online multiplayer made not being sociable but playing with others easy, and blaming the drummer for failing the song became somewhat of a habit.
- Songs for everyone – Rock Band encouraged diversity. From punk hits like Fat Lip to hard rock anthems like Ace of Spades, there was something for everyone with Rock Band’s incredible line-up of tracks. Didn’t like what was on the disc? Go and buy some DLC because a) they’re not that pricey and b) you choose what you rock out to. Weekly DLC carried on for years upon years, and only recently has it halted.
- Unleashing the inner rock god – Learning an instrument is tough and requires years and years of practice. Practicing with a plastic instrument took time, yes, but no where near as much time as a real piece of gear. It took me roughly 2 years to go from easy to expert on Guitar, and that was only because I didn’t want to try my hand at anything above medium for the better part of that time.
- Impressing your friends – nothing beats scoring a blinder of a goal in Football or making an incredible run in Rugby, but second to that comes busting out one of the hardest songs in Rock Band on expert difficulty while your friends are lapping it up on easy. A confidence booster of epic, rocking proportions.
Rock Band was one of the biggest breakout hits during the last generation of consoles, it innovated with each entry and made it a breeze to play some of your favourite songs of all time. It’s been a missing piece in my library of new, current-generation games, and this news not only sparked a feeling of joy inside me, but it started to awaken my inner rock god again. Rock Band coming to the new generation of consoles needs to happen, and here’s hoping it’ll be making its undisputed return soon.
If you haven’t had a look at the survey yet, check it out. Let us know what your thoughts are on the series!