The life of a virtual guitargod... How RB4 still misses the mark.


Shared on Tue, 01/17/2017 - 04:08

One would think that a company like Harmonix, the fathers of the Guitroller, would hit the ground running when they were granted a new lease on life with the launch of the Xbox One. The Rythm-gaming scene, more paraplegic than healthy, needed the impulse for sure. I believe that a new entry in a franchise shouldn't be judged by what came before, even more sure if what came before has nothing to do with the core-gameplay. But at the same time its rather hard to boot RB4, see what's going on and then not feel taken seriously and robbed from your investment. Game plus Guitroller sets you back a good €150,- afterall. But its still a false emotion as the core gameplay still stands like a house and jumping around in your livingroom while Guitrolling 'Spirit of '76' doesn't need, uhm, more cowbell.

Yet, when the apex-game in the franchise is the 360's swansong offering and by far the most polished rythm-game ever, offering more cowbell then a 80's hairband with a pyrotechnics fetish.., then looking at RB4 can only lead to the conclusion that this latest offering is just plain sad. Its pathetic.

Harmonix stepped to the plate however and offered at first some free songs. Uninteresting millenial excretes with little musical merit, but still an olivebranch to the disgruntled hard-core guitroller-gods like I. Harmonix quickly followed it up by allowing us to redownload our entire existing libraries onto the new game (Apart from the packs like the Greenday and AC/DC expandalones.), but that in itself didn't help the terrifyingly dull and overly boring, obviously phoned in, game that polluted our limited HDD-space much. A pig with lipstick on is still a pig and completing the look with a tutu just makes the entire exercise a gringefest.

Harmonix went back to the drawingboard and returned with RB4 Rivals. Pitched as an overhaul worth paying for, Rivals nevertheless isn't an overhaul but a bolted on challengemode with a-synchronous multi-player. There surely is enough to like as RB4 now offers a RPG-lite progression system, weekly and monthly point-challenges and leagues one can promoted to or demoted from. One can start a crew and make a 'band' with friends who are supposed to complete the challenges and buff the crew's shared points and crew-XP in order to rise the ranking-system. The problem here is that RB4 doesn't have true multi-player. Everyone in the crew contributes in their own time and the only way in which they can check the effect of their toils is by seeing numbers change on a stats-screen that's awkwardly buried in the main-screen menu.

While the above is in a sense absolutely fine as it does away with timezone problems and people don't have to clear agendas to emulate Queen performing Bohemian Rhapsody anymore, RB4 is still held back by the mere fact that it is the most bloodless game ever coded. The atmosphere and charm we came to love from RB3 is nowhere to be found, the many options to costumize our avatar and other less important band-members (Do be honest, CC.) are replaced with stuff that shows a level of creative bankruptness last seen in Ubisoft's open-world design-team and nothing that's further presented to the player has any intention of keeping that player vested. RB4 Rivals did add much needed depth, there's no question about that and it would be unfair to state otherwise, but the game is otherwise the awkward kid that's also cursed with a miniscule penis.

Speaking solely for myself, from a Rockband game I need, apart from my stupendously large library of songs;

True multi-player. Give me back my friends!! A-synchronous bass-domination is... the only gay eskimo.

Deep costumization. We're on a Xbox One for pete's sake! Where's the many options to shape our avatar? Why can't we design our own logo anymore? Moreover, why isn't there a 'design your own guitar' section? RB4 was the perfect opportunity for something that was in Guitar Hero 2 already.

I need more challenges, an option to download setlists from XBL, an option to upload my own setlists to XBL. I need the endless setlist with it's own achievement for it back! I need themed by Harmonix setlists, daily, weekly and monthly with participation achievements.

I need the charm, personality and atmosphere from the games that went before back in the franchise. I want to be taken out of my livingroom and feel like a stadium-rocker for three minutes and to bow for a non-existing audience afterwards.

I need Rockband 5, more or less. And true multi-player as a cherry on top.

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Big0ne's picture
Submitted by Big0ne on Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:04

The true multiplayer will be here next week. ;)  Also, you should be able to d/l your GD and AC/DC packs. I have.

I agree they fell short in a lot of areas but the new features for playing "shows" was much better than previous versions.  I also enjoyed the Rivals expansion to a degree.  It added "purpose" to your play but it also just turns into a grind fest in order to stay in your Tier. I recently got booted from a Crew 'cause I wasn't playing 100+ songs a week to keep up.  The biggest disappointment I had wasn't that with the new modes and features, but the fact that they dropped previous content.  They should build on, not replace in a game like this.

CrypticCat's picture
Submitted by CrypticCat on Wed, 01/18/2017 - 16:12

Big One, Add me on XBL, Java Monsoon and we can set up a crew together. You can set it up and invite me, or the other way around as I have no preference in that. I just got promoted into silver tier solo, but the main point being that there would be no pressure to both of us (and possible other 2o2p rockers eventually maybe) to remodel our lives to play songs.

I have investigated the possibilities to have my AC/DC expandalone in RB4, but unless I'm seriously overlooking something I have to assume that the ability to do this is region specific.

Big0ne's picture
Submitted by Big0ne on Thu, 01/19/2017 - 13:15

I've added you and I'll try to set up a band tonight. 2old2play maybe?

Go to your Rock Band Rivals game icon and hit the sandwich key (or whatever it's called) to manage game.  Under there you should have a "ready to install" tab that may contain your tracks.  I check there every so often as random songs will show up occasionally.


p.s. GT = B1GxFOOT

CrypticCat's picture
Submitted by CrypticCat on Fri, 01/20/2017 - 13:52

I think that's fine, BO! I have invited you to my ongoing solo-effort, but I have no problems joining your 2o2p-band instead. You might remember from my blogs that I'm ill wihout hope of recovery and through that disabled, so I can play and keep up the percentiles for the spotlight songs and the 'W'-songs quite comfortably.

I hope that I can complete my entire library eventually on the Xbone. Right now I'm keeping my 360 on hand to play the songs that I miss. Not really a problem to do it that way, but cumbersome none the less.

I'll see what you decide on whether to set up the 2o2p-band or to join based on my invite. I'm looking forward to shoot for the bloodstone-tier either way.


My standing right now in Silver tier is 93percentile on the spotlightsongs and 98percentile on the 'W'-songs.

Big0ne's picture
Submitted by Big0ne on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 11:01

I've been trying to get you invited into the crew (2old2play Crew) but the app and game can't find you.  I also can't seem to join yours.  Weird.

CrypticCat's picture
Submitted by CrypticCat on Mon, 01/23/2017 - 14:38

Hmmm... I'll invite you again. BTW, well done on 'More than a Feeling'! I struggle with the hopos in that song, lol

Edit: I have deleted my crew and applied to yours. We couldn't invite one another because we both were leaders of a crew. So you should find my apllication to your crew next time that you log on.

Big0ne's picture
Submitted by Big0ne on Tue, 01/24/2017 - 09:50

You're in.  I've already done enough work to promote us to the next tier. (Pretty easy at the Bronze level lol).  If you know of any other players looking for a very casual, do what you can when you can, crew let me know.  

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