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Published on July 21st, 2015 | by gareth


Guitar Hero Live And Rock Band 4 Preview

During E3 2015 I got some hands on time with both Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live. It is interesting now have after taking a few years off, both iconic franchises are set to return now, but are both doing so with an eye to the future.

Take Guitar Hero Live for example. Activision has crafted a new guitar that replaces the old five colored button mode and replaced it with six buttons, three white, three black, stacked on top of one another on the left side of the fretboard.

The challenge now is not only to hit the notes as assigned, but to mix finger placements and show dexterity that is closer to actual chord changes when playing a real guitar. Players can have to push multiple buttons in one row or alternate like two down and one up similar to a G Chord.

The stage view is different as well as your band mates are no longer animated creations but real people captured in a video format. The same goes for your audience. Miss your mark enough times and you will hear it from your band as well as from your audience and with visual looks of disgust to go along with the boos and the shaking heads.

Naturally the song lists will be key and while I liked the sample set I played, one session was not enough to really get to know what the game would be like long term, but I was impressed with what I saw as it was not more of the same with new songs which in my opinion is what lead to an over-saturation of the music game market.

Rock Band 4 keeps the focus on a group experience and when I asked if band members could work online which each being in a different locale, I was told that it may be possible in the future but for now the focus is on a group experience in the same room.

The game will allow users to use older instruments from any previous Rock Band game or go with the new ones. As such there will be various bundles as well as a stand-alone version of the game.
The gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a Rock Band game but this time out, the players will be able to vote on the set list, and will be able to take gigs for the money or to advance their careers.

Keyboards will not be a part of the game for now, which is a bit sad as I said I would love a multiple keyboard game option where Depeche Mode, OMD, Erasure, and other synth bands can be recreated.

When playing the songs I noticed the usual gameplay that I had become used to, but with one big exception. Guitarists and drummers now have the ability to go nuts on their solos and not have to follow a specific button pattern to sound great.

This means if you want to improvise your own solos then shred it up. I played a single guitar mode and not the full band mode during my demo but liked what I saw. It remains to be seen how the full versions of the games will play when they are released, but for now, it might be time to get limbered up as if you have a camera on your PS4 or Xbox One, it is Showtime for the masses live from your front room.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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