e3 2015

Harmonix Announces Guitar Solos, A Release Date, And More Songs

by Kimberley Wallace on Jun 15, 2015 at 08:08 AM

Harmonix announced today two key elements of their upcoming rhythm game Rock Band 4: A release date of October 6 and the introduction of a new gameplay element: Freestyle Guitar Solos, which we tested out at a recent hands-on event in Santa Monica.

The newest iteration returns to the original roots: shredding your guitar. The Freestyle Guitar Solo doesn't have a specific set of notes like other portions of the gameplay. Instead, several different cues are linked to a specific type of play. While following these guidelines is tantamount for scoring the most points, if you decide that your power ballad needs some 250 BPM thrashing, you can add that if you'd really like.

Single note cues allow each fret to play a particular note (always in key of the song), and depending on which set of keys on the guitar controller is used, higher or lower notes will be played. Moving the neck of the guitar changes the feedback tone and notes can be "bent" by strumming up and holding.

Lick cues mean that players should hold various combinations of frets and strum - up to four buttons can be held at once, and players should experiment to find which licks sound the best at any given time. Strumming at different speeds also provides a different experience - strumming at two times the beat plays slower licks, and at four times the beat, faster licks occur.

 Finger tapping means that you just need to strum once, and then imagine that you're a metal virtuoso as you go to town on the lower set of frets on the guitar controller.

Noise is, well, noise. By holding all five of the fret buttons and strumming, you will make some noise. Whether or not it's good is in the eye of the beholder.

As you can see, Freestyle Guitar Solos have a lot of depth and room for experimentation. By using a mix of all the above techniques, I was able to create some pretty jamming solos. At first it feels like a lot to process, but you don't have to master everything to rock a solo. You can get as intricate as you like, but I imagine a great deal of the fun is mastering the techniques to really make some memorable jams. But if that's not your thing, fans who want to experience the classic match-the-notes gameplay don't have to play with these new solo types. They can be switched off and the classic Rock Band gameplay can be used in its stead.

 In addition, Harmonix isn't leaving players high-and-dry today in regards to the most important part of a music game: its music. Five new songs have been announced:

  • Benjamin Booker - "Violent Shiver"
  • Elvis Presley - "Suspicious Minds"
  • Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars - "Uptown Funk"
  • Queens of the Stone Age - "My God Is The Sun"
  • Scandal - "The Warrior"

Rock Band 4 will be available on October 6 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.  

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Rock Band 4cover

Rock Band 4

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PlayStation 4, Xbox One
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