To jam or not to jam? That is the question.
Rock Band 4 Review on Xbox One
When I first heard that both Rock Band and the Guitar Hero franchise were returning, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. These games had a tendency to be released frequently, and absolutely had a reputation of diminishing quality with each release. I hesitantly gathered the band back together, plugged in all our plastic instruments and nervously booted Rock Band 4 up. Thankfully, with an extended break — Rock Band 4‘s hardcore rhythm gameplay brings it back to the basics and is an absolute blast.
If you’re wanting to rock immediately, Rock Band 4 has the Band-In-a-Box bundle. For $249.99, this massive box contains all of which you need to play: a wireless guitar, wireless drum set, the game, and a wired mic. You can also use most of your old equipment if you still have that lying around. One of the downsides of this franchise is how expensive all of these instruments can get, so if you have some leftover pieces of your former rock glory, use them.
For Xbox One gamers, it’s more of a hassle. If you’re looking to use your Xbox 360 instruments, you’re going to have to fork over additional cash for the Legacy Adapter. You can buy the game and adapter in a bundle for $79.99 but if you choose to buy the Legacy Adapter separately, good luck trying to find one — it’s nearly impossible.
It’s a shame that at launch the peripherals are hard to get a hold of, but at least there are options available. I just wish I didn’t feel like I’m being punished for playing on the Xbox One.
Of course, keeping the game back to the fundamentals, there are some sacrifices. Unfortunately, the career mode in Rock Band 4 is oversimplified. It’s a choose your own adventure that offers little difference. For example, early in the game you can choose to hop in a rickety old van to gain more fans, but the downside is that you could lose out on fast cash. It’s push and pull-like choices, but your decisions really don’t make that much of a difference.
It’s nice to have a campaign but it would have been better to see it more fleshed out. Perhaps with cutscenes or a fun animation to make it less boring. The writing is entertaining, but this doesn’t really fulfill the fantasy of being a rock star. Also minor, but equally frustrating, is the limited character customization, the game does offer plenty of unlockable instruments though, if you’re into that.
It’s not all bad, though, you’ll be barely looking at your characters during gameplay anyway. Even the venues are rarely noticed. In fact, I could barely tell any of them apart. Rock Band 4 has plenty of style, just not a whole lot of substance.