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Fallout Band 4 photo
Fallout Band 4

Look like a wasteland warrior when Fallout 4 invades Rock Band 4

A duet of cuatros
Nov 24
// Brett Makedonski
If you fancy yourself a living room faux-musician, this is probably the closest you'll ever get to looking like a Fall Out Boy. Harmonix has collaborated with Bethesda to add free Fallout 4 Vault-111 jumpsuits to the Ro...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

There's a ton of stuff coming to Rock Band 4 in December, including Rock Band 3

Good stuff for the hardcore community
Nov 19
// Brett Makedonski
Rock Band 4 launched in a state that felt kind of bare bones. Several features were cut from past games in favor of just getting you to simulate playing music in your living room again. A lot of that's getting added afte...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Over 400 Rock Band songs are still missing in Europe on PS4

No word exactly when a fix is coming
Nov 13
// Laura Kate Dale
If you're a PS4 owning Rock Band 4 player in Europe, there's a good change you've noticed that a chunk of your old library of PS3 Rock Band tracks don't seem to be playable on Rock Band 4 yet. You're probably not alone in thi...

Review: Just Dance 2016

Nov 09 // Caitlin Cooke
Just Dance 2016 (Xbox One [reviewed], Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Wii)Developer: UbisoftPublisher: UbisoftMSRP: $49.99 (Just Dance Unlimited streaming service is an additional $6.99/month, 39.99/year)Release Date: October 20, 2015  In addition to the usual modes in the Just Dance series there are a few new ones present to provide different offerings to newcomers and spice things up a bit for seasoned players. Along with the normal competitive Dance Party mode, you can now play cooperatively with other players and work together to reach a high score. Dance Quest is also new, showcasing an interesting concept where you compete against a robot leaderboard and move through the ranks in a set playlist. World Video Challenge allows players to compete with people from around the world in a pre-recorded environment, and Showtime is the most different of the bunch, essentially allowing players to participate in glorified karaoke. Perhaps one of the most useful features to be carried over from Just Dance 2015 is the ability to play the game without a Kinect by holding your smartphone, and allowing up to six players to join in. The Kinect seems to be a forgotten accessory these days as the game no longer supports menu navigation through Kinect, rather players need to use the controller to scroll through. I find this to be a win in my book as I never felt as if it did a good enough job of tracking navigation anyway. The phone navigation is fairly smooth overall but with a limited interface compared to using the controller. I also found the phone tracking buggy at times and even less reliable than using the Kinect to play. For example, if my phone had some kind of notification (like a low battery indicator) go off, it paused the game mid-dance. This caused a lot of frustration since I didn’t really feel like disabling notifications every time I turned the game on. However, I do feel the added flexibility of allowing smartphone play is worth it overall and I’m glad they included it again. Unfortunately the meat of the game, the song list, is lackluster. Recent hits seem sparse, and the variety of genres and time periods also seem to be missing. A majority of the music combs sub-par top hits from the past five years, with only a few one-off gems out of the bunch. I would have liked to see more hits from the '80s and '90s, or at the least better songs from recent years. The choreography for the most part seems lacking across the board with a few exceptions. Perhaps it’s impossible to raise the bar here with six other versions behind its back, or maybe it's betting on the unlimited streaming service to fill the gaps. Some of the dances stand out -- for example, in “Under the Sea” you mimic Ariel and have to sit down, using arm movements and moving your “fins” to the beat. There are also a few interesting choices that mix the game up including a kung-fu style choreographed segment, an Irish dance, and a song featuring Hatsune Miku. These are the high points of the game, especially if you love making your friends dance to silly songs. Outside of this, it’s standard pop fare. The new Showtime mode isn’t much to talk about unless you enjoy humiliating your friends, in which case it’s a complete masterpiece. There is no set choreography, just pure singing and forming your own dance moves to an effects-driven video filled with overlays. It’s not something I enjoyed doing on my own, but watching friends go through it was delightful. I do however wish it offered more songs as you can only pick from a handful -- I suppose designing those overlays and graphics takes a lot of time. The game overall feels a bit limited -- despite all of the new modes, it doesn’t seem very open in terms of what you can do. For example, the Showtime and other video uploads only show a few brief clips from other players around the world, and there isn’t really any way to sort or find new videos -- it only shows you what’s popular and what’s most recent. I was also disappointed that Dance Quest mode, although a bright concept, was extremely limited in that you’re dancing against robot scores (not real people) and you’re not able to create playlists or jump around to different quests. Despite my qualms, I had fun playing Just Dance 2016 -- but then again, it’s hard not to. It’s still a favored party game and one that has almost perfected the fun-for-all game model. Heck, it’s reached a point where it’s thrown in some mediocre new modes and a subscription model just to keep itself fresh, so in some cases you can call this a success. However you can also say that Just Dance is a dying breed, one that is taking its last breath to capitalize on the streaming craze that’s enveloped our little gaming world. I say we don’t think about it too deeply, and just dance. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Just Dance 2016 photo
I've had a little bit too much (much)
Yes, another Just Dance -- the seventh in the series -- has arrived. This latest edition is no exception to the usual hallmarks that defines the series with its ease of accessibility and colorful party atmosphere. It hol...

Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

[Update] Harmonix employees have been posting reviews of Rock Band 4 on Amazon

Leave the astroturfing to Ground Force
Oct 22
// Joe Parlock
[Update: We have received this statement from Harmonix, acknowledging the reviews were from its employees: Harmonix has clarified its internal policy about posting reviews of our own products on retail sites, and we've asked...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Rock Band 3 tracks should be playable in Rock Band 4 by end of year

The export fee is $15
Oct 21
// Brett Makedonski
People who played Rock Band 3 can expect their Rock Band 4 library to grow significantly in the coming months. Since Rock Band 4's October 6 launch, Harmonix has been at work trying to bring old content onto the new...
Macklemore photo

The Seahawks lost yesterday because Macklemore played Guitar Hero at halftime

Legion of Gloom
Oct 19
// Brett Makedonski
A lot of dumb things happened in football this weekend. Michigan decided it would like Michigan State to continue its recent domination of the intrastate rivalry, so the Wolverines did this -- a not very good football play. T...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

You will know (and love) most of Guitar Hero Live's newest songs

Good god! That's CM Punk's music!
Oct 09
// Brett Makedonski
You know what they say about saving the best for last. Well, I guess they just say to do it. It's a good idea. Then everyone's like "Wow, we doubted you, but some real nice stuff happened at the end." That's Guitar Hero Live'...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Here's how to turn off Rock Band 4's Freestyle guitar solos

Viva la scripted solos!
Oct 08
// Brett Makedonski
Rock Band 4, largely the Rock Band that you already know and maybe love, has one big change from previous games. That is the Freestyle guitar solo. Its intent is to break away from the traditional and sometimes very toug...
Rock Bugs 4 photo
Rock Bugs 4

Are you having issues with Rock Band 4? You're not alone

Issues and some fixes here!
Oct 07
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: A Harmonix spokesperson reach out to us to issue the following statement:  “The Rock Band experience is as important to Harmonix as it is to our players. We are passionate about Rock Band, and we'll suppor...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Re-downloading your Rock Band DLC is a giant pain in the ass on Xbox One

Hope you like spreadsheets
Oct 02
// Brett Makedonski
In preparation for Rock Band 4's release next week, I figured it's about time to start downloading the songs I bought on Xbox 360 for use on my Xbox One. There's no doubt in my mind that if I have friends over to play and all...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Rock Band 4 releases next week, last chance to stock up on cheap DLC

It doubles in price on October 6
Oct 02
// Brett Makedonski
It may seem counter-intuitive, but this is a rare example of a time when you might want to purchase downloadable content before a game comes out. I know, I know -- we usually rally against that hard, but bear with us just thi...

Guitar Hero Live left me afraid to ever try playing live music

Oct 02 // Laura Kate Dale
On a gameplay level, Guitar Hero Live feels pretty new. Gone is the old five-button single row layout, replaced with two rows of three buttons placed next to each other. On screen you've got three note tracks scrolling, which will either show a white pick pointing down or a black pick pointing up to denote if you should play that note on the top or bottom row. It's a switch up that slightly more closely resembles guitar fingerings, and it feels like a new, manageable challenge to learn. However, what had a far bigger impact on my experience with GH Live at EGX was the impressive integration of full motion video, which is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to living out your teenage rock god fantasies. Firstly, my fears about modern implementations of full motion video were instantly allayed when actually playing the game. I can logically tell which camera pans are likely being used to mask transitions between videos as your performance rises and falls, but try as I might I could not actually see the seams. We seem to have reached a point where smooth transitions in full motion video gameplay are totally possible, and that's really reassuring to see. When I was doing well at Guitar Hero Live, I felt like a guitar shredding legend. The crowd went wild, the pit jumped, the crowd fought to lock eyes with me and everything felt amazing. It's amazing how much difference the switch from computer animated crowds to real human faces can make, but seeing actual people respond well to your performance felt awesome. We have not crossed the uncanny valley, and real human faces in video games have a special power to elicit an emotion. The scary thing about GH Live? It can invoke powerful negative emotions too. Toward the end of my time with the demo, I decided to see how far I could push the limits of the game. I slowly performed worse and worse as the song went on, and my god it got uncomfortable. First the audience began to look mildly confused. Then, they looked upset, personally let down by me. I glance at the bassist and he's trying to ask what's going wrong. I do worse. The audience grows upset, confused and angry. I glance at the drummer and she's freaking out. Mascara is running down her face as she mouths obscenities at me. The singer motions to have the stage hands pull me off stage. At this point, I quit the track I was playing. I felt terrible. My failure felt real. The anxiety related to letting down fans, the disappointment and the anger resting on my shoulders. I felt it all. My time playing Guitar Hero Live at EGX convinced me primarily of two things. If you're doing well, this game is going to be awesome. If you screw up, you are going to be made to suffer for your sins on the guitar. I think that's pretty damn exciting.
Guitar Hero Live photo
I felt like a badass for about 5 seconds
Back in my mid-teens I played drums in a hastily thrown together rock band. We mainly played pretty bad covers of other people's songs, occasionally writing our own tracks that went on far too long and were excessively simpli...

U2 Rock Band additions photo
U2 Rock Band additions

U2 song forced onto your iPhone is now coming to Rock Band

Only band with two tracks
Sep 28
// Steven Hansen
Harmonix has announced two new songs for Rock Band 4 through its official Twitter account. They are both U2 jams. "Cedarwood Road" from the group's debut and "I Will Follow" from 2014's Songs of Innocence, which I assume peo...
Rock Band 4 setlist photo
Rock Band 4 setlist

These are all of the songs in Rock Band 4

Are you up for another gig?
Sep 14
// Jordan Devore
I've been content to let other writers at Destructoid cover the Rock Band 4 track announcements so far, which is for the best. I'm not even sure I want to pull out the plastic instruments again. (Unless it's to replay The Bea...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Tough decisions lie ahead in Rock Band 4's career

Stardom don't come easy
Sep 10
// Brett Makedonski
Pretend for a minute that you're in a band that has achieved some degree of notoriety. Sounds great, right? Maybe not. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made, and sometimes the people influencing you don't have you...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live expands its setlist with Pearl Jam and Lamb of God

And too many Crazyfists
Sep 08
// Brett Makedonski
It seems like just yesterday that it was announced, but we're getting dangerously close to Guitar Hero Live's October 20 release. It's basically fall -- the weather's cooling down, the kids are back in school, and this game i...
Harmonix and Fig photo
Harmonix and Fig

Harmonix will need your help (again) to make its next game

Sometime this fall
Sep 03
// Brett Makedonski
Harmonix is going back to the crowdfunding well after its successful Amplitude campaign, but it's not going the Kickstarter route. It's going with something far more trendy right now. The music game developer plans ...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

The Rock Band 4 disc will cost $20 extra on Xbox One

All due to wireless protocol
Aug 24
// Brett Makedonski
Those who plan to play Rock Band 4 on Xbox One with their instruments from Xbox 360 will have to pay a bit for the privilege. As it turns out, the standalone Rock Band 4 disc will cost $80 instead of $60. That price...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Rock Band 4's latest big addition is Van Halen

Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
Not recognizing a majority of music in games has been a running theme this year. Guitar Hero Live largely falls victim to this. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 definitely does. Fortunately, Rock Band 4 does not. Harm...
Chrvches play Rock Band 4 photo
Chrvches play Rock Band 4

Wow, I'm better at Rock Band than Chvrches is!

But they're still famous, so whatever
Aug 10
// Nic Rowen
I take every opportunity to watch real musicians play Rock Band that I can, I'm always interested to see how they'll do. Especially when it happens to be one of my favorite acts. Extra especially when they're playing a Rock ...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live's new batch of songs is... actually pretty good

Boston, Rush, MGMT, and others
Aug 05
// Darren Nakamura
Past updates to the Guitar Hero Live set list have puzzled me, betraying how out of touch I am with popular music, but this one brings me back. I don't care how many times I have played Boston's "More than a Feeling" in a mus...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Piss off your neighbors by singing Fall Out Boy's 'Centuries' (and 16 other Rock Band 4 songs)

Or just be really good at singing, jerk
Aug 03
// Zack Furniss
More Rock Band 4 songs! With music tastes as varied as they are, it's hard to say whether you'll all be excited by the new songs that Harmonix is teasing this time. Personally, I'll enjoy crooning "Fever" by The Black Ke...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Guitar Hero Live adds more of those rock songs whippersnappers like

Seriously though, Live looks pretty rad
Jul 14
// Joe Parlock
The return of the battle of the plastic peripherals is almost upon us once more, with titans Guitar Hero Live and Rock Band 4 both throwing more and more songs at us in the hopes we’ll actually recognise any of them. Th...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Dust off your Robert Smith voice for 11 new Rock Band 4 tracks

And some Grohl for your soul
Jul 13
// Brett Makedonski
I don't care if Monday's blue, Tuesday's gray and Wednesday, too. Today, I have new Rock Band 4 tracks for you, and Friday I'm in love. Harmonix has expounded upon its ever-growing set list for Rock Band 4 by reveal...

Guitar Hero Live rocks out with a fresher focus

Jun 16 // Alessandro Fillari
Guitar Hero Live (PlayStation 4 [previewed], Playstation 3, Wii U,  Xbox 360, Xbox One, Mobile)Developer: FreeStyle GamesPublisher: ActivisionRelease date: October 20, 2015 First and foremost, if you're a longtime fan of the series that may have felt burned by the last title, Warriors of Rock, you'll be pleased to know that the series has gone back to the basics to keep the focus on jamming out to a variety of tunes ranging from heavy metal, classic rock, and pulsating new metal. While on the surface Guitar Hero Live looks to be a massive departure from the rest of the series, it's very much in line with what was present in the earlier titles. This is purely about the music and experience of building your own personal rocker profile. As you may have seen from the reveal trailers, they've incorporated real video into Guitar Hero this time around. When selecting some of the classics or new tunes, you'll be treated to actual music videos or even concert footage of the band while you play. This is in keeping with the new television aesthetic and architecture that Guitar Hero Live utilizes. Gone are the bizarre storylines and cartoonish visuals showing off your character as they rise from garage-band amateur to international rock star, and in its place is a focus on realism to keep you invested in the songs and the experiences of being a guitar god. During Guitar Hero's absence, the developers have refined the gameplay and tweaked many aspects. The biggest change made is that you can't outright fail songs. As vets know, missing too many notes will fail the song, resulting in game over. In Guitar Hero Live, players that perform poorly can still finish the song. The folks working on the game felt that failing players resulted them in losing interest, so botching songs will only affect your overall score. This gives players the chance to save their performance should they struggle in some spots. Moreover, if players want to take a break during the song, all they'll have to do is stop playing and the song will revert to an attract mode. It's neat, and I feel GHL will be much more welcoming to newcomers. In the two central modes, Live and TV, the game goes about building the rocker experience in different ways; one from the side of media, and the other from in the shoes of a guitar player during a concert. The TV mode will definitely be where most of the action happens. Think of it as the online, multiplayer, and career modes all rolled into one. When in TV mode, you can engage in daily and premium challenges that task you with tackling certain songs to acquire in-game currency and play tokens. Much like cable or satelite television, the TV mode is essentially mix of on-demand and scheduled content. With multiple channels, you'll be able to view the current schedule of upcoming songs that are available to play. If there's one you like, you can jump right in and play. In real time, each 'program' plays a certain genre of music or focuses on a particular band, and is set for half an hour. If there's nothing on the channel's schedule that you like, just switch over to another and check to see what's on. I was impressed with the presentation, and it felt like was tuned to a parallel universe where MTV didn't focus on reality TV and kept with the music. It even made some of the programs feel like events, as you can plan ahead and bring friends over at certain time to rock out. If the channels aren't doing it for you, then you can switch over to the on-demand menu and choose the available songs to add to you playlist and experience at your leisure. Like the previous titles, the base game will come packed with existing songs, and more will be added later. However, the on-demand takes a slightly different approach. While you can play whatever song is present in the menu, they require play tokens for you to add to your playlist. Play tokens are acquired from just playing normally, and you'll accumulate them often. However, if you run out of play tokens, you're unable to play songs on the playlist. If you want to avoid using the tokens -- using them won't technically give you the song -- you can purchase the song outright and make a part of your permanent collection. I suspect this feature draw some ire from fans. While I understand it on an economic level, I feel this can be very annoying for anyone who likes to binge. By my count, there were three different forms of currency in the game: GH credits, real money credits, and play tokens, which will definitely bother people further. While there isn't a cap on play tokens, which can be purchased in bulk from the Guitar Hero store if you don't want to grind, I feel that the system of purchasing that's in place will confuse and annoy people. Thankfully, there are many features to keep players busy. The online mode is robust. Players can compete online against others in real time. During scheduled programs, players will be able to compete for the high score, with the current leader ranks being shown to the left of the screen. There will be many top dogs online, so in order to compete you'll have to make upgrades to your guitar. Using in-game credits acquired from daily challenges and tackling challenging songs, you can invest in a more sophisticated setup. Many of these upgrades range from score multipliers and other boosts to effectiveness. Thankfully, upgrades can only be purchased with in-game currency (which can only be acquired from in-game activity). With the currency, you can also purchase new highways and player cards for further customization. While most of the action will likely be spent in the TV mode, the brand new Live mode offers something a bit different. Ever wonder what it's like to play a guitar to a sold-out concert full of thousands of excited fans and music lovers? Live mode shows that in quasi real-time video that adapts to your performance. With two tours, spread across the U.S. and UK and spanning several sets (songs), you'll jam out with your band as they seek to keep the crowd on their feet and jamming. Playing online is one thing, but the Live mode is incredibly nerve-wracking. Maybe it's just me, because I'm not as good as other players, but watching the crowd and even your band mates turn on me was unsettling. It felt like I was experiencing a bizarre mix between Guitar Hero and those '90s full-motion video games. I don't mean that as a bad thing, however. I was impressed with how well it's presented. It's like those FMV games, except actually good. Shown from the first person, you're in the shoes of the lead guitarist, and when he stumbles, you experience it first hand. It can be tense, especially when your own band starts to turn on you. For the most part, I was largely impressed with my session with Guitar Hero Live. Though I still have some reservations with the game's economy, I still feel there's a lot of good here. The MTV-esque aesthetic was a stroke of genius and it really brought me into the experience much more than any of the other titles did. And given the number of platforms this is on, including mobile, it's clear they want to cover all the bases here. With Rock Band 4 also seeing a release this year, things must be looking up for the music genre now that the two juggernauts have returned. I'm looking forward to seeing how fans will take to it. 
Guitar Hero Live photo
I remember a time when there was this massive swell of music and rhythm-based games. The most dominant one at the time was the Guitar Hero series, which was quite an obsession among many of my classmates back in college. But ...

Just Dance photo
Just Dance

Ubisoft has turned your phone into a console camera

Unless you're rocking a 2004 Razr
Jun 15
// Brett Makedonski
Man, so many people just want to dance in front of their video game consoles. You may scoff, but Just Dance is the most successful music franchise ever, so that statement applies to some folks. For those who haven't alr...

Rock Band 4 is doing a new fun thing you wouldn't expect

Jun 15 // Brett Makedonski
Between those dueling stages was an innocuous, decidedly less interesting room. But, what it lacked in flair, it made up for in substance. Some posted up nearby talking Filipino politics, but those who ventured inside found the biggest change to Rock Band in years. Guitar solos aren't what they used to be. Trepidation was abound. Shredding in Rock Band is such a staple. Now it's different. Accuracy has been replaced with creativity. I couldn't help but think that's a musician's move right there. I also couldn't help but be a little dejected that there's less skill involved with the instrument that I spent the most time trying to perfect. Down the hall, Pearl Jam's "Alive" started playing, and Eric Pope couldn't hide his disdain. I thought about firing it up to figure out how these new solos worked. I refrained and chose "Cult of Personality." In everyone else's hands, this is a plastic guitar; in my hands, it's a pipebomb. Things didn't pan out quite as I wanted. Rather than rhythmically dissecting the song until the solo hit, I was met with five minutes of solo. That's a dev mode thing -- perks of the preview event. I guess that's adequate time to figure out the ins and outs of the new format. I was mostly right, but not entirely. [embed]293727:59016:0[/embed] A small group had formed after a few minutes. Someone made a comment about the five buttons on a Rock Band guitar. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. A Harmonix representative sprung into action to correct the misstatement and pitch the Freestyle Solos -- a system that reminded everyone there are ten buttons on these axes. Intricate notes have been left by the wayside for colorful patterns. Blue means to play in first position (normal notes); orange indicates you need to slide up the neck and play on those five forgotten-about buttons. An algorithm decides exactly what gets played, whether it be sustains, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, or just wildly tapping without any strumming. One of the patterns mandates you just play anything. Make noise, anything works. While it sounds somewhat insane, it mostly works. The solos come together in a way that's satisfying -- as if you were actually playing the solo. However, substituting that for nailing a classic solo isn't a trade-off that I necessarily appreciated. It just feels like maybe it's a bit too easy now. That's not the only concern. Harmonix has made a point of framing Rock Band 4 as a party game that anyone can pick up and play. But, I saw many of my peers struggling to integrate the solos into the gameplay they already knew. When I asked the devs how long they expected it'd take for casual players to grasp Freestyle Solos, they thought it'd go pretty quick. I estimate it'll take slightly longer than very casual players want to commit. In that event, the mode can be turned off, which seems like a less than optimal solution. For those who have the patience to learn it but aren't dedicated enough to excel at the old solos, Freestyle may be a fine compromise. Wailing on those solos makes you feel really good even when you're performing a relatively simple task. It makes for a nice little illusion for anyone who doesn't want to look past it. 
Rock Band preview photo
'Play Freestyle!'
Everywhere I looked, my peers seemed to be having fun. Mere minutes before, everyone couldn't stop talking about how cold that Santa Monica rooftop was. It was the opposite of fun. Now, that had melted away, a distant memory ...

Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Maybe you'll actually recognize a few of this week's Guitar Hero Live songs

For a change
Jun 02
// Brett Makedonski
After the initial reveal of Guitar Hero Live, Activision's been slowly unveiling ten songs a week to keep us interested. The only problem is that the vast majority of songs (and artists) are completely unknown to the majority...
Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

I don't recognize most of the new songs revealed for Guitar Hero Live

But that's probably my fault
May 26
// Darren Nakamura
The tracklist so far for Guitar Hero Live has been a bit puzzling for some. Personally, I can suspend disbelief long enough to pretend to play a Skrillex song on guitar. I mean, I'm pretending to play guitar using an electron...

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