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rhythm games

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...

Plastic video game photo
Plastic video game

We are entering a new age of video game plastic this month

Toys to life + rhythm games = no space
Sep 30
// Chris Carter
This month, a ton of plastic shit showed up at my doorstop. Not that I'm complaining, I love this job, but man does it take up a lot of physical space! To kick things off I've been playing Rock Band 4 for roughly a week ...

Review: Laserlife

Sep 29 // Ben Davis
Laserlife (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Choice ProvisionsPublisher: Choice ProvisionsReleased: September 22, 2015 (PC, PS4), TBA (Xbox One)MSRP: $14.99 Laserlife tells the story of an astronaut who died out in space, whose body drifts aimlessly along with the wreckage of a space ship. The body is discovered by "future intelligences who have no concept of humankind" as they delve into the astronaut's subconscious to extract memories in an attempt to learn of the skeleton's history and how this human ended up dead in outer space. Players control the future extraterrestrial entity in the form of two lasers. Each laser is controlled separately with the analog sticks, and they can both reach any part of the screen. Movement is very fluid and the lasers feel great to control as they spin and dance effortlessly around the screen. Each level consists of four stages. During the first stage, Memory Molecule Collection, players must move into position and press the trigger buttons at the right moment to collect memory molecules. Later levels introduce molecules which must be held in position as well as ones which must be moved to a new position. An insufficient amount of molecules collected during the first stage will reset the level, but this was never a problem for me while playing on normal difficulty. [embed]313018:60553:0[/embed] The second stage, Memory Harmonization, involves moving into position in order to hit targets. The hit boxes for the targets seem to be smaller than they are for memory molecules, so movements need to be slightly more precise, although the targets turn green once the lasers are in the correct position. These were the most difficult stages for me personally, even though they just involve moving around without having to time button presses. The final two stages are the easiest. During the Warp Phase, players must avoid colliding with red barriers, or mental blocks, by moving towards the openings. Finally, the Memory Materialization stage finishes out the level with the player moving the analog sticks as quickly as possible until the bar at the top of the screen has depleted. Once all of this has been completed, the memory will be fully extracted and appear as a physical manifestation of a significant object from the astronaut's life. If players find that the game is too challenging, or too easy, there are a few difficulty settings to choose from which will increase or decrease the amount of obstacles to deal with. There are also leaderboards to browse, with separate leaderboards for each difficulty, if that's something that interests you. Music is obviously a huge part of any rhythm game, and the soundtrack could easily make or break the game. Laserlife's soundtrack is very chill and atmospheric, which fits perfectly with the outer space setting. It's best to play this game with headphones in order to really focus on the music. I felt the soundtrack could have been a bit more varied at times, however, since all of the songs are very spacey and sometimes started to sound a bit similar after a while. Maybe they could have had some tracks that fit more with the theme of some of the memories, like a lullaby for the childhood memories, or even mixed in more spoken parts. One of my favorite tracks was used towards the end of the game, which had mission control voices being played over the music. I felt that was an idea they could have experimented with a bit more, because it worked really well for that one level. Unlike the Bit.Trip games, the sound effects from collecting memories and hitting targets don't really add much to the music itself, which was slightly disappointing. Obstacles are arranged so that they match up to the music of course, but interacting with them merely makes a dull sound which is often barely audible against the soundtrack. Having more robust sound effects might have helped make the soundtrack pop a bit more, and it would also be easier for the player to tell when they missed something. Laserlife has a lot of big ideas and an interesting premise. I love the concept of extraterrestrial life coming into contact with a human skeleton adrift in space, and trying to learn something about the strange creature's origins. The grand themes of human existence and the persistence of memory are ideas that I would like to see more games try to tackle. In this case, however, I found the overall experience to be a little underwhelming. It's fun for a short rhythm game, but with only 12 levels, it felt like Laserlife never really got a chance to fully explore the broad topics it brought to the table. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Laserlife review photo
Drifting through space
Choice Provisions is best known for the excellent rhythm-based series, Bit.Trip, a saga spanning six games (and one spin-off) which abstractly dealt with themes about a man's journey through life. The studio has been toying w...

Review: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Sep 29 // Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PS Vita)Developer: Atlus Publisher: AtlusReleased: September 29, 2015MSRP: $49.99 Taking place shortly after the events of Persona 4, Dancing All Night opens with Rise Kujikawa and a couple members of the gang in a dance studio. The former idol is mounting a comeback and has enlisted her friends as backup dancers to perform at a large music festival. Of course, things quickly go awry. A cursed Internet video has droves of people falling into comas, and to top it all off, members of Kanamin Kitchen, the pop group headed by Rise's frenemy Kanami Mashita, have gone missing. We soon find out the women have been transported to an alternate dimension called the Midnight Stage, where a mysterious voice and hordes of Shadows hold them hostage. Kanamin Kitchen's captors prey on idols' identity crises and try to make them fall in line with the image of what people think believe are, or want them to be, rather than wage any sort of painful personal struggle. The Investigation Team naturally comes to the rescue, except in this world they can't use their Personas to fight. The only way to beat back the Shadows and save Rise and Kanami's friends is to dance. It's a contrived plot device to shoehorn in rhythmic gameplay based on Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series, but honestly, who cares when the end result is a damn good time?  [embed]311909:60472:0[/embed] The mechanics at work here are nothing revolutionary. Notes appear in the center of a circle and fly outward toward six zones on circle's perimeter in formations based on music. Players are tasked with keeping the beat, the success or failure of which will determine things like high scores, whether new levels are unlocked, and earn in-game currency for purchasing items and costumes. Dancing All Night functions perfectly, and its three main difficulty settings all feel appropriately challenging. Regardless of which you choose, a poor performance will result in a quick hook, though a mediocre one may allow you to complete a level without passing. This can be a powerful motivator, and definitely kept me coming back to some of the tougher stages. On top of the standard fare, there's also an even harder (hidden) difficulty setting awaiting dedicated players. So good luck with that! Aside from the joy of watching familiar faces like Teddie and Chie cavort around in ridiculous outfits, what makes Dancing All Night a blast is the music itself. One of my favorite aspects of the Persona series is composer Shoji Meguro's handiwork, which is obviously thrust into the spotlight this time around. After completing both the story and free dance modes (plus redeeming some downloadable content) I've unlocked 36 songs, spanning everything from original Persona 4 tracks to spin-off theme songs and even a live performance. However, while that may conceptually seem like a decent-sized selection, it doesn't always feel that way. Half of the soundtrack is padded out with remixes that may or may not resonate with players. While I absolutely loved many of them, there are others I will seldom play again. I found it difficult at times to appreciate versions of songs I've adored for years, only to have some DJ somewhere strip the track of nearly all its personality and transform it into something else entirely. Dancing All Night's uneven score wasn't the only facet of the experience that wasn't as compelling as it could have been. The story is somewhat plodding at times and suffers from repetition, following multiple groups that tread similar ground for most of the game. While there are some pensive themes at work, endearing new characters, and a dramatic finale once the narrative threads begin to converge, the plot doesn't quite live up to its source material -- which is probably expected, given how phenomenal that is. This fusion of visual novel of rhythm game isn't exactly perfect, but speaking as someone who loves Persona (and Shoji Meguro's work in particular), I really enjoyed my time with this one. It might be pure fan service, but sometimes maybe that's enough. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. Several DLC tracks were also provided by the publisher. ]
Review: P4D photo
Your prize cow
Persona 4 was a story about acceptance. We all have a dark side, some aspect of our personality we dislike about ourselves, something we choose to repress and hide away from the rest of the world. This isn't the healthiest pr...

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...
ATLUS photo

Atlus confirms Hatsune Miku Persona 4: Dancing All Night DLC for the Americas

Coming October 20 for $5
Sep 24
// Kyle MacGregor
While we already knew Hatsune Miku was coming to Persona 4: Dancing All Night in Japan, the possibility of a western release was up in the air. Well, until now, anyway. Atlus USA has just informed us the make-believe singer's...

Miracle Girls Festival is fairly standard

Sep 17 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]311207:60413:0[/embed] Still, that familiarity (with the gameplay presentation, anyway) smacked me in the face and ears when I demoed Miracle Girls Festival. Button prompts flying from every which direction confused until they didn't anymore. Eventually there's a rhythm (ha!) you fall into. At least I felt connected to the music through my interaction. But, the honeymoon was short as Miracle Girls Festival ranked me as "standard" after all three songs I played. Cold. Not as chilly as all the times it flashed "worst" at me, but frigid nonetheless. The tracks were brief (probably two minutes, tops) so the onslaught of insults didn't stretch too long. Slightly ironic that Miracle Girls Festival repeatedly called me standard when it's the one cobbled together on the frames of other works. In doing so, it's completely predictable. Not that the fact will bother Project Diva fans, but it is. I can name-call too, Miracle Girls Festival.
Miracle Girls Festival photo
As am I
Sega's Miracle Girls Festival borrows from all over the place. The rhythm game features girls from a number of different anime, and it employs the same engine as Project Diva titles. If you're familiar with all of t...

Lost in Harmony photo
Lost in Harmony

Valiant Hearts creator teams up with Wyclef for Lost in Harmony

'Mystical and brave'
Sep 16
// Darren Nakamura
Valiant Hearts' director Yoan Fanise worked at Ubisoft for 14 years before leaving earlier this year to form his own studio, Digixart Entertainment . Today at Tokyo Game Show, the fledgling company revealed its firs...
Rock Band 4 photo
Rock Band 4

Faux '80s Rock Band 4 video goes over the basics

What to expect in a few weeks
Sep 16
// Chris Carter
While a lot of companies have been getting on the "that's so random!" meme-wagon in recent years as part of their marketing efforts, the folks over at Harmonix have always been a little strange, in a good way. That's most ce...
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...
Laserlife photo

Bit.Trip studio set to release rhythm action game Laserlife this month for PC and PS4

Skeleton astronaut laser action!
Sep 12
// Ben Davis
Choice Provisions, the studio responsible for the Bit.Trip series, has been teasing the idea for a similar rhythm action game called Laserlife since way back in 2010. It seems the idea will finally come to fruition later this...
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...

Rock Band 4 made me forget that I suck at rhythm games

Sep 09 // Alissa McAloon
During my time with the game I was perfectly content to just smash out different notes on the guitar and see what sounded best, but more skillful players should note that there is an art to creating solos. Switching notes at the right time or using certain strums with certain chords all create different and unique sounds. The notes themselves may change slightly to fit with the key of certain songs, but those patterns do not. With a little time and effort, players can figure out how to create specific tunes in Freestyle Solos and create their own finely crafted guitar solos from scratch. Playing around with solos, both in the training modes and in actual songs, made me feel like I was actually good at the game. The half hour I spent with Rock Band 4 marked the most positive experience I've ever had with a music game of any kind. As someone who is chronically clumsy with any sort of rhythm game, this endorsement doesn't come lightly. I can only imagine what some of those hardcore Rock Band players will be able to do with Freestyle Solos when the game releases for PS4 and Xbox One on October 6. 
Rock Band 4 photo
Freestyle solos are way too much fun
[Disclosure: Nick Chester, who is currently employed at Harmonix, previously worked at Destructoid. As always, no relationships, personal or professional, were factored into the preview.] Rock Band 4 is spearheading the rhyt...

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...

Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX

Sep 04 // Kyle MacGregor
Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaRelease Date: September 8, 2015MSRP: $39.99 While Miku's looks will never fade with age, she certainly has received a bit of a makeover in her latest outing. In Project Mirai DX, a spin-off of Sega's successful Project DIVA series for Nintendo 3DS, the digital singer and her band of vocaloid pals sport a super deformed chibi aesthetic.  Inspired by Nendoroid toys, the characters all feature massive, distended heads and petite frames, reminiscent of toddlers. The new art direction is one I can't say I'm terribly fond of, as it gives rise to some awkward moments where the infantile performers unadvisedly attempt to exude sex appeal.  The new look isn't the only notable change to the established formula, though, as the rhythm game portion of the package has seen some revisions. The basic premise is the same, with notes flying in from off-screen, challenging players to keep time with the beat of the music. Players must either press specific buttons or tap the correct portion of the touch screen at certain times, the accuracy of which (in the aggregate) will determine the level of one's success or failure. The touch controls are a new and entirely optional way to play the game. On easy mode, players will tap a single circular area on the portable's lower screen, with each subsequent difficulty level adding another zone to tap on. This initially seems more forgiving than using the buttons, but on normal and hard mode, with multiple areas to worry about, I actually found this was more challenging. Keeping track of the action on the top screen while needing to tap certain sectors below can be quite the feat, particularly in an up-tempo song when the notes are coming in rather quickly. The touch controls can also be rather finicky, though. It's not only easy to tap the wrong portion of the screen, but sometimes the inputs don't seem to register at all. At other times, the game will ask the player to slide the stylus in a particular direction, which can be difficult if you are already pointing at the edge of the surface and are asked to move in a direction where there's no room to go. In contrast with the Project DIVA titles, where notes fly in from every which way to a variety of targets, Project Mirai introduces a single rail system, which I actually found to be a helpful change in most instances. There are times where this can be convoluted, with a crowded rail looping in on itself, or seemingly unfair, where the speed will change at a moments notice and throw off your rhythm, but for the most part it seems to be a better, more straightforward system. Another aspect where Project Mirai is remarkable is the sheer amount of content included in the package. The rhythm game mode vaunts 48 tracks in total, which span all sorts of genres and visual themes with minimal repetition, keeping the experience fresh and varied throughout. There are a lot of secondary aspects of the experience, which didn't necessarily appeal to me, but at the same time don't take anything away from the game. You can play dress-up and house with a selection of characters. There are mini-games and a somewhat limited mode that allows you to design your own compositions. By far my favorite throw-in, though, is PuyoPuyo 39!, a fun little Miku-themed version of Sega's tile-matching puzzle game that even incorporates local competitive play. One thing Project DIVA veterans might not appreciate about Project Mirai is it's a much easier and more lenient experience. On the other hand, some people find those games to be incredibly difficult and have a high barrier for entry. Personally, I was just fine with the challenge on the hard setting, but some rhythm game masters may be left feeling wanting for more in that area. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX retains the essence of the Project DIVA series, but it's definitely its own unique thing. It may not appeal to all fans of the vocaloid songstress' previous work, and it's certainly my least favorite outing of hers in the realm of games. However, that all said, I still generally enjoyed my time with Project Mirai. Despite its missteps, this is a decent game that has a lot to offer for both rhythm game enthusiasts and Miku devotees alike. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Hatsune Miku 3DS review photo
In many respects, Hatsune Miku symbolizes my interest in Japan. It doesn't matter how much I learn about the virtual pop star or the amazing/bizarre subculture that has taken root around her; it's tough to imagine ever truly ...

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...
Rhythm Tengoku photo
Rhythm Tengoku

Rhythm Tengoku: The Best + features an appropriate crossover

Pose for the fans
Aug 23
// Jonathan Holmes
Not too long ago, I asked you all if you were getting sick of Nintendo's near constant release of crossovers. The answer was a resounding "Nope!" Excited reactions to Super Mario Maker's multiple crossovers have worked to bac...
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night launches in Europe this November

Not the worst delay, I suppose
Aug 22
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night is coming to Europe on November 6, NIS America has announced. As per usual (as far as Atlus goes), the PlayStation Vita-exclusive rhythm game's PAL version is launching a tad later than its North American counterpart, which debuts September 29.
Yo-kai Watch photo
Yo-kai Watch

Here's your first taste of the Yo-kai Watch Just Dance mashup

Level-5 and Ubisoft together at last
Aug 19
// Chris Carter
You've heard of the Yo-kai Watch Just Dance mashup, now you can see it in all its glory. In short, it's the wonderful art of Yo-kai mixed with the garish "humans" from Just Dance -- in other words, exactly...
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...
Free Persona DLC photo
Free Persona DLC

Persona 4: Dancing All Night swimsuit set free the first week

No Kanji swimsuit though
Aug 14
// Steven Hansen
Persona 4: Dancing All Night's ladies swimsuit DLC will be free during the rhythm game's first week of release (it comes out September 29). After October 5, the costume pack will cost money. Unfortunately, this free DLC does...
Miku photo

I still can't believe Miku is in Persona 4: Dancing All Night

But I'm not complaining
Aug 12
// Chris Carter
Persona 4: Dancing All Night looks rad -- really rad. And it's getting even more rad with the inclusion of Hatsune Miku, a clear effort to link Atlus and Sega, who I constantly still forget is under its wing. This newest tra...
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 ...
ATLUS photo

These Persona 4: Dancing All Night remixes are hot!

But I still prefer the originals
Aug 09
// Kyle MacGregor
I'm sure most Atlus fans would agree one of the Persona series' greatest strengths is its music. The studio's in-house composer Shogi Meguro and his crew do brilliant work, which makes the idea of an entire game dedicated to...
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

Singing confirmed for Guitar Hero Live

A better look at the in-game festivals
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Guitar Hero Live could end up being a pretty neat experiment, and if Activision sticks to its word of not annualizing the franchise, I'll be happy. You can get a look at the in-game festivals (Rock the Block and SoundDi...
Dancing ALL Night photo
Dancing ALL Night

Persona 4: Dancing All Night trailer rocks faces with Kung-Fu dance

Chie busts out her steak powers
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
Chie insists that saving people in danger is her thing. I'd contend that dancing is her thing. She sure does a lot of dancing and not a lot of saving people in this trailer. Well, unless handing out unsolicited motivational ...
Rhythm Thief photo
Rhythm Thief

Rhythm Thief on iOS is getting shut down this September

It's one of those online-only games
Jul 29
// Chris Carter
Rhythm Thief & The Paris Caper is the latest casualty of war in Sega's efforts to purge its mobile catalog for quality concerns. As of today nothing may be purchased within the app, and on September 28, 2015, it will be c...
ATLUS photo

Persona 4: Dancing All Night gets a release date

Taking the stage September 29
Jul 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona 4: Dancing All Night launches in North America on September 29, Atlus has confirmed. The rhythm game has been out in Japan since late June and is planned for an autumn release in Europe, where NIS America is handling ...

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