The Rock Band games have had a shaky history in Australia with regards to release. Rock Band 2 never made it to our shores (I had to import it) and with Rock Band 4, it seems the Xbox One legacy adapter also didn’t get a distributor in Australia either. You either forked out $249 Australian to get the guitar and game kit (which didn’t include the adapter either) or paid $500 for the full band kit. This is double the price of the US counterparts. Granted the Australian dollar hasn’t been as strong but paying double the price was a bit hard to swallow.
A couple of weeks ago I relented and picked up the Xbox One Rock Band 4 legacy adapter and I can happily report that the USB device works as it should. My old 360 instruments connected wirelessly just fine and I was able to play the digital copy of Rock Band 4 I purchased. If you have a lot of instruments lying around I would recommend this route – there certainly wasn’t any lag issues when I’ve been playing with my original wireless Rock Band guitar.
So how is Rock Band 4? I’m happy to report that it is a return to form and I am just so glad to be playing another Rock Band. The majority of my paid DLC has been re-downloaded (the song DLC carries over per platform: 360 to XB1, PS3 to PS4) and I’m playing my favourite hits again. The new solo mode is great fun and gives you ample opportunity to have a go at nailing a great impromptu solo. The career mode has been heavily tweaked too. You have to make decisions at the start of each tour that will affect how many fans you generate or how much cash. It is a nice twist and adds some much needed input from the gamer. Some tours let you pick the set-list to a certain degree and this too has been tweaked brilliantly. No longer are you just required to pick a song but you’ll get common choices of picking a song by an artist, or picking a song from the 80’s etc. It does add a level of randomness to the proceedings while giving you some choice.
Some of the key features from Rock Band 3 are missing though. Firstly there is no pro mode, nor keyboard support for those of you who have purchased the music keyboard in the past. The most obvious omission though is the lack of online multiplayer, though it is still rumoured Harmonix are hoping to release it later. Most of the time I play with friends using the same XB1 and TV so this wasn’t a big drawback for me.
Visuals are marginally better but pretty much the same. The sound is great as always.
I really like Rock Band 4, it on the surface may feel a bit feature light but overall it is a great return to form. I am glad Harmonix stuck with the route of provided backward compatibility, even though Australia didn’t get the game version with the legacy adapter at all. New music has proceeded to take off again in the Rock Band store and once again you’ll have a chance to add to the ever expanding library. My first thought after loading Rock Band 4 sums it up well – “Damn, it is great to play Rock Band again.”