Well I had a chance to spend some quality time playing Blitz and thought I would share my thoughts as someone who has been a Rock Band player since day 1. This will likely get long as I am going to more philosophical that technical. :P
I am not one to read all the press on a new game, I like to make decisions for myself and tend to skip a lot of the hype and speculation... So some of this info may have been "reported" elsewhere but this is my own personal perspective, free of any outside influence.
First, I will say that this game is fun. At first glance via screenshots and even game play videos it is not something that is easy to see and I can see why people given this as an evaluation tool could give a quick Meh and move on.
Now when I say its fun I mean, FUN. Like Tetris style addictive game play fun. You WANT to play again and the scoring system is such that you can DRAMATICALLY improve scores, not just incrementally.
Things like "optimized" pathing may be possible but when you add in the all the multiplier variables and power up options it makes this task considerably more difficult than your standard single instrument chart path optimization.
The two buttons on a track game play is MORE than enough to deal with as your mind is now dealing with tracking multiple paths, multiple multipliers, track switching (two more buttons) and power-up usage/execution. To say it is mental exercise is an understatement.
For me the Rock Band experience has always been about the music and one of my primary concerns with Rock Band Blitz was having the game be such that the game was taking away from the music. That may sound confusing to gamers but I hope it makes sense to the hard core music fan that plays Rock Band.
This is a concern that was quickly removed.
After my second play through my foot was tapping away and I was "rocking out" while playing Blitz. I was interacting with the music. There was that satisfaction that I was concerned about losing by the game using the controller. Was it the same as expert pro charts on my full Roland drum kit? Of course not but is it the ideal thing to do when I don’t want the physical demands of playing the drums? Absolutely!
The depth of the game far exceeds what can be grasped as an observer and there are dynamics at play with the undulating tracks that really have you paying attention to so much at once that you are pulled into the game as an environment and the graphics and presentation support that with beauty and detail. It is easy to want to read signs and marquees and lose track of what you were doing.
The tutorial does a good job of explaining the basics and can have anyone playing Blitz in just a few minutes. It will however take even the most seasoned rocker considerable time to master.
The new songs are exciting to me as it’s been a while since we had a "pack" of this size to add to our libraries but I really wanted to stress that after playing this game, if you are planning on buying it to export and are somehow stubborn enough to be dug in on saying you wont play it, you really need to play it.
I played One Week as my first song and I was smiling like a lunatic to dance back and forth on the crazy vocal track that song has. Next was Metal Health and the guitar was a blast via two buttons and to say I was rocking out would be an understatement.
I played several songs over the course of three sessions and had a chance to download my thoughts with a developer right after the last session and that really shaped this review as it helped me to understand what I was thinking by verbalizing. (Thanks Aaron!)
I really enjoyed the plug-and-play nature of the games total lack of difficulty settings beyond the songs themselves. It takes a ton of base-line intimidation out of the game for new players as they are not pressured at the song selection screen to prove how tough or cool they are by selecting a difficulty setting. I really like that.
This game will be accessible to anyone who loves fast paced arcade game play that requires a "heads up" approach and calls on the skills of the most advanced multi-tasker out there. A gamer could have tons and tons of fun with the on-disc songs alone. This is a game that can take you into the wee hours of the morning trying to eke out an extra star on a song.
For the seasoned Rock band player this game gives you a reason to revisit songs you may not have played in years. It makes your DLC new again and I can say without reservation I am looking forward to getting the game and playing Say It Aint So in it as the first song as a nod to that first gig the first time I played Rock Band.
In closing I want to say I am stoked for Harmonix to get to flex some developer muscle by making this downloadable game as a true independent company and to have come up with such a winner of a game. It really gets me excited to see what Harmonix is capable of both in and OUT of the music game genre.
These are exciting times for fans of Harmonix and I am really looking forward to the future.
I am happy to answer any questions as I am sure I left out info that I have now after playing that may be on your minds.
TLDR version: Try it, you will like it.