Harmonix has officially released Rock Band Rivals, the first paid expansion in the series’ history, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Available as $30 DLC for last year’s Rock Band 4, as well as a physical release combining the two for newcomers, Rivals builds on the existing songs and features of the base game while adding some significant new ones.
Two new modes are provided, with the titular Rivals mode enabling players to set up in-game crews, earn experience through playing their song library, and compete in weekly themed events and climb through ranks and leaderboards through asynchronous multiplayer. Rockudrama mode, which we were provided a hands-on look with a few months back, also offers a new spin on the existing campaign template, allowing local players to play through a Behind the Music-esque story with their band, complete with narration and live-action faux interviews. Several new venues and character customization items are also included.
The physical release also coincides with new instrument controllers, including a Jaguar-branded guitar with a neck that can be folded back for easier storage. Rock Band 4 has also received a sizable update available to all players for free, with the most noticeable feature being a heavy revamp of the game’s menus and user interface, and more in-depth options for organizing song libraries, including the return of personally rating tracks on a 1 to 5 scale previously added in Rock Band 3.
Traditional online multiplayer is also slated to return to the series towards the end of the year, though players will be required to purchase Rivals to use it and more significant gameplay additions. A free companion app for smartphones has also been released, with an emphasis on crew management and communication for the Rivals mode taking center stage.
We will have a review for Rock Band Rivals up shortly.