Music-game faithful have had a long wait since 2010’s “Rock Band 3.” Five years later, and on new platforms, even “Rock Band 4” (Mad Catz) can’t match its predecessor’s grand ambition, dropping online play, pro guitar support and keyboards. The pared-back experience focuses on what most players embrace and enjoy. Newcomers will feel welcomed, but for veteran bandmates, this feels like coming home after a long time away. The core gameplay remains unchanged. A few novel tricks are in the mix. Freestyle guitar solos and vocal options are new riddles to unravel. Along with improved crowd noise and chanting, this is the best approximation yet of an onstage show. Making your way through the various instrumental parts of each song is akin to getting a mix tape from a musically savvy friend.
Matt miller, Game Informer