I wish I had a beard that spectacular. Don’t get me wrong, I can grow a pretty awesome beard, but what we have here is something else altogether. It’s more like a mane.

I spent quite a lot of time with Rock Band Blitz this weekend, and I can say definitively that I both love it and hate it. It is a game which is not the least bit revolutionary or innovative, but takes a step back from the pop of the plastic instrument bubble and explores a more simple rhythm game genre akin to Elite Beat Agents and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy of the Dual Screened platforms. It is also a game which tries to be too protective of its scoring system, and as a result is almost completely broken a large portion of the time.

DRM hits us when we least expect it. I had no idea that there was such a system in place when I purchased the game. Since Rock Band Blitz is exclusively a downloadable game, I understand that they are safe in assuming that its players will be connected to the Internet. This allows more heavily integrated leaderboards and asynchronous multiplayer. Those parts I like. The problem arises when the developers stride too far in their quest to prevent cheating.

Rock Band Blitz requires an active connection to their server whenever you play. If the connection breaks, your score doesn’t count and you don’t collect their in-game currency for that song. It doesn’t even record the score on your personal machine. It also kicks you back to the main menu. You can play in offline mode, but only if it can’t get a connection at the start of the game. Sure, you could just unplug the network connection and go nuts in offline mode, but you would have no access to power-ups and none of your scores would be recorded. At that point you might as well just listen to the music on an MP3 player.

I was going to talk about how much fun Rock Band Blitz is, and how switching between instruments, leveling up tracks to increase points, and using different kinds of power-ups makes gives the game the depth of a puzzler while still letting you feel like you’re involved in the music. It doesn’t make you feel quite as much like a rock star as the previous games did, but it is as close as you can get without plastic instruments (or real ones). I really do enjoy the game, but the connectivity problem is a deal breaker.

I checked my own interweb connections and found no issues. Netflix worked without a problem, so I readily blame the Rock Band Blitz servers. The issue was at its worst last night, when about 3 out of 4 songs I played did not count for anything. I guess I’ll go back to plastic instruments and microphones until they fix it.