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Rock Band 4's toughest challenge yet arrives tomorrow with Brutal Mode

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If you've mastered Expert difficulty in Rock Band 4 and are looking for something that will test how well you really know a song's note chart, you may be interested in tomorrow's content update from developer Harmonix, which adds a new feature called Brutal Mode.

The previously announced patch will add Brutal Mode to "its own area off the Main Menu," Harmonix said today in a blog post. Turning on Brutal Mode, which is new to the Rock Band franchise but appears inspired by the Dance Dance Revolution series' Hidden Mode, makes it so that your note highway is shorter than usual — giving you less time to read the gems flying toward you.

Brutal Mode's reduction in highway length is tied to how well you're doing, so the better you play, the shorter the road gets. If you can succeed on Brutal Mode, you'll be scored with a new system above gold-star mastery: crimson stars. (Presumably for the blood that may ooze from your fingers and eyes after playing the mode.) You can see how Brutal Mode works in the trailer above.

Rock Band 4's previously announced Dec. 8 patch also contains another new feature for skilled players: variable breakneck speed, which allows people to crank up the note highway's speed to as much as 2.5 times the norm. Other additions in the update include improved controller calibration; recognition of full combo-ing a song; notifications of leaderboard events; and a more detailed song results screen.

For more on Rock Band 4read our review.