When it comes to most games, I’m a team player. I disliked Quake Deathmatch, but I was obsessed with Team Fortress. So, I wasn’t surprised at all when I finally picked up a Guitar Hero controller a couple of years ago that I really enjoyed playing the “second fiddle” rather than the lead guitar. When Rock Band came out, while I did thoroughly enjoy playing guitar, the fact is that I enjoyed taking up the bass in a band on tour much more. A little thing that makes me enjoy online play a bit more since everyone else in the world seems to want to play guitar.
Rock Band 2 came out this past Sunday, and having pre-ordered it a while back, I went and picked up my copy. The game is great. Its like Rock Band, only better… sort of.
The one drawback to the new game is that there is no straight tiered solo playlist. You can’t just get in and play down the list to unlock songs. To unlock songs you need to either have two people and do the challenges, or you play by yourself in a band on the tour mode. Basically, its the old multiplayer tour, but playable by one person. The drawback is that like the old multiplayer mode, you end up playing the same songs over and over in sets until you unlock more… well, unless you owned Rock Band 1 and a bunch of Down Loaded Content (DLC), because then you can choose from any previous song. All your RB1 favorites and all the songs you paid extra for, right from day one. Functionally, the single player mode works like the original game, but the presentation makes it feel different.
The advantage to this system, is that as a single player, I can play bass as my method of choice going through the tour and unlocking songs. And that totally rocks.
for making me want to start a rock band
The Rocker is the story of Robert ‘Fish’ Fishman. He was the drummer in a rock band named Vesuvius, until he was kicked out. Twenty years later, his nephew’s band needs a drummer to play their prom gig. From there we follow Fish as he is once again in a band on the rise.
When I first heard about this movie, I was worried it was going to be ninety minutes of “the old guy” being crazy and gross before ending with some sort of heart warming ending. Thankfully, while there are some crazy gross old guy moments they are few, and the movie is genuinely funny.
I really enjoyed it alot, and I suppose it helps that I am already a fan of Teddy Geiger, so I liked the music quite a bit.
Definitely worth seeing.
Yesterday, Harmonix officially released the Features List and Set List for the upcoming Rock Band 2.
Hell fucking yeah!
Over the last few years, I have noticed that I am less and less excited for new games coming out. But back in November of last year, Rock Band really knocked my socks off. I had played some Guitar Hero before, but the style of the game (being stuck with their personas and all that) just left me less than thrilled. Sure, it was fun to play sometimes, but only really fun when you had someone else in the room to play with. When I got Rock Band, however, that changed. With the fully customizable avatars and being able to play four people at a time AND do more than just play guitar, I finally got excited about a game.
We’ve had a few parties at the house, and I have gone to a few other parties, and Rock Band plays so well as a party game. With four people able to play at once and easily being able to rotate people in and out, and especially with the big 102″ screen and the large room to play in, everyone really gets into it. Its not the stand still staccato snoozefest that Guitar Hero always ended up being, with one or two people staring intently at the screen clacking away on the strum bar and tapping out colored notes. This was a band, and bands rock!
Now I need to officially begin saving up my money so that Rock Band 2 can find its way into our home…
Harmonix… From Those About To Rock, We Salute You.
Something I left off of Monday’s post about Burnout Paradise was its lack of local multiplayer. They aren’t alone. Tons of games don’t have local multiplayer. And even more rare are games that allow more than one player to play online.
One of the greatest features of Rock Band is that my wife and I can both play, and play online. Now, of course, the interface for Rock Band is pretty simple… but the fact remains, if I wanted to sing, my wife wanted to play bass, my brother wanted to play guitar and my brother’s wife wanted to play drums, despite living a thirty minute drive away from each other, the four of us can do that, my wife and I on our console and he and his wife on their console.
Burnout Revenge had a local multiplayer mode, so the wife and I could race… but if I wanted to go online, she couldn’t play again, because only one player can be online from the same console in that game. And that’s how most games are: Local or Online, but not a mix of both.
More games need to explore allowing multiple players from the same console play online. I don’t work at a game company, so I can’t say for sure, but I would love to know what the hang up is. Do they just not think about it? Do the games require so much bandwidth that they can’t possibly run two sessions from one machine? Is there not enough RAM or processing power? I realize that there would have to be limitations… perhaps in Burnout Paradise, the second (and third, and fourth…) player from a console could only join if the first is hosting the game, and they can only join the locally hosted game.
Since I did name Rock Band as an example where a couple can play online together, does anyone out there know of other games that allow multiple players to be online from the same console?
As much as I love playing Rock Band and potentially playing Guitar Hero (when they stop being dicks and let me use the Rock Band Guitar), I’ve been toying with real guitars for much longer. Its a love/hate relationship. I love the idea of playing the guitar, but I hate the idea of spending a lot of time at it. I can play a few songs, and my fingers know where they are supposed to go for most of the chords even if they don’t always find the exact position without me looking down at the fretboard, but overall I’m never really disappointed in myself because I know my lack of ability comes from my lack of dedication.
That just might change, though…
I present to you, dear readers, Guitar Rising.
I have had the game for a week now, and I have to say it is quite awesome.
Before this, I had played a little Guitar Hero, all at parties, and I previously owned one Karaoke game for the GameCube. But Rock Band presents everything in a way that just appeals more to me that any of those.
The first day we had it, the wife and I played for a about eight hours, me on guitar and her singing. Having played no other part of the game, we stumbled into one flaw of the game: if you jump immediately into multi-player there are very few songs unlocked, so they repeat… a lot. Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a fun song, but after it came up for the seventeenth time, we were pretty sick of it. Then on Friday we had a friend come over, he brought a guitar (the wireless GHIII guitar) and he and the wife played guitar and bass while I sang. Since the wife and I had not unlocked very much, our six hours of playing were met with some variety mixed in with repeats of Say It Ain’t So by Weezer and In Bloom by Nirvana. It got to the point where during parts where no singing was required, I would talk up the crowd by insulting the songs. However, we learned that a song unlocked by any player or band becomes available for set lists.
The last couple of days have been the wife and I trading off playing the solo version of the game trying to open up as many songs as possible. Because I didn’t spend the past few months monitoring the Harmonix website and memorizing the set list, every time I open up a new city and see the song list, I’m pleased to see new songs… Epic by Faith No More, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult, and Vasoline by Stone Temple Pilots, just to name a few.
Overall, the game play is aces. We haven’t played with a full band yet, but we will. Soon.
The guitar plays mainly like any other guitar game, in fact, the much hyped “solo frets” for playing solos without strumming are usually left unplayed, because the advantage of not having to strum is defeated by having to move your hand and lose your place on the guitar. I do like the effects switch on the RB guitar that allows me to throw in some wah-wah, flange, echo or chorus on my solos and overdrive. Sadly, the RB guitar is also rush built. From the forums people who are braver than I (and perhaps more fool-hearty) have opened up their guitars to discover that some parts are hot glued into place, glue which apparently warms up and/or slides causing the strumming not to work properly. Our guitar worked fine for about a day. It still does work fine on occasion, but in any song where fast strumming is required, forget it. So later I’ll be blogging about my experience returning the guitar. In the meantime, I picked up a copy of Guitar Hero II with the X-plorer guitar on Black Friday for cheap, so we’ll use that. We had wanted to get it to have a designated bass guitar, but plans change. As a final note, the Guitar Hero games are utterly incompatible with the Rock Band guitar, so if you want to play both games, you’ll need both guitars, or just the GH guitar, which is annoying since I prefer the feel of the Rock Band guitar.
The microphone is… well… its a microphone. It reportedly has the ability to detect pronunciation to determine if you are saying the correct words, but so far on Easy level it doesn’t appear to do that. Singing is a blast, if you like that sort of thing, and I do.
I haven’t spent much time on the drums, just a few practice songs to see if I could get the hang of it, and I did fairly well (over 90% for all tries), however I’ve avoided playing them because my one short stint on the skins showed me that I need to find the right chair and position to sit in. I couldn’t seem to keep my foot on the foot pedal. The tension in my calf while waiting for the next bass drum beat lead to me constantly resting my foot on the floor instead of the pedal, so I invariably missed the first bass kick of any series. Once a chair/position is found, I will become a double pumping cymbal crashing two fisted hammer of god… hmm… maybe this Rock Band thing is going to my head.
Lastly, outside the game-play of playing songs, Rock Band allows you design your own rock alter-ego. The one thing that always struck me about the Guitar Hero series was being forced to play as the characters provided. In Rock Band, you make your own you, and you earn money and buy clothes and tattoos, you can paint your face and put on make-up. You can buy guitars and decorate them with art. It adds a whole new level to the game as I find myself not only wanting to perform my songs better, but I want to buy the perfect wardrobe to fit my new found rock and roll lifestyle.
So yeah, I like this game a lot. Hopefully I’ll be able to sort out the guitar issues before too long, and maybe RedOctane/Activition will release a patch for their games to let the Rock Band guitar play.