Thursday, November 22, 2007

I've seen a million faces - and I've rocked them all!

Been playing a lot of Rock Band for the past couple of days. The UI and Menu Flow are some of the worst I have ever seen which makes me think that Harmonix did the 'game' part but EA or someone else did the shell. I could be wrong but I've played a lot of Harmonix games (not just guitar hero) and I don't remember any of their games being this odd. To put into perspective - me and James Chen who both have played a ton of DDR, Beatmania, Pump It Up, Guitar Freaks, Drum Mania, Guitar Hero, etc and we were struggling for like 30 minutes to figure out what was going on.

We also joked that there should be an option when you turn the game on: Are you busy? or Do you have a job or a girlfriend? If you pick yes then all the songs are automatically unlocked. The one company who I thought would never change finally has - Namco with Tekken. Even they realized unlocking characters is boring and just give the player the option to play everyone right away (at least with Tekken for PS3). I understand the need for single player to have a 'game' where you unlock songs but don't punish me when playing multiplayer. I hear there is an unlock all code but that feels like too much work also.

It's definitely a fun experience when it all comes together - no doubt. The only part I'm not a huge fan of is the guitar itself. While it definitely doesn't look like a 'toy' guitar like the Guitar Hero one does - the GH3 Les Paul is a hundred times better.

There are some interesting design choices for sure though - World Band Tour being offline only is absolutely terrible. Not to mention the concept of the, 'leader' which people everywhere are complaining about. While online - the microphone can be used but everyone else hears the original vocal track for the song that is being played. At first I thought this was a bad idea but in general I think American's are shy when it comes to singing (as opposed to Asia where Karaoke is a religion) so it sort of works.

It's thanksgiving break so I'm going to try to finish Ratchet and hopefully start on either Mario Galaxies or Assassin's Creed. Have a good holiday everyone.


s said...

agreed, great game, terrible interface. I have 3 versions of me so I can have careers on all silly.

Jeff said...

The worst part is easily the band leader requirement. We didn't really understand this when we started the game, so our "main" band now has a drummer for a leader. As everyone basically knows by now, drumming is tough if you've never drummed before. So, we're basically stuck at the "medium" level for fans (and the jump from "medium" to "hard" seems pretty difficult for most songs).

The good news is that the game is "beatable" at the medium level. The "hall of fame" set can be reached without gaining more than the medium max for fans (just need lots of stars). Your girlfriend should be able to get good enough to at least do bass on medium (it's honestly not THAT bad), or if not (assuming the guitarist isn't the band leader), singing at medium is another option.

Another complaint I have is that there is no way to access the downloadable content from within the game, and if they keep up with the weekly DLC, it's quickly going to become quite a mess to look through on XBL Marketplace (and likely the PSN Store as well). Their website also sucks, basically having no track listing or DLC list to make it easy to see what's been released (instead, we have to rely on gaming blogs and Wikipedia for that information). I'm hoping that Harmonix/MTV/EA was just in a big scramble to get all of this stuff together for the release date and that updates are coming to address all this soon.

Oh, and I actually prefer the RB Guitar when it's working (unfortunately another problem with the game... still waiting for my replacement). Strumming without a "click" just feels much better to me, and when it works I feel like I can actually get a lot of the "fast" notes better than the GH guitar.

Anonymous said...

Bemani!! It's good to hear someone mention Guitar Freaks and Drumania.

I haven't played any of the Guitar Hero games since the first one, so it's a bit hard for me to compare the two. It was pretty easy for me to catch on to the basics of Rock Band, but figuring out everything aside from the basic scrolling(and the kick drum) took a little time.

I do agree with most of your complaints. I understand having some songs locked, but not most of the music in the game. 50% of the music, tops. Not everyone picks up the game to play through it. Some get it and just want to jam.

The characters and their options could use some work. The mutliplayer can be awesome at times, but it still needs work. If one instrument fails it brings the whole band down rather quickly.