I bought Rock Band last week and then jumped right back into World of Warcraft this week. For the first couple of days of Rock Band, John and I were playing it near incessantly, taking breaks only for food, work and sleep. Then a friend of ours got a new computer, started talking about WoW again, and it was like hearing that an ex I never quite got over was suddenly back in town. One thing leads to another and now I have to awkwardly explain to my other games that I won’t be finishing their richly developed storylines because I’ll be spending the next two months running errands for random trolls that inexplicably require four spider legs and three bear pelts from everyone they encounter.
There are things to be said regarding Rock Band. Unlike Guitar Hero, this game allows you to play beyond the time that your hands cramp into gnarled lumps at terminus of your wrists – you are now provided with the tools to do irreparable damage to both you vocal cords and feet via compulsive repetitive action. It may be due to the way I sit on the couch when I play, but after a few songs using the foot pedal, my foot threatens to seize up. John claims that a drum stool might help with the issue. He also wants to buy a mic stand so he can play guitar and sing at the same time. I can’t help but feel that at the point that I start buying legitimate band equipment for this game, I’ve somehow earned the mockery that’s been thrown my way for playing it in the first place.
I like that you can now see how much progress you’ve made toward five-starring a song while playing. Accumulating additional energy (star-power) while using it is a nice touch too. The performance animation is far better than it has ever been, with particular emphasis on the lip synching. The grain filter looks so much better than the enhanced textures in GH3, making each performance something that is actully tolerable to watch if you’re waiting your turn to play. Plus, you get loading screens depicting publicity photos and billboards of your band/solo artist. It’s really sweet to see a big tour bus with “Vegeta Bahlls” printed in the side of it.
I do not like the new guitar – the strum bar is way too . . . soft I guess is the way to put it. Possibly it will grow on me as I learn to use it. It seems to require a much lighter touch than its predecessors, and once I figured that out, playing long string of notes became much easier. I still can’t reconcile that it doesn’t click though. Buttons of any kind should make a clicking noise when pressed. I don’t even like keyboards that don’t click – the clicking of the keyboard is the only outward evidence that I even do anything all day. I now have a sort of pavlovian response. No click is bad. Unproductive. Failure. Click means good girl. Salivate. Bowl of food.
Overdrive never seems to activate properly for me. I have basically flailed the controller over my head to no avail, but a slight shift in my position on the couch will trigger it. It’s either broken or I’m doing it wrong. It may be because I sit on the couch when I play instead of stand. I’m lazy, I don’t stand if I don’t have to. If I were in a real band, every concert would have a couch on stage. Mine is a restrained sort of rocking out.
We now have three guitar controllers. They hang from this lamp which I now think of as a sort of tree that bears guitars as its fruit.