So, yeah, wow. Rock Band. While I've certainly seen it before and had a handful of chances to play it, there's nothing quite like getting it home and being able to put it through its paces without the watchful eyes of your peers or game company representatives making sure you aren't sucking at it.
As planned, I've been sticking to the drums, starting on easy, and working my way through. Don't forget to calibrate your set. While I play Guitar Hero with no offset on my LCD screen, Rock Band seems to think I'm about 30 milliseconds ahead or behind, I can't really tell which. Either way, after calibrating, my 90% finishes started going up to 96 or 98%.
It's tough to play drums because I'm used to using the drums to keep time. But now I'm keeping time, and that's weird. While I've thumped out beats on a drum machine before, sticks anda foot pedal are way, way different. I think I understand why so many drummers can't seem to get through a song without speeding up significantly over the course of a song. It's that feeling of knowing what you're supposed to hit next, but you have to restrain yourself and hit it at the right time. It's easy to get ahead of yourself, I guess. And everyone else in the band is playing to your time-keeping, so if you speed up, they speed up with you and the whole song sounds sloppy.
Rock Band doesn't do that, obviously, but it'd be pretty cool if it did. Maybe have the players speed up and slow down to your tempo, then judge how well you stayed in time, as well as how accurately you hit the right pads or something? That's probably asking a bit much, I guess.
After two hours of drumming, I now have twoblisters on my left pinky. Nintendo's always been super wary of anything that causes blisters (remember that Mario Party glove?), but Rock Band doesn't seem to care. Actually, maybe there's something deep in the manual about it, but there's no big goofy health screen or flyer in the box that says "WEAR GLOVES WHILE PLAYING, DON'T BE A FOOL." Maybe they realize that drumming in gloves is for punks.
A few more scattered things;
- The cover of Jukebox Hero is pretty good.
- The standard Xbox Live Marketplace menus are an awful way to buy downloadable tracks. They need to patch in some sort of in-game store, pronto. There are already too many things available to download for the stanard presentation to handle, and with more stuff coming every week, it's going to become impossible to deal with.
- My hardware works, though I can feel the bass pedal bend a bit when I hit it. As I get better at the game and start using the pedal more and more forcefully, I'm worried that it'll snap. But not so worried that I'll spend any time trying to strap any metal pieces to it or anything like that.
- While I like Guitar Hero III, I'm having a hard time seeing myself going back to it, partially because I like the Rock Band guitar so much. Maybe Activision will eventually cave in and patch in support for the Rock Band guitar.
- I need to start reading up on software that converts USB gamepad button presses into MIDI signals so I can wire up the drum kit to my PC and use it as a cheap set of V-Drums.
-I think I'm probably going to spend most of my Thanksgiving break behind a set of fake drums.
- Playing bass is also awesome.
- This game needs an online version of Band World Tour. I feel like I'm missing out on the game's most dynamic mode just because outside of the people I work with, none of my friends will ever be any good at any aspect of this game.