Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rock Band 3 Is Making Me Mad

This post is hacky and stupid and I really didn't put a whole lot of thought into making this essay coherent, but here goes anyway...

Well, I took two days off from this blog mostly to get in some Rock Band 3 playing time.  I did not buy the keyboard attachment so I'm just going through on regular old Expert Guitar and now I've beaten the "career" mode.  I tried to make this brief, but that's nearly impossible.  Warning, if you haven't played Rock Band before, a lot of this is gonna be foreign to you so sorry about that.

Soundtrack - I already read the soundtrack list about a month ago and it really wasn't that surprising.  But when I actually got into the game, I thought it was good.  There was some stuff I was delighted to hear, particularly Werewolves of London, The Power of Love, Bohemian Rhapsody, Sister Christian, Fly Like an Eagle, Break On Through, Caught in a Mosh, Whip It, Radar Love, just a lot of "hell yeah" tracks.  This includes stuff I've heard of but didn't know the title/artist of such as The Look, Space Oddity, Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Need You Tonight, and Heart of Glass.  I was like "holy cow, they've got that too?"  Rip a page out of VH1's I Love the 80's I guess (EDIT: I know Space Oddity is from the 60's).

It also seems like someone at Harmonix wanted to get all the Guitar Hero songs because you have I Love Rock and Roll, I Wanna Be Sedated, Smoke on the Water, No One Knows, The Beast and the Harlot, Free Bird, Du Hast, Before I Forget, etc.  So I guess I like most of the tracks in the game.  Although that Marilyn Manson track is just a skidmark on what would be a satisfactory setlist.  Oh, and Imagine is an overrated, heathenous song--oh yeah, I went there.

Full Rock Band 3 Setlist

Keyboards - I'm gonna throw this in here a few days later.  There's two types of Keyboard charts--Normal and Pro.  Normal just plays five notes just like Guitar and Bass.  As a matter of fact, if you beat enough songs, you can gain the ability to play Keyboard charts with the Guitar controller and vice versa.  Unfortunately, the Normal Keyboard charts are absolutely pathetic--just piss easy and not that spectacular.  Chordfests more than anything.  Not to mention that only the RB3 songs and thereafter have keyboard charts.

But you will need the keyboard controller for Pro Keyboards.  This spans the two octaves of the controller and allows you to sink your teeth into some complicated beats...  However, a lot of people have said that this is VERY DIFFICULT to play.  Not because the gameplay sucks, but because it is legitimately hard.  Sounds cool, but I'm not in the mood for a masochistic challenge.

Some Keyboard Demonstration (With Pro Keyboards Too)

Oh yeah, speaking of going Pro, here's Free Bird on Expert Pro Guitar.  BTW, Pro Guitar requires you to use a guitar controller that functions just like a regular old guitar...good luck.

Rock Band 3 Free Bird Expert Pro Guitar

Career - The career's a lot simpler this time.  In the last one, there were a ton of setlists in various cities that you could do anytime you wanted to earn money which can be spent on clothes and instruments.  In this one, career mode is a matter of "going on tour" by doing a few setlists in a row.  For each setlist, you can pick from a few, such as a predefined one with songs from the game or some other random/custom setlist.  You also got kudos for doing certain things like getting streaks or activating overdrive.  Near the end, I started to cherry-pick the easy setlists so I could get the highest ranks.  If you pick a random setlist, you can see which tracks are in it ahead of time, so you can just refresh until you get some easy stuff.

But career mode's more than just beating some setlists.  There's a lot of goals that aren't particularly attached to any Xbox Achievements, such as "5-star all songs on Expert," or "Get a streak of 500 notes on the keyboard."  This of course leads to my next point..

Characters - I guess it's worth mentioning that the characters have more fluid animations and generally look better.  This is one of the most notable things off the bat.  I like making characters, it's more fun than just playing with the default dudes IMO.  But there's one glaring problem--only a max of 10 characters per profile.  What's up with that?  It was 24 back in RB2 which makes no sense why it would drop by less than half...I guess it has to do with the fact that you can now fine-tune a character's facial features instead of using these cookie-cutter choices.  But really man, it's the year 2010, we're not on PS2 anymore, what's wrong with MORE THAN TEN CHARACTERS???  But forget about that for now...

The thing I really don't like is that because you don't have money in the game, you can select any clothes you want...but a lot of it is locked from the beginning.  No problem right...I just beat the career mode and that's fixed, right?  Well, no, not even close.  You have to beat career challenges to unlock items.  First of all, there's some challenges like "5-star all songs on Pro Guitar or Keys" when I don't even have either peripheral, thereby making it impossible.  Second, some of them are ridiculous even if I could do them, like "Get a Double Awesome rating on all vocal harmonies."  This requires two LOCAL players doing 64 songs.  What do you get for completing this?  A horse mask.  That's right, all of that for a lousy horse mask.  The character creation was a lot more simpler in RB2, it just pisses me off that I can't even make 2/3rds of the characters that I wanted to in RB3.

Imports - At first, I was led to believe that all 84 songs from RB2 would import to RB3.  But no, it wasn't until we actually got the game that this wasn't true.  Five big songs didn't make it to RB3: Any Way You Want It, Spoonman, Battery, Give It Away, and Let There Be Rock.  Also, Dani California and Black Hole Sun from RB1 didn't make it to.  I'm not torn by this, but if they had given us a warning, then maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much.

Overdrive - Overdrive is RB's version of "star power."  Unlike RB1 and 2, they did away with Band Unisons.  Before, if you're playing two or more players and you come to a bunch of OD segments that everyone has at the same time, if everyone nails it, you get double the OD as usual (half the bar).  If someone screws up, then anyone who hit the segment just gets the normal amount (1/4th the bar).  However, in RB3, you can get the double OD boost from these sections regardless of other players.  This means when playing alone, these sections still offer two times the OD as regular sections.  I thought this was kind of dumb since the only reason they did it was to tell players what their solo score would be in a multi-player game...

Online - In RB2 quickplay, this is how online worked.  Person picks a song, you play it, repeat.  When it comes to downloaded songs, you can only play them if EVERYONE in the room owned that song.  So basically, you can have three people that own all RB DLC, but one who has none and you can't play anything. Otherwise, when you go through the list to find a song, it's greyed out which means it can't be picked.  That wouldn't bother me so much but for this...

Now for someone like me who has over 600 DLC, it is a HUGE INCONVENIENCE to have to sift through a list of greyed-out songs just to find the 10 or so DLC songs that the other guy has.  I mean, WHY THE HELL ARE THE GREYED-OUT SONGS THERE?  WHAT POINT DOES IT SERVE OTHER THAN TO TELL ME THE SONG CAN'T BE PICKED???  GET RID OF THE GREYED OUT SONGS SO I CAN GET TO A SONG I WANT MORE QUICKLY!!!

All songs are greyed-out except for Headphones On...which is a free song BTW.

Oh and guess what.  In Rock Band 3, IT'S THE SAME THING.  SIFTING THROUGH A LIST OF GREYED-OUT SONGS, WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME.  At least it works somewhat differently this time--instead of one song at a time, everyone picks one song and makes a setlist which you play in one sitting which I guess isn't that bad but still doesn't really solve the problem.  EDIT: Although I just realized that anyone can start tacking on songs to the setlist and screw everything up.  Picking one song at a time seems like a nicer format now.  You need to play with people who have proper "etiquette" to get a seamless game going now.

Also, for some reason, when you play online, your note chart may be off to the side as opposed to centered in the middle.  If I'm playing online, I'd like to see my screen in the center like in RB2.  But here, I have to veer off to the side which just throws me off a little.

Five Players - How online works is that you can have a drummer, a singer, and TWO OF THE THREE--a guitarist, a bassist, and a keyboarder.  The keyboarder can play Guitar/Bass tracks but it still stinks that you can't have the "full band," that we were promised.  Or you can in All Instruments Mode (AIM)...but you have to play offline to do it.  And even then, I hear that the vocalists don't contribute points to the final score.  It feels a bit hacky and I'll probably never get into it for obvious reasons...

Other Stuff - I don't know if there's some sort of competitive modes.  I know that there's no Face Off, but I hear that there's some sort of "eight-player mode" where you can have two bands compete, but I have yet to figure that out.  EDIT: Actually, there is no such thing, I think.

Also, there are no local leaderboards in the game.  It's all online.  While I don't have a problem with that, if you live by online databases, you die by online databases.  Comparing your high scores is somewhat easier now, but still a tad aggravating.

Conclusion - There's some other stuff I have yet to mention, but it's really not worth it.  Overall, it's not bad, but for being the third game in the franchise, there's still some loose ends to fix that just frustrate me.  I'm starting to miss Rock Band 2.  Oh, it's not possible to go back to RB2 anymore since all DLC songs released from here on out is NOT compatible in RB1 or 2, just RB3.

This isn't a review, but I'll get back to you later when things cool off.

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