Monday, December 10, 2007

As Homer Would Say...

No! NO! Don't stop a ROCK'n!!!

Yes, this is my way of telling you that I have finally landed a copy of Rock Band and it is, much like Ron Burgundy, the balls.

Some initial thoughts upon beating the solo guitar career on medium, and the first three sets of vocals and drums on easy.

- The new guitar is very, very different. It's more attractive, but not as well made as Guitar Hero 3's Les Paul. Despite some chincy production value on the neck, it is more fun to hold and play. The non-clicky strummer takes some getting used to, and I'm positive that it's not as precise as the Les Paul, yet I still find it preferable. It's just the overall (larger) size of the thing, heft, and extra set of buttons on the neck (for solos) that give it the edge.

- The drums are, even on easy, crazy fun... they're also crazy LOUD. The Mrs. went to bed Friday night and I only got through a song and a half before she came tromping back out to tell me I was driving her nuts. I've seen references to attaching mouse pads to the drum pads to mute the banging a bit, so that's my next move.

- The vocals. How much fun you can have with these depends entirely on how secure you are with your singing voice. I was having a ton of fun belting out Orange Crush this afternoon until my wife got home and caught me. Then I was too ashamed to continue. I will say, even if you are completely tone deaf -on the easy level- it's very simple to sing through each tune.

- The set list is probably better than any of the Guitar Hero games (and I love GH1's set list to death). Playing Don't Fear the Reaper is like drinking mana from heaven.

I haven't gotten a chance to take the multiplayer World Tour for a spin yet, but I hope to get a couple friends over this weekend to put it through its paces. Even without playing it yet, it's obvious that World Tour is where this game will live and breath. Just the though of getting four people together to rock out makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

In comparison to GH3, it's obvious who the winner is. And it's not because of the drums or the vocals. Harmonix just flat out gets what makes these games fun. Neversoft's GH3 is like Memorex. It's a remarkable simulation, but it's an obvious, and lesser, facsimile. In Rock Band in particular, Harmonix has really nailed the feeling of making you feel like part of a band on stage when you play. The presentation, the visuals, while you're playing the song, combined with the superior note charting, just make this game so much more fun to play than GH3.