Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plugged In: Random Rock Band Rant


Ok, well I know this game is fallen out of favor lately but since I spent most of yesterday afternoon playing the game because it was the most ambition I could muster, I thought why not air some grievances I have come across.
First its an old one that I'm sure alot of veteran Rock Band players have noticed, namely that there is no way to calibrate the microphone. You can do so for the drums and guitars but not for the microphone. I think this is one that is essential. I mean I'd say a supermajority of the people brave enough to make an ass of themselves by singing AREN"T going to be American Idols. More likely we are going to be somewhat tone-deaf and are just singing for fun but if you really go for it, even with pitch correction on, you are bound to fail out of the song. Now I can see on the higher settings making it more difficult but at "medium" difficulty half the songs you either have to use a low mumble to hit the notes or you have to screech almost incomprehensibly to hit the high notes. If you try to sing along at the same volume as the actual track you end up missing most of the notes hence failing out of the song.
You should be able to calibrate it to your voice to maybe by doing a simple "fa so la tee doh" type register calibrater. That way when you try to sing balls out you can still have fun without worrying about ruining the chances of your other players to finish the song. It is most frustrating when you know all the words and get the timing right but because you have enthusiasm and are getting into the spirit of the song you end up missing the correct pitch or notes.
Hell, even if there were a way to go almost a karaoke route where if you hit the words at the right time it doesn't matter how loud or soft you sing you can still score points without fucking over your other bandmates.
My other and more pressing gripe seems to be with the fact that I've noticed The Rock Band Network which gave songs that might otherwise be missed out on get a chance to be made into the Rock Band format and to be downloaded separate from the Playstation Store's listings in Rock Band 3 designation, has been discontinued.
I might be wrong and they are just working on upgrading the way they offer songs through the RBN but the past three weeks we have missed out on songs being added. They add songs to the Rock Band 3 section but not the RBN. It really blows because the RBN was more for non-mainstream bands and genres to get some exposure. With bands such as Norma Jean and Converge having tracks on there it allowed for chances to play your favorite "deep cuts" that don't get radio exposure.  I also feel there was a missed opportunity as the punk genre missed out of a fair amount of content uploading. Its mostly comprised of metalcore bands where its almost pointless to have a vocal track because the lyrics come out as nothing more than howls and yelps. I was looking forward for some older NoFx, Against Me!, Lucero, Alkaline Trio, Thursday, Descendants etc... being added to have some more fun.
The beauty of the RBN was that the songs could be utilized by owners of Rock Band 2 as well as they could be in Rock Band 3.
So basically this seems a way of discontinuing support for Rock Band 2 and forcing people who have invested in the  equipment for the game to remain stagnant with what they have, or buy what amounts to the entire catalog of No Doubt or Foo Fighters. Its kind of disheartening.
I wouldn't mind upgrading to Rock Band 3 once it drops in price.

This brings me to my final annoyance. Preface this with the fact that I bought a brand new Rock Band 2 special edition(included microphone, drums, and guitar along with the game) ten months after it was released for 80 dollars which was a great deal.
Now they have added the option to buy a keyboard controller for use on Rock Band3 but here is the rub. The keyboard alone retails for $70. That does not include the game.  And in the America you cannot buy a keyboard/game bundle for PS3, you can for Wii and I believe even Xbox 360 but why or how Sony dropped the licensing ball on this bundle is beyond me.
So for one more instrument I have to spend what I spent on the entire bundle and I don't even get the upgraded game. Add the cost of that and even if you get a used copy of the game which hovers currently somewhere around $35 dollars, I'll have to spend over 100 dollars when all said and done. I find that a tall order to be asked of by Harmonix and MTVgames considering how much I've and I'm sure many others have plunked down in downloadable extra songs as well as the other instruments and Rock Band 2.
The keyboard should have been priced out at somewhere near $30 to make it an affordable jump and if they got their heads out of their asses maybe a bundle for $70 or $75. A much more reasonable and worth a jump to the newer version.
I've rented Rock Band 3 and it had some nice tweaks on the Rock Band formula. The addition to of the sporadic orange button use in "medium" difficulty was a nice touch to help make the jump up to "hard" difficulty a bit less daunting since in RB2 there was a huge learning curve between "medium" and "hard" so much so it was impossible to even attempt "expert" level, speaking for me anyway. I've hard friends who play piano who will only do "expert" difficulty.

I really want to upgrade up to the next level but also seeing as it was announced that they aren't  planning on creating a Rock Band 4 atleast not anytime in the near future, I'm a bit leery on not if but when they straight up discontinuing new downloadable songs for Rock Band 3. Fingers crossed that it isn't anytime soon but since Rock Band Network seems not to be getting any new content it might be sooner rather than later.

OK I digress and my next post should be much more upbeat and hopefully turn you on to some new bowls of radsauce.
Until next time. 

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