Monday, 8 September 2008

Rock Band impressions

I finally got a go on Rock Band.

Seeing as I've already played Guitar Hero and Singstar I was most interested in the drumming side of the equation. The way the pedal hooks on to the drumkit is really awkward - it seems you have to have either the drums too far away or the pedal too close, unless you want to use a table, something I haven't tried yet. It's murder on your toes. Apart from that, I'm really enjoying my solo drum career (under the ingenious name of "PatROCK", and yes, I did come up with that all by myself). I'm only playing on medium (I've been informed the game is a lot more fun on hard, but having little-to-no sense of rhythm might get in the way of that) but even so, when I nail a little drum fill - particularly the one on In Bloom - or hit the last "note" after going mental on the freestyle ending, the feeling is extraordinary.

It's actually engaged me far more than Guitar Hero ever did. While I enjoyed Guitar Hero well enough, it never produced this feeling in me. Maybe because drumming is a lot closer to actually playing the drums, while the plastic guitar always felt like just that, a plastic guitar, flimsy and with loose, rattling buttons. Or maybe drumming is just more primal. The other way Guitar Hero let me down is that it didn't interest me long-term, maybe because I've never been much of a highscorehead. It remains to be seen whether Rock Band will be the same.

Obviously the multiplayer mode is meant to be the main source of longevity, but oddly the few sessions I've had were a bit subdued. Despite the little "Unison" markers and so on, I found there wasn't much of a sense of "we're in this together" when everyone's concentrating on their own bit. I was barely aware of the other players' presence unless someone was singing or getting out of time on the drums. It's still a lot more fun that Guitar Hero's multi anyway, but so far I haven't really got that sense of being in a band.

I've got no interest in the guitar and bass side of things but I did have a go at singing. Fortunately there are quite a few songs on there I know and quite like, but even so it's annoying having to stick to those few. I'll have to seek out a few of the other songs and get to know them. Singing is the aspect of the game that's closest to doing the real thing, but even then it's not quite like proper singing. You're always aware that you're playing a game. Especially when I do high-pitched "fweee" noises on the freestyle bits.

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