For better or
worse, I'm now done with my vacation and my time of slacker weeks.
I'm back to full time and all that...but with one exception. Today
will still be a slacker half-assed post since I'm a bit out of touch
with what is going on around me. Ignorance is bliss, and sadly it's
time for my bliss to end.
After what looked
like some drama of the files not being posted to XBox Live, the new
Roy Orbison Rock Band DLC did finally go online and live. This is
good since I'd otherwise have nothing to really post about today.
Before I get to
some complaints, I have to say these are fun songs. Then again, I
grew up on these songs, so I'm always happy with something I know
fairly well and enjoy. It's also nice to have another song I can
handle on a not-so-plastic axe.
The songs are
easy, overall. However, this isn't to say that no challenge can be
found on expert guitar. While the songs are definitely much simpler
than something like Chop Suey or metal or whatever, they have some
nice tricks to keep them interesting. There's some quick chord
changes, quick unusual shifts, and some individual notes flying
across the fret board. So, if you want challenge, look away. Also,
if you hate iconic music of the 60's and 50's, then you'd also be
better off walking away from this one and waiting for something
else. Still, it's nice to have more variety added to Rock Band, and
this alone could be a good incentive to buy these tracks.
My two big
complaints start with how I said I'm glad to add another song to RB
that I can play in real life. Knowing the real way to play Oh Pretty
Woman let's me see that the charting for the main riff (the intro,
bridge, outro section) is pretty dumb. One pitch change is not
represented at all (the three green in a row should only be two
greens and maybe a red). More than that, the big misrepresentation
is that hammer on to red. Each note in the actual riff is an
individually plucked single string on a perfect eighth note tempo.
No slides or hammer ons included. I can forgive this, but it's just
feels wrong even if I didn't know the actual tabs. That HO or slide
is just feeling out of place.
My main complaint
goes deeper than the charts. It also goes beyond this pack. My main
complaint has me wondering why these are listed as songs of the
1980's. Yes, these are all re-releases from the 80's, but then again
it seems like Harmonix has not made a solid rule about decade
Son (the cover, I might add) is listed as 1970. This is wrong in any
way you look at it. It's a cover of a song from 1969 that was
recorded (as the cover track) in 2007 or 2008 (my guess). So, the
decade and year got corrected a few months back to 1969. Well, if
Fortunate Son, covered and recorded in the 2000's is a 60's song
then shouldn't the Roy Orbison tracks be 50's (Oobie Doobie is a
song of the 50's...the first in RB for this era) and 60's (the rest
of them are 60's songs)? However, in effect, Orbison covered his own
tunes (in a re-recording) in the 80's. So, do these covers (even of
one's own music) have two sets of rules? Apparently so.
This gets to me
because it means the 60's challenges are pretty screwed to rarely,
if ever, increase in size now that covers are being ignored for RB
tracks. This also means that if you're in the mood for some 80's
challenges you now have potentially six songs that really don't
belong and break the feel of a 80's marathon.
I do have a
hypothesis of why Harmonix did this. However, this guess does not
mean I appreciate what they did on an enjoyment level. My thought is
that Oobie Doobie may be the only 50's song we'll ever see on RB due
to the "no covers" rule and how master tapes of the 50's are
typically two-track recordings (no separate vocal, bass, drum, and
guitar). So, it would require a new decade/era tag and a song that
would not fit into marathons. Of course, a simple update could
always correct this with something like changing the lack of a 50's
header or making 60's into something like "60's and Older".
anything, I just don't dig this unestablished rule of when a track
is listed as coming from since it makes for some misplaced songs in
decade related challenges. I can see something like the Buffett and
Devo tracks being listed as 2008, since many of them were re-done
(not just re-recorded) to change the songs. For example, both
Buffett and Devo added guitar solos when steel drum and synth solos
were originally included. Plus, Buffett even change some lyrics ("I
just want to be a couch potato, and play Rock Band every day" in
Volcano). However, the basic feel of the Orbison tracks are not
touched in the 80's recordings and no major changes were made. In
terms of genetics (forgive me if this sounds lame...I am a molecular
biologist), these songs have 99% identity (exact same DNA) and are
100% similar (no changes that change how the genes/songs are
expressed) to the 50's and 60's versions. In other words, it's the
same organism, so it should be a new classification. At least the
Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden covers change how the vocals sound and
this does make for a different experience.
needs to establish a true set of rules for this. If for nothing
else, they need it for the decade challenges.
Over my long
vacation (on which I am still in mourning over it's too short of a
life) I played some LittleBigPlanet. My friend Tangwich (who also
hooked me up with the AC/DC Track Pack for Christmas...I'll talk
about that sometime in the future) had recently received a PS3. I
think it was a Christmas gift or something. Anyway, he also went
ahead and got LBP.
I won't go into
too many details on the game itself. I could write about it for a
whole week and not even scratch the surface of the user created
level side of thing. Needless to say, the game blew me away in so
many areas. I expected some sort of platformer, but that's all I
could expect. I mean the ads for LBP don't exactly show much detail
on specifics like what the hell is your objective in playing. All I
knew from ads were about the levels you could make, and beyond that
I knew little. I mean a console exclusive killer-app is only
important if you ever think you'll have that console. I was not
exactly excited about the PS3, so I thought LBP would be a one time
First off, the
game is awesome. It is a type of fun not seen since console makers
seemed to give 2D the boot. LBP is not fully 2D, but it's damned
close with only three levels of deepness (you can be in the middle,
back row, or front row of the game). It also, much like the awesome
Braid, only uses one main mechanic in playing; the jump button. No
need for confusion or steep learning curves. You just pick up the
controller and play.
After spending two
different days playing LBP, I also got some firsthand exposure to
Valkyria Chronicles. Once again, without going off about this
awesome game I'd never even heard of before seeing it, this is a
game that I didn't expect. It's a tactical RPG (think Fire Emblem,
Shining Force, etc.) with some really interesting twists, like real
time during a turn based game. It's hard to fully explain without
going into a long ramble, but it is something unexpected if you
haven't been following this game.
This is where my
problem now enters. LBP is awesome. VC is awesome. Now I'm stuck in
a place that usually leads to trouble. My wallet is trying hard to
protect my money, but my head is trying to find a way to outsmart my
wallet and get this money to buy, impulsively, a PS3. I want to
fight, but reality is not helping me.
For example, with
Christmas having just passed, as well as my birthday, I have a small
amount of extra money. Also, with being paid, from my real world
job, once each two weeks, on a Friday, I'm looking at what I call my
bonus month (the month with three Friday paydays). I'm afraid to
admit that I may soon be doing something I never through possible;
buying one of those damned PS3. My only restraint currently is
coming from the fact that there are only two games I feel I must
have (that are actual PS3 exclusives). Rock Band is handled by my
360 (since my DLC and instruments are all 360 versions). GTA4 was
already done on the 360 for this gamer. I think if word of another
awesome game comes to the PS3, my resolve will finally be destroyed
and my wallet shall, once again, lay in waste. Sigh...
On a final note
for today, to end in something positive (at least for me),
Harmonix says there is not going to be a new Rock Band this
year. I guess you could argue, if you're inclined, that the Beatles
game is another RB, but it's a tricky subject there. Anyway, I see
this as good since it means a lack of forced purchases and so forth
that you have to face with the Guitar Hero family of games. If I
want a song, and I play RB, I always have a choice of getting it or
not, and not being forced to get some extra garbage I don't want
Now if only they
would put out some updates to at least even things out on RB2. For
example, make more randomization to the "Do you want to play an
encore?" question. I already know, now, that it will be Any Way You
Want It. Just like the "add a hard drum song?" always leads to Chop
Suey, Lump, or Alive. Also, some new character options would be cool
if it could be managed.
This may be the
last NFL related thing I discuss for a while, so I just want to get
this out there.
Favre, I'm begging you, just f#@$ing retire. I can't be the only
one sick of this damned song and dance each year as the season ends.
Yes, Favre, you are a great QB. You are a HoF member. There's no
doubt about it. You have one of the most prolific careers of any QB
to ever touch the NFL. You rank up there with all of the greats.
you fail to be with the greats in one important way; class. Yes,
some great HoF QBs were classless asses. However, none of them have
shown this audacity to, constantly, end a season with this whole "I
will retire" bullshit. You have claimed to be retiring for the
last...how many damned years have it been? You completely retired
last year, only to act like a spoiled brat after you surprised
everyone by demanding to be back in the game. Stop it now. You would
end on one hell of a high note.
You have a ring to
your legacy, as well as being a QB who could turn the Jets into an
awesome team (who unfortunately are in one damned strong division).
You have pulled out so many amazing moves and you have a secure
legacy. It's time to step back and let the next generation go at it.
Actually, make that two generations since you've been doing this
retirement shuffle long enough for a whole generation of QBs to come
and almost go.
Favre, please, I'm
begging you...just call it quits now. You own so many records that
may never be beaten just from your length of service. Hell, you even
own the career interception record. Maybe hitting so many
milestones, including those bad ones, would teach you that you've
gone on long enough.
for Rock Band this up coming Tuesday, we will get a Lenny
Kravitz 4 pack ($2/song or $7 for the pack) and two singles from
Harmonix artists. There's an Honest Bob song and a track from
Megasus. These each go for $1 (not bad for Honest Bob, who has
always given me enjoyment in Harmonix games). Now I just wonder
if/when we'll see some Freezepop in the post-RB1 world.
I would comment
more on these tracks, but I don't want to. I mean I already said
Honest Bob is cool with me (especially for $1). I don't know Megasus
and will have to wait on that to see how it sounds. As for LK...not
a fan. If the charts are good, I may look into them, but I'm not a
fan of his work. Nothing against the man, since he is quite skilled,
but I just don't dig his style. At least I still have a ton of good
songs to play from all the other weeks of more interesting, to me,
DLC. So, it's all good.
I said that last
bit to show how an ideal response would be to this music versus my
tastes. This is opposed to the typical internet anonymity (message
boards) response of "OGM teh lamezor!1!". Really...with over 500
songs, it's fine if a week or two don't meet your desires. The only
complaint I can honestly fault Harmonix for is when they hit a genre
too many times in a short time frame (like the metal/nearly-metal
DLC storm at the end of last summer...that was overkill). However,
with the recent variety we've been getting, I say keep up the good
work to Harmonix.
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