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Malik (3/2/09)

Today I got another email from Play-Asia. It was about my pre-order (now back ordered) Demon's Souls. I was feeling slightly excited until I saw it was the same deal as my last email from them. The type of email that tells me I should have pre-ordered sooner, but I had to be slow about it (waiting until three weeks before launch) and now this very hard to get game is still hard to get.

This is driving me crazy since I just want to be able to enjoy this game and I have nothing else to really play until it comes to my door. I am tempted to try Dragon Quest V on the DS since the first version (SNES) seemed good, but a limited amount of Japanese knowledge made it a bit hard to understand. However, with a game like DQ5, it can become a time devourer. Which, of course, means that once I get DQ5, then my Demon's Souls will ship and be in my hands leaving two engrossing RPGs to devour my time and not enough patience to play both at once.

Anyway, I'm stuck in a gamer rut of this nature until possible the end of the month (when more Demon's Souls copies should be available, at the latest). This means my posts will be shorter and more random than normal. However, at least having little else to do leaves me with more time for Rock Band. Two not normal bands (not my regular weekend band, that it) in one weekend is not a bad thing. Plus, with Texas Flood coming tomorrow, it means I'll have more time to enjoy this classic of blues rock.


Malik (3/3/09)

Today I'll finally have a little something different to do in the realm of gaming. I'll be picking up the Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood album DLC in Rock Band. The only thing that may prevent this download is if the charts look less than awesome. I know they will be hard as hell at times (I remember Texas Flood in one of those past Guitar Hero games...maybe it was GH1), but assuming they are fun, then I'll pick them up.

Beyond this little dose of Rock Band, I'm still lacking any game diversions. Every time I think of picking up something fun, be it Dragon Quest V (DS), DQ4 (DS), Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (or whatever it's called), or a past RPG that is calling out to me (Shadow Hearts sounds fun right now), I come to a conclusion. As soon as I get involved in a new game, I know that my Demon's Souls backorder will clear and I'll have too many time devouring games at once.

I still have a hard time believing a game that sold so well in Japan each week since it's launch, like Demon's Souls did, did not find it's production ramped up for the Asian release. Especially with Demon's Souls being fully English in the Asian release and with PS3 games being region free, I would have imagined a bit of a boost in production to meet a quite likely demand spike.

I guess it'll just be me and a little RB for the next few weeks as I fight the temptation to try something else out to kill some time while waiting. Blah.


Malik (3/5/09)

I finally got around to trying out some of the new Rock Band tracks last night. It was more of me having time while waiting for my laptop to do a dozen updates (the joy of not using my laptop for a month) to Windows XP, my anti-virus, Java, and just about anything else the damned laptop could think of.

I did get the new No Doubt single, as well as any Stevie Ray Vaughan songs that had full band participation (no instrumental songs). Ironically, despite SRV having a higher guitar difficulty, it was only the new No Doubt track that caused me to fail. Sometimes I think the teir system is a bit off when you have some three dot songs that can be a lot harder to keep up on than a five dot song. At least the devil face difficulty is usually pretty true (except Rambling Man on guitar is not as hard as that tier implies).

Anyway, from a guitar perspective, on expert, all of the eight songs I picked up are worth it. Especially true is the SRV stuff, which was meant for the glory of guitar or vocals, with drums and bass playing second fiddle. These are fast, frantic, and damned good sounding songs that really remind me of the other great blues rock songs/artists that are needed in Rock Band. If Harmonix could add some Eric Clapton, I think I could be happy with the selection for this previously untapped genre. As it stands, SRV does a good job representing the genre, but it's only enough to offer a taste instead of what would feel like a more complete experience.

Now I'll cut this post short. Having gone on four hours of sleep last night, I think these are all of the semi-coherent thoughts I can manage for one day.


Malik (3/6/09)

Next week, Harmonix is releasing some good singles. However, they remind me of how Harmonix would be a little cooler in my eyes to make all sets with two singles of an artist into a full fledged three pack. For example, All I Want and The Kids Aren't Alright are two amazing Offspring songs...but a third song would just make it a little cooler.

Anyway, the rest of the four singles for next week are Losing My Religion by REM (not a bad song, but it does seem not quite typical of Rock Band), and The Way That It Shows by Richard Thompson. I honestly cannot comment on the Richard Thompson single. Maybe the little line on the weekly announcement about Richard Thompson being one of the top 20 guitarists of all time (according to Rolling Stone) should get me to recognize the man, but I just have no idea who he is or what song this is. I guess that's why youtube exists (perfect way to preview 95% of all announced songs so far).

Anyway, I know that Offspring and Rock Band are two of my favorite things to see coming together. I hope more songs keep coming along from them, but I doubt I'd ever see some of my favorites make it to the game. In particular, I'd love to see their self titled album tapped for RB, but songs like Tehran, Jennifer Lost The War, **** The President (removed from recent editions of the album and not allowed to really be fully named in the post-9/11 US unless you want to be under paranoid thoughts of strict government scrutiny), and LAPD would be too "unclassy" for the game unless they ever were to include songs that could be a little more politically motivated, and less gentle on the T rating.

At least this music selection, with the possible exception of Richard Thompson (since I really can't place a sound/style to his name), is a great counter-balance for the Stevie Ray Vaughan stuff that came out this week.

Last of all for tonight, I'm going to be catching The Watchmen, which should be good. It's amazing seeing the contrasting reviews out there. It seems half of reviewers love the movie (especially Roger Ebert, who I've always considered a good source of very down-to-Earth reviews) and the other half hate it. It also seems, in correlation, that half of the reviews just don't seem to get the identity and style of the original graphic novel. Considering how I do enjoy the original material, I think I'll be in for as good of a movie from it as one could expect within the limitations of the media.

On a final note for the week, added after my other final thought since I didn't see this earlier; Information on The Beatles: Rock Band is finally surfacing. I can't say too much with the knowledge being limited to price ($60 for the game, $100 for a single guitar, and $250 for the bundle package) and release date (9/9/09), and that it doesn't look like it'll be coming to the PS2 (about time, since the system is now getting too old to be considered current).

My main thought is that these better be the best damned instruments ever crafted for a game to be so pricey. $100 for a guitar, when any of the Rock Band 1 or 2 instruments (or Guitar Hero ones for that matter) are cheaper and compatible. Add in that Harmonix has not been doing well with instrument reliability since parting ways with Red Octane. So, is this just going to be the most expensive instruments possible that will be even more pricey if you factor cost:durability ratios?

Anyway, I'm not the most interested in this game since it seems like it would only be a stand-alone title (with strong implying words from Harmonix that it will not export to RB/RB2) and may only feature The Beatles' songs. I'm not knocking The Beatles, since I listen to them nearly every day on my iPod (on shuffle), and they are the first band I can remember listening to as a kid and enjoying that didn't sing about wheels on busses and how they can go 'round and 'round. However, with having hundreds of songs and only so much variety (more than most bands, but still limited to a few primary sound types), I can see myself growing tired of their music pretty quickly if the game features nothing else to diverty my attention. I mean I don't like the whole GH: Aerosmith and GH: Metallica ideas, but at least they have other bands, including ones like The Clash (GH:A) and Social Distortion (GH:M).

Most importantly, however, I will keep one fact in mind; we don't know shit about this game...yet. We will know more in the coming months, but until then, this game shouldn't be dismissed or welcomed any more than any other game that's in the planning phase. Not out? No real information? No need to make an opinion or decision.


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