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Malik (6/30/08)

Rock Band 2! That is the word for today. In September, the next Rock Band is coming, and it sounds pretty damned sweet. However, before diving into this giant tangle of knowledge on the sequel, a small bit of info on the original...

Who's Next is out, but a greatest hits of The Who pack is coming in the next month. For $2 a song or $20 for the 12 song pack, we'll see My Generation, Who Are You, and plenty of other true classics of rock. Unfortunately, Who's Next is out due to the rumors floating around the net being true; the masters are AWOL.

Back to Rock Band 2, and how DLC like this ties in; all DLC from the games will be fully compatible across the franchise. In other words, this will be the first game to allow DLC to go across titles on the 360 and PS3. Definitely not a bad deal when you see how big of a library this means RB2 could have when the game launches. Hell, I'll be starting with probably around 180+ songs on a rhythm game when it's launched. That's enough to get me happy to pay another introductory $60 price tag.

While no tracks have been announced that will be on the core RB2 game, some big hype is being generated with phrases like how these tracks will be the best soundtrack ever for a game and it will showcase "who's who" of rock music. Knowing Harmonix, this is hype I can easily swallow.

Also, the instruments and core game are all being redone to refine the experience. While the details are pretty vague at this point, I think the ideas being floated about DLC fitting into BWT is sounding sweet. The people at Harmonix seem intent on finally realizing what I've been wanting (and posting about wanting on this site) for a long while; a way to tie in DLC fully within the BWT. This will be a definite requirement for me to fully enjoy the game. Afterall, the one thing that has always made me sad about BWT is that as my DLC library grows, most sets are not being expanded upon. I mean it's all well and good to have DLC show in custom and random sets, but you still have 90% of the sets floating around the same damned songs you've been playing for over six months.

I also am excited about the possibility of seeing something new for the songs that kill me every time. In other words, I'm excited about being able to no longer be slain by Green Grass or Flirting With Disaster. I need something else to kick my sorry ass. This should fulfill my desire by having the old core songs out of the picture. I do, however, still see the strong possibility of Harmonix releasing the original tracks as DLC at some point to allow the full set list of the games to be crossed how some GH songs showed up on GH2 for the 360.

Overall, most of the details are pretty vague for now, but I do have some solid questions/wondering thoughts I would love to hear the answers/explanations for sooner than later. For one thing, I really hope we can somehow transfer characters from RB to RB2. I've spent a lot of time on making my guitarist, and I don't want to rebuild him if it's not needed.

Is there a way to transfer instruments for a character on RB2? I mean could we have our guitarist also play drums without making a new character? Afterall, RB seems to imply that Dave Grohl doesn't exist, for example.

On the same line of thinking; can one character do singing and instrument work, or will you still need two characters to handle the job? Afterall, it takes some fun out of RB by having to make an extra character if I want to pull vocal duties while playing an instrument.

I also want to know all of the instrument changes. I mean the guitar looks the same on the outside (but a bit sweeter with the sunburst and the wood paneling), but are there new effects on the pickup selector. Also, I really want to see where the new drum design is heading. I hope we do finally see the cymbals up high like on a real drum set. Maybe also an official mic (not the Mad Catz one) with a d-pad and buttons to eliminate the need for the extra 360 controller.

At least the guitar looks similar, so it's pretty safe to say that the instruments are pretty universal. In other words, it doesn't look like features will be out of action for people who like using the RB Strat as opposed to the RB2 Strat. I mean after paying so much on the original bundle, I know I don't want to buy a new bundle instead of just the game. However, if the new instruments are much better (maybe a f$#@ing metal bass pedal already), I do hope they are available from day case they are worth the investment from RB1 owners.

Of course I have one more question that has haunted me since the original Rock Band came along; what's with the music selection in terms of decade? First off, we have only a few songs that fall into the 1960's (I'm sorry, but Harmonix, Fortunate Son is from 1969, not the 70's). Yes, the Beatles are coming soon, in rumor and theory. However, there's more to the 1960's than the Beatles. There's a lot of good old music in that decade that gave the true birth to Rock, and not just Rock 'n' Roll.

More than that, where's the love for the 1950's? Yes, there wasn't much rock from that decade, but you cannot just pass off Elvis, Little Richard, and most of all Chuck Berry. I would love to see the 50's get a little love with some Johnny B Goode action. Maybe also some Richie Valens with La Bamba. It's not a decade to ignore for fast and fun songs. Maybe the instruments were a bit simple, but that didn't keep Silver (Pixies) or Roxanne from coming to RB.

Anyway, there are too many questions possible to ponder right now. This is great news overall, and September cannot come soon enough. Hell, E3, when more info will be released, cannot come soon enough. Normally, I am against sequels to rhythm games, just because it feels like a rehash of more of the same, I think this will be more than worth the price. Between keeping DLC from RB and the fixes we should be seeing in place on RB2, this game will probably be able to keep me happy for a long time to come (much like RB has been in my schedule at least every Friday since Thanksgiving of 2007).


Malik (7/2/08)

I did look at the charts for the songs that came out yesterday. Thankfully, I can count on the Npeaen youtube channel for help in making my decisions each week. However, I just can't find the will to pay for anything on that pack. Even as a non-fan of Trapt and Papa Roach, I could name better songs for their selections. As a mild fan of 80's rock, I could definitely think of better Crue songs than Down at the Whiskey.

At least the free song from Vesuvius (a movie tie in song) looks good. It's also a good looking practice song for zig-zags like one would find on Green Grass. However, I'll probably hold off for a few days to "buy" this track (since it's listed as "purchased" after you download it).

The songs for the The Who pack have been revealed on The Who's web site. While many of the songs were to be expected (Baba 'O Riley, Eminence Front), I was surprised to see a lack of Pinball Wizard (which was anticipated since the leaked list came attached to some DLC several months back). It's also going to be the first time when live tracks are used in Rock Band.

Overall, this is definitely going to be well worth the price (be it $2 per song or $20 for all 12 songs in a pack). This is the type of music that should at the very least be picked through by rock fans and the entire set is a definite for any fans of classic rock. Not a bad deal, at all.

I also should add that the stuff posted on that link is a good read. For all those supposed real musicians who keep talking about the usual line of bullshit (why don't you buy a real instrument), I have to love how Townshend is a fan of Rock Band for how it can bring people together. Take that you people who have to try to force real over fun (even on people who...I don't know...have both Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero games but still play real instruments).

On a final hit of Rock Band info, some songs from Rock Band 2 are being speculated about due to some footage on X-Play last night. The songs listed don't show the band names, but the titles are pretty damned obvious on who they are from.

While I'm betting All The Small Things and More Than a Feeling are part of Rock Band DLC being present on the game, it looks like Foo Fighter (Everlong!!!), Journey (Anyway You Want It!!!), Motorhead (Ace of Spades!!!), System of a Down (Chop Suey...vocalists are in for some trouble), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Give it Away), and The Who (that's where Pinball Wizard went...) are all present. On top of that, there's Kids in America, Hello There (Cheap Trick is always cool), and either Dream Theater or Finger Eleven (Panic Attack...whichever artist it will be) present.

Just from one little clip of a TV show preview there is so damned much to look forward to. Harmonix is definitely sticking to one thing they mentioned before; making RB2 a listing of who's who in rock.

I just hope that this listing is not the only time we see Journey being brought up in regards to RB or RB2 in the immediate future.


Malik (7/3/08)

I'm getting ready for three days of freedom from life's forces of obligations. In other words, it's a three day weekend starting from when I get this posted.

My ideas for discussion today are more than limited. I think being up a bit late hanging with one of my friends left me a bit tired, but that's what I call a good excuse for tired laziness. In fact, I'd personally take tired laziness following hanging with a friend over being awake and living the hermit life any day of the week.

So, I'll just keep this short by saying one thing;

Assuming Howard Schultz doesn't sell his soul to the devil, the Sonics are gone from Seattle. I was born the same year as the championship season and have known the Sonics since I first learned of professional sports. I will miss the feeling of basketball in the winter. However, I'm fine with just devoting a hair more enthusiasm towards the Seahawks.

As for the settlement, I don't see Seattle getting the extra $30 million. Not because they don't get another team, but because it will not go that far. The state will not authorize the ability to collect for an arena overhaul. That will end it all right there.

It's nice to not be in a region being held hostage by a sports team. However, the real losers in this are not the fans. The real losers are not in the Seattle or Washington governments (although this will hurt re-election campaigns for anyone involved). The real losers are two fold;

The NBA, who has a dumbass at it's helm (Stern) who would trade the 13th largest market in the US for OKC. Plus, when trying to expand into Asia, why throw out one of the largest gateways from the US to the Far East? It seems that only Cuban (who has a lot of my respect) and Allen (who always has my respect for doing so well with the Seahawks) were smart enough to see this.

The other losers are the people who run bars and restaurants around Key Arena. It's a shitty little neighborhood that needed an attraction like the Sonics to keep these businesses in the black. Without the Sonics, I see some of the part-time employees going to the no-time employee status. I don't see any of the $45 million going their way in any form, and that's where most talk of economic damages were assessed for for the lame ass trial. These businesses were used as examples of why the time is needed, but tossed aside when the price was right.

July 2nd...the day the only championship team in Seattle left.

Extra bit: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rush next week on Rock Band.  None of the songs impress me (like another version of Working we need to double a song already in the Rock Band lifespan?).  I'm not a giant duplicate fan, Rush fan, or fan of this style of RHCP (give me Give It Away or Other Side and I'll change my tune), so I'll save my MP for The Who.


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