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Malik (7/7/08)

There are a couple of rumored set lists out there for Rock Band 2, including one with 84 tracks on it. These lists have come from a cross between long rumored bands, supposedly leaked lists from people who tested the game, and those few songs revealed on X-Play last week.

I don't know what to make of these lists as a whole, but a few things do stand out to me. The most obvious being that these lists seem to sound, to me at least, more like GH4/GH:WT set lists than Rock Band sets. For example, you have Metallica, Testament, Megadeth, Mastodon, and a lot of other really heavy and metal songs. It seems less like what we've grown to know RB to be about. It also looks like these would imply that the final tier (with so many songs in the works, I wonder if tiers will go higher this time or if we'll just have more songs per tier than the usual five at the start) on guitar is going the GH3 way...pure metal. Afterall, how else would the final tier of guitar look when you have Metallica, Megadeth, Mastodon, and other incredibly technical and heavy guitar songs?

The other thing that strikes me about these lists is what is included that seems out of place. For example, Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated) from the Offspring was supposed to be a DLC according to sources in the last few weeks that are close to Offspring.

Most of all, there's a little something missing that seems unusual to me; The Beatles. They have been part of the rumored RB2 sets since it was first revealed that this prolific group was first rumored to be in negotiations with Harmonix and Activision a few months ago.

Anyway, the most important take home message from this all is one word; rumored. These lists, as they stand, could be in the game...but they could also be rumored lists that include songs that won't be in the game. They could also be including DLC that will be released prior to or at the launch of RB2. Until Harmonix gives their official word, I don't trust any of this, and no one should. Yes, I would like to go crazy for I Was Wrong (awesome Social Distortion song), Where'd You Go (I do want some Bosstones), and a good deal of the other songs, but it's too damned early to get hopes up on any of this. The only lists to trust is the one shown on X-Play, and even that could easily change if Harmonix wishes it.

The one thing not being mentioned that I'd like to see in RB2, however, is the definition of "classy" being revamped. I want to see some common names fixed. I could go off about how "Malik" (my screen name in many things for many years) is a real name and well accepted in many cultures. Instead, I'd like to mention some names found in many parts of rock and music in general. Names like Willie (a certain Mr. Nelson comes to mind instantly), Dick/Dicky/Dickie (Mr. Vale made awesome music), and any name that contains the letters that spell out improper words despite not being the same context when used with other words ("ass" being the most obvious).

I want my band(s) and my characters to finally be free to be listed on the online leader boards. I am sick of being the unseen member of a band or having to take too damned long to make a band name because I used some letters best not seen by puritan knee-jerking idiots.

On a final note for today, I came across one funny article at Kotaku. In itself, this isn't really anything humorous. All it says is that Led Zeppelin is not comfortable with their music being used in Rock Band or Guitar Hero games. This probably applies quite quickly to all other rhythm games (Rock Revolution, DDR, blah, blah). It all comes down to not wanting their master tapes to fall into anyone's hands but their own.

First question I have when seeing that is simple; would they license their music to be covered by one of the Harmonix cover bands? If so, I don't see a problem Yes, a cover of Zep would be lame compared to the original, but it would still rock more than no cover or original. It's like how we have a cover of various Rush songs, Last Train to Clarksville, the Iron Maiden songs, and so on. Yes, the covers suck when compared to the originals, but when the originals are not available, then the covers are a damned bit better than nothing.

The part that makes this humorous is that the answer is probably obvious; they wouldn't let their songs be covered. This is all speculation in this paragraph, but I think Plant, Page, and Jones would all say that it would ruin the integrity of their work, art, vision, or whatever buzz word is wanted. I can't see any other reason to fear having a song of theirs in a game that even Pete Townshend said is a great way to bring people together. The part that is icing on the cake, or more aptly put as "the punch line" in all of this is simple; Puff Daddy was still able to skull f#@$ Kashmir a decade ago.

At least Harmonix (I'll even give Activision some credit with this, as well) shows respect to music and is not just out there to perverse or damage the legacy of great rock epics and anthems (unlike Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, or whatever the f$#@ he wants to be known as at any given time).


Malik (7/8/08)

Gamespot has some coverage from pre-E3 stuff on Rock Band 2. I can only think of one thing to say; OMG!

There's the obvious new stuff, like anyone can play any instrument (I guess Harmonix now believes that Dave Grohl exists and is not something magical/imaginary like a unicorn or a proper note chart on a Neversoft GH game). There's also no more band leaders, so you can make and change bands pretty quickly without regret of having a bad setup (like having a vocalist for the leader and then never playing that band anymore since no one wants to touch vocals anymore). Unfortunately, this also means that in a small way, bands are less worthwhile. By this, I mean that a band doesn't really feel like a band when you can change anything without any single element (member) being constant. At the least, a leader should remain, but be able to change instruments. That would keep the band feeling alive.

Also, it looks like all DLC is backwards compatible and forwards compatible across the franchise, like we've known for some time. But, it also looks like more hints are being dropped on being able to use all RB1 songs in RB2...and I mean the core songs. I want to see how this is done, since there is way too much room for piracy or weird DRM bullshit involved. The way Harmonix deals with this may impress me more than anything else in the game...even if it's not as fun to be impressed by as the game itself.

There's also the obvious addition, as we all expected, of BWT online. However, I honestly don't give a shit about this. I think there's just something about RB that requires a group of people to be together in one room. Between the beer, the bullshitting, the socializing, the bitching, the excitement, and the feeling of working together, I don't see online being able to replicate the offline experience. Then again, I'm lucky enough to have a solid group of two constant band mates each Friday, and a few pretty regular alternates to keep us rocking.

However, the other modes have definitely changed. Solo tour is gone. Now we have Tour Challenge. These can be played in any group size (one player up to four) and have you accomplishing a set of non-linear challenges. I almost see this looking a bit like BWT, but allowing for single player fun. The challenges are supposed to focus on your given instrument of choice in solo, and it will integrate DLC. This means the challenges will never end, to some extent. While I'm already overly hyped on this, I should relax until Harmonix fully divulges what this mode means. Also, I'd love to see what the BWT will now look like since Tour Challenge sounds a lot like BWT from the first RB.

Finally, there's now info on a Battle of the Bands mode. It sounds a lot like a score challenge, but whatever. Tour Challenge and BWT are all that I am caring about right now.

No. That's a lie.

All I care about is what has been said about the will incorporate DLC. This means that all mode should be able to do so. This means that the expansion pack I dreamed up a few months back for RB is about to be realized (but not as an expansion). The one part of the game that always annoyed me was how little DLC mattered. It just feels weak if it only comes up in random or self made sets. I wanted it in the actual BWT sets. Afterall, I would prefer to play some songs a lot less, but these core songs (like Dead on Arival) have to be played in certain sets, with no way around them. This may still be the case, but there's a good chance that there will be more sets out there to keep up with never ending DLC. This will ensure, I am hoping (and anticipating) that we won't have to face a choice of only a few possible sets to play before unlocking another group...and all of those few sets have something to fear and dread.

Anyway, Harmonix has won over my gaming soul. They don't have to do or say anything between now and September and I will keep going ape shit every time I think of RB2. If RB kept me playing for the last 8-9 months without me wanting to stop, I can see RB2 doing so until my fake Strat is pried from my dead hands.


Malik (7/9/08)

I don't think any of the new songs for this week are exactly calling for me. While the music is not of the type I'd be down for (what is with Stadium Arcadium Red Hot Chili Peppers? They do have some good old albums to tap into), I still looked at the expert guitar charts.

On one hand, I am not a Rush fan, so I'd need some damned fun charts to get me to buy the Rush tracks. It's not out of the realm of possibilities, since Limelight was fun enough of a chart to attract me. However, if Working Man failed the first time, a new solo is not going to do it.

As for the RDCH tracks, Tell Me Baby or whatever the name is of the track that's not Snow (Hey Oh) looked dull. It's a bunch of simple single note repetition. If it was a song from their older days (Other Side would be an awesome RB song), I may have considered it. But failing on the chart, the song had no hope for me.

As for Snow (Hey Oh)...damn! I don't think I'd want to touch that song with a ten foot pole. The expert guitar just looked too much like the expert bass part for Green Grass during the second guitar solo, but on crack. There's nothing too technical, like sliding scales, but there are a lot of fast hammer ons that just look like they would kill my will to well as killing my left hand.

At least next week will be pure awesome with The Who.


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