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Malik (10/19/09)

I said on Friday that I'd only have a lot to really say today if the Seattle sports scene looked really bad. Well, I think a long post is not worth it for the performance seen by the Seahawks yesterday.

I mean if the Seahawks will not put in any effort on the field, I will not put in any effort on bitching about them. Between the defense giving up on every play, the offensive line not giving a damn, and the special teams doing whatever random shit they could to encourage a was just a game with zero effort.

I think the one part, however, that stands out the most is the lack of defense. The Cards only called two main plays; a run and a short pass. There were no trick plays, long or even medium passes, or anything that went beyond a short pass or run up the middle. This was the easiest game in the world for a defensive coordinator to play against, yet the Seahawks didn't do anything against the Cards and their half-assed offense.

When you play a team that's as lame as the current Cards, you cannot expect much, but the Seahawks came in with even lower expectations. We're not talking about a good team in a good division. We're talking about a team that's now tied for second in their division only because the division is so damned weak and unable to muster anything beyond lucky plays and a schedule loaded with six games against horribly weak teams.

At least some things weren't all bad in the Seattle sports scene. The Huskies lost by seven points. I call that a good game when you're watching a team go through a complete retooling and rebuilding. UW was horrible last season, and now they show a spark of life that's quite ready to explode next fall. In fact, if you look at the UW losses, there's only been one (out of four) that has been by more than a touchdown. It was seven points on Saturday, seven against Notre Dame in overtime, and...well...UW is definitely putting in some effort and making some good progress from the horrible team they were last season.

Then there's the Sounder FC, who have clinched a place in the post season on their expansion year. Not too many teams can pull that off, and now the Sounders are facing the potential of adding more hardware to their US Open Cup.


Malik (10/21/09)

I downloaded every song that came for Rock Band DLC yesterday. Which is to say that I downloaded the Queen pack.

I can't really say too much since it is pretty obvious to most music fans that Queen sounds like Queen. I mean they are the quintessential arena rock band of the 1970's. If you don't know their music, then you should make some effort to learn.

The only real comments I can say is that the difficulty seems a little off on some least on expert guitar. For example, Tie Your Mother Down seems a bit easier than the lower tier ranked Fat Bottom Girls. The same goes for Another One Bites The Dust seeming a bit low on difficulty rank. Yes, AOBTD is a simple song for most of the guitar part, but the chorus can be a nasty thing when you have a quick burst of alternating pairs of B and then B+O.

Ok...I have one more comment. For the guitar players, Harmonix needs to start discounting or refunding for certain purchases. Either that, or they need a warning label. Some songs have warnings that state there's no vocals in a song and the band playing said song will not be able to have a vocalist. Well, how about the same style of warning for a song like Smokin' (Boston), a good deal of the Nine Inch Nails songs, or Somebody To Love (Queen)...but a warning that says "You're about to play piano, organ, or keyboard instead of guitar. We apologize for the crap-tastic way we chart piano to guitar." I think that would definitely make things more fun than not knowing you're about to not play guitar.

In fact, since Somebody To Love has such a lack of guitar, couldn't have Harmonix substituted another song. Maybe something like Headlong. I mean that's some good fast guitar without a ton of keyboard style crap.

Anyway, beyond that one complaint, it is a good pack. I mean it's ten songs from Queen. What more could you ask for? Well, maybe another ten songs from Queen, but that's possibly taking things too far. After all, it's Queen...and not Foo Fighters, who Harmonix feels needs about 100 songs in the game.


Malik (10/23/09)

Next week will at least see a touch of the Halloween with Rock Band DLC. I'm talking about a three pack of Rob Zombie, including the long overdue Dragula. There's also some other songs (like a five pack of Wolfmother), but when it's nearly Halloween, I think Rob Zombie is all that's needed.

Anyway, I'm still not quite feeling as much love for Rock Band lately. I mean there's Brutal Legend, and next week is also the release of The Ballad of Gay Tony (GTA4 DLC). So, I think my downloading of RB DLC may take a back seat for a while, with the exception of Rob Zombie. I also just feel jaded to the whole rhythm game thing since I can't find too many people to play with offline...and I just can't get my head around online playing. It's not like I haven't given the RB online play system a chance, since I did once with a friend. I just didn't like the complete lack of the whole Rock Band vibe. A vibe that, for me at least, includes beer breaks, joking around, and watching a bit of bad TV when grabbing some food.

For now, I'm still trying to play as much Brutal Legend as possible. I want the game to be completed, for me, before Tuesday. However, I have one problem with that scenario; I just don't like the pseudo-RTS stuff in Brutal Legend. It's not a bad idea, but the game seems to have been both built around the concept and completely lacking in being built around it. For example, the game uses RTS style for all major battles and quests in single player and uses the system exclusively for multiplayer. However, in the single player, you seem to get fewer explanations of the system than needed, and the game lacks any real motivation to learn beyond the game over screen appearing repeatedly.

The main problem, however, is that the RTS system seems to lack a few basic ideas. For one, you don't have any sense of a map, and you can look for enemies or goals to accomplish and be hit by a sudden "if you keep going this way, you'll forfeit the battle" when you hit an imaginary boundary. Then you have some rather clunky controls since you will find the same restriction on RTS commands as you do in the normal hack-n-slash game controls...which is to say that you cannot enter commands when you're being attacked, and this means that when in a heavy battle you can forget on controlling your army and its growth.

The final big problem I've found is that the game seems based around the idea of pulling off team attacks with fellow troops. However, you rarely get a chance to try out and learn these different attacks. The only real time you have to learn the importance of these attacks is when you're under attack...and at that point you may end up killing yourself off by picking the wrong troop to team up with or being sloppy with an attack you just can't understand without some real time to practice outside of major fighting.

Anyway, I just am not a fan of the RTS system. The game is great fun, and I can see people enjoying the RTS engine. However, I can see more people not liking it. If you hate RTS games, but love hack-n-slash, then you're forced to use a genre you don't like (and probably didn't expect based on the ads for this game). If you like RTS, like I typically do, you'll probably be annoyed with how the system feels nerfed and toned back to the point of being sloppy. Most of all, if you love RTS and enjoy how they should be played (mouse), then the basic controls can become annoying until you're in the fighting yourself. After all, the only real charm of this system is how it will allow you to fight along side your army and not just serve as general/spectator.


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