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Malik (11/19/07)

It is only one more day until what I view as my take on the "childhood Christmas" scenario.  That is to say that tomorrow is when I'll finally have Rock Band in my all so deserving hands.  I don't know if I'm so "deserving", but I need that game and I want that game like no others in such a long time.  The last time I felt the need for a game this badly was when I first played Guitar Hero at a friend's home and knew that Christmas (when Velveta was giving me the game) was so far away...

I just wish Rock Band would be a game that Gamestop would break the street date on.  On one hand, I want the game, but on the other hand I think they need to move it.  According to message boards and other rumors, Rock Band was starting to show up in stock rooms at various Gamestops as of the middle of last week.  With how small so many Gamestops are, you can only think that this would be a problem...big box (the bundle boxes sound pretty damned big) in a tiny room...multiplied by 30 or so per store.  It's the ideal scenario for breaking a street date, but with how much trouble that has caused lately with other games breaking street dates at other retail outlets (ToysRUs comes to mind), I don't see Gamestop taking the inventory clearing method until tomorrow morning.

My only hope for Rock Band that has not materialized, yet, is that some more DLC gets announced.  In particular, I'm thinking that some Social Distortion content is needed.  With how all four basic elements of Rock Band (great vocals, lead and rhythm guitars with strong sounds, a well used bass, and some good drum patterns) are covered so well by Social D, they seem like the perfect band to be used for a different take on a punk DLC.  Instead of just hitting one or two types of punk, the Southern Cali punk sound could be hit upon.

Anyway, yesterday was another great win by the Seahawks. was another good win.  That opening drive was enough to eliminate "great" from describing their victory.  It's one thing to try to take Hester out of the picture by altering your kicking and punting patterns, but it's another thing when you give the opposing team excellent field position for their opening drive.  That type of setup, where you almost give away a touchdown on the opening drive, is the perfect thing to demoralize your team and set the other team up with a major momentum shift.

At least the situation was handled in time.  It didn't take long for the Seahawks to re-start what they only recently (as of last week) discovered; scoring in the first quarter is a good thing).  The Seahawks may have started with a sloppy opening Bear's drive, but the momentum never fully left the Seahawks.  There was plenty of scoring, and a final victory of 7 points (10 going into the final few minutes of the fourth quarter) is a definite solid win.

I think, like I said last week, the big difference for the Seahawks the last two games have been one important factor; Alexander is out.  I hope he takes his sweet time to recover from one side of his body (knee, ankle, and wrist) being completely messed up.  With Alexander on the bench, Holmgren has finally started to rely on the single most consistent player of the season; Hasselbeck.  Or should I say the right arm of Hasselbeck.  He has found receivers in tight positions, and in the open, and has delivered far more reliably this season than anyone could have thought possible with his previous seasons.  Hasselbeck is truly coming into his own...and it's about time.

Plus, despite shifting to a majority of passing plays has not equaled the death of the Seahawks running game.  In fact, Morris is really coming into his own on the team.  True, he hasn't had any triple digit running games since becoming the starting running back.  However, he has come close.  With an offensive more focused on the passing game, he's been doing pretty damned well with topping 80 yards per game.  In fact, at one point yesterday, Morris was averaging twice as much per run as what Alexander had been achieving this season.

It may be time for Holmgren, once Alexander is healthy, to look into a different style of running game.  In other words, go with a two runner package more often.  Alexander may be the former MVP, but he is no longer at the same level.  He is 30 years old, and for a running back that is close to retirement age.  Meanwhile, Morris is still pretty young and has an entirely different style.  Instead of strong arming his way out of tackles, Morris avoids the whole situation with a great foresight for finding  holes and gaps.  Throw in his sudden bursts of speed and you have one hell of a potential star.  He just needs to be given some opportunities once Alexander is back...and Alexander needs far fewer opportunities.  Back in the 2005 season, I was one of the biggest Alexander fans (and I still like the guy...he's a good guy), but I was able to see that he is falling from his previous level of amazing abilities.  Why does Holmgren have such a hard time seeing this?  Isn't Holmgren the one who's job is based on seeing this type of ability?

Anyway, a win is a win.  Better yet, a good win is a good win.  Yesterday was a good game for the Seahawks and it will help to keep their momentum going as they close in on the end of the season.  Luckily, the rest of the season is leaning more towards the easy side than the hard side.  They only have two more games to face against division rivals, and the Rams (despite some recent success) are still a joke.  The only thing in the way of another divisional title is Arizona.  They have been having a bit of fortune (especially compared to the previous half dozen seasons), but I think they still will fall in the NFC West to the Seahawks.  In fact, I think the Seahawks still have the potential to end with a good looking record.  They may be 6-4 (and only one game up on Arizona), but that can easily still be a 10-6 or even a 12-4 record when January rolls around.

The only real question, in my eyes, is this; what will happen when Alexander demands to be let back into the game, despite not being ready?  Will Holmgren do the smart thing, or will he once again let his past respect for the guy ruin the balance of a pass friendly offense?


Malik (11/21/07)

Rock Band is beyond awesome.  However, there are a few warnings that need to be stated.  I would go over the whole game (good and bad), but the good speaks for itself.  This game is definitely a 9.5/10 in my book.  However, there are two issues you need to be aware of to play this game.

First cannot add or drop band members on the fly on offline co-op tour mode.  I don't know if I'm missing something, but Bastich and I looked for quite some time and found no way (beyond forming a new band) to change what part he was playing.  We tried to make a four person band, with just the two of us, and dropping out the extra people.  Sadly, if you drop them, they were still required to start the song and probably to play the song (equaling instant failure).  That will seem minor in many instances, until you get worn down on one instrument and need to change (or want to try something new with the same band you've grown to love).

Second off, the guitar may or may not have issues.  As I type this, I'm waiting for Bastich, who is going to hook me up with a quick shot of compressed air.  My down strum keeps double strumming in a way that makes down strumming impossible (well, it's possible but you break all combos by strumming two quick successive notes).  According to EA's support site, the solution may be as simple as a shot of compressed air into the strum bar.  Since my guitar failed after about three good hours, I'm hoping that some dust merely settles into the mechanism.  I should know soon enough...too bad my last can of compressed air is running on a whisper.  However, that little whisper did seem to help some (the problem was no longer constant), so I may be in luck.  Just remember to try this out (the compressed air) if your strum goes out...but if that fails, the GH3 wireless controller is a nice quick replacement...especially since the RB controller has a very short leash (USB cable).

Last of all, and this is a good thing (ok...I had to say one), songs you download (I got the Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age packs) are included into the co-op tour mode.  You never know, when playing a set in which the audience picks the songs, when you may find some good old thrash (Metallica) to kick your overly confident ass.  Good times when someone decides to move to hard (when they are a medium player) because medium is a hair too easy...and then you see the dreaded words of "Metallica" on the screen.  Good songs, but definitely not for the unprepared.

Anyway, I also got Mass Effect yesterday...but it will not be played until I'm alone.  When people are around me, which has been constant for the last couple of days, it's all about the rock.  I should have some more thoughts later on on both Rock Band (does air fix the guitar strum?) and Mass Effect...but with Thanksgiving tomorrow, and the weekend being dedicated to Rock Band, it may take a few days.

Happy day of gorging on the plate presented to you tomorrow.


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