Well, it looks
like Harmonix is well on track for preparing us all for their next
game; Rock Band 2: Police Vs. Metallica. Wait, that's not their next
game...but they still are determined to cram as much of these two
bands into Rock Band as possible. That's the only explanation for
tomorrows DLC (in conjunction with the March DLC). Afterall,
tomorrow is going to feature more Police ("Truth Hits Everybody").
On top of that, we get some (yet again) more DLC from the Clash
("Complete Control"), and the Ramones ("Teenage Lobotomy").
On the bright
side, all of these are master tracks. On the not so bright side, we
have seen all three of these bands on the core Rock Band game and
each one has had downloads previously...hell, the Police have had a
whole pack and in March they will be featured with "Message in a
Bottle". In other words, Harmonix is trying (or this is my only
explanation I can think of) to limit variety as much as possible.
Yes, last week did
see the B-52s, which was awesome. I'm not a giant B-52s fan
(although they have a few song I do love), but I am a giant fan of
Rock Band variety. I am willing to bet that next week we'll see
another round of three songs (since more than that are apparently a
Christmas or launch day exclusive), and all three bands will have
already been on the core game...and I'll even bet that at least one
of them has been in DLC already.
Why do I think
this? Because Harmonix keeps rocking the same stuff. I almost said
"the same crap", but I do like the Clash, Ramones, Kiss, Metallica
(although I hate playing their solos), Radiohead, etc. However, I
just want something new. Think about it like this; wouldn't, no
matter your personal taste, some of these sound good; Social
Distortion, The Presidents, Green Day, Social D., Jane's Addiction,
Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Social Distortion, Pearl Jam, Alice
In Chains, Gold Finger, or even Social Distortion. Yes...I do have a
very strong desire for Social D. However, even more so I have a
desire for some music that is either not in Rock Band or music than
has never even been in a Guitar Hero game.
which...It looks like Activision is looking to force
two more Guitar Hero games on to the public between April and
June of this year. Supposedly these two new GH games will include
hardware innovations and deeper internal growth...whatever that
As far as I see
it, the GH series is in a very bad place right now. For one, the
content on Rock Band makes sure that gamers can keep playing the
game for (potentially) years to come without having to make another
major investment. On top of that, now that RB is in the land of DLC
it will ensure that beyond the base 50 something songs, you will
only play what you want to play. Not to mention that RB offers four
player fun, which GH just doesn't do.
I also feel a
little sorry for the GH crew at Neversoft since GH has a bad track
record of off schedule new games. That is to say that any new GH
that didn't come at the usual fall time line tended to be the horror
known as Encore (easily the worst game in the GH franchise). Plus,
it looks like Activision is set on flooding store shelves with GH
games, which only leads to them competing against themselves for
can really revitalize the GH franchise, these moves are going to
leave things in a sorry state for the once mighty franchise. Then
again, they did save Tony Hawks when it became stale when they
released Skate...wait...no...that was EA who made a good skating
game when Activision showed they could no longer be trusted to make
a good and fun skateboarding game.
On a better note
of games that are in the future, this week should be seeing Lost
Odyssey in the hands of those who so desire it. I've seen quite a
bit of the game, but looked away enough to skip out on any major
spoilers that would ruin the fun. I think it's safe to say, from
what I've seen, that the game has a nice solid engine for those of
us who still look back to the days of FF9 with love and happiness. I
mean, if the RPGs you are in to are not turn based, then you should
stay away from LO. However, if you like turn based RPGs, the old
story telling style of Final Fantasy games, and only enough
innovation to change some rules but not to rebuild the whole system,
then LO is definitely an RPG well worth the price of admission.
For me, I've been
without a good RPG for too damned long. I will consider Blue Dragon
a good RPG, but only because it was fun from a nostalgic sense. It
was still a game that needed the free difficulty DLC from day one
(or built in to the game)...but beyond the overall feeling that I
was always invincible in the game (except versus the optional
bosses), the game was still worth my time and money. On the other
hand, LO offers some challenge, some strategy, and has a far more
advanced and mature of plots...which means I'll be set.
So, it's Wednesday
and the usual subject is upon me; how are the new songs from this
week on Rock Band? Hell if I know. Last night was a blur of too much
beer, too much time lost, and not enough sleep to remember it all.
All I can say is that I did check out the videos on Youtube for
expert guitar and expert drums.
I think the guitar
line looked pretty simple for all three new songs. I cannot say for
sure, but I think they looked pretty basic. Then again, I cannot
recall much of the night as being too damned tired with any beer in
one's system is a guaranteed way to forget the night when the sun
Also, Jericho came
back to TV last night. I was home in time to watch. The first half
of the episode was a great event as I am one of those who was
eagerly awaiting the return of Jericho. As for the second half of
the episode...well, that's when I shut my eyes and didn't have them
reopen for about forty five minutes...just in time to be told I
should go to bed. At least on the bright side, I like to think that
this is what DVR was made for, and why I recorded last nights
Sadly, with the
writers strike over, Jericho just lost some of its hope of coming
back for another season after this one. The show was never a
success, but instead was a great cult hit. So, with new
shows/episodes coming in the next few months, Jericho is once again
looking at an uphill battle to get more fans in a hurry. I hope it
works out, but as a fan of The Tick (live actors and animated...but
referring to the live actor version), Firefly, Futurama, and a dozen
other shows that faced cancellation in the past, I am not holding
out much hope for a third season of Jericho.
Lastly, I am
finally getting Lost Odyssey in my hands. It will be loading up in
my 360 by the time I post this. I have seen a good amount of the
game and know that this will be the RPG I've awaited for a long
time. It's probably the first RPG that I will have to live up to its
hype since Tales of the Abyss came out all so many months ago.
Time to get to LO
and resume my hangover hell.
For what it's
KOTOR 3 rumors are back. I know I would shit a brick if my geeky
desires are met with a third installment. I will not get my hope up
too high for this until I see it set in stone, but I cannot see
KOTOR not coming back for another sequel eventually. Afterall, it is
as close to a must buy RPG as any western developer will ever make.
So, on the RPG
note, I started some Lost Odyssey last night. I didn't play as much
as I wanted to (see below), but I got a good two and a half or three
hours into the game. In other words, with how both LO and most
modern RPGs work, I got to the first save point at the start of the
first real dungeon. I did do a little fighting to test the system
(and learn new skills), but I didn't go much beyond that.
I still hold true
to what I have been saying since I first saw the game being played
by a friend (or two friends); the game is exactly what any old
school RPG fan has been waiting for. It's old school in all ways,
with the only exception being that the visuals are beyond amazing
and the music is what the old Nobuo music would have sounded like if
the SNES and NES supported more advanced of sound technology than
I also finally got
to read through some of the dreams. The game includes background
information on Kain (the thousand year old immortal at the center of
the game) presented as text only stories. I know that the thought of
text stories on a 360 era RPG frighten a lot of younger and more
newbish of gamers, but they are optional. They are also a great
read, being created by an award winning author (don't know his name
off hand since I only really know of one Japanese literary writer
from personal choices). They cover some subjects that help to define
who Kaim is, but with a touch that I don't think would have had the
same impact if they were presented in FMV scenes.
Like I said, these
dreams are all optional and can be either skipped or read at a later
time if you don't feel like breaking the momentum of the game when
you obtain one. However, they offer something that I have yet to see
in a game and do it so well...I'm talking about the perfect blend of
literature and gaming.
The only real
complaints I have on LO is that it does have (and you'll see many
instances of these being mentioned on message boards) some long load
times and the most pathetic example of a case for a multi-disk game
that I've ever seen.
As for the loading
times; they do get into the double digit seconds range quite often.
If you've been playing RPGs since the PSX era, then they are nothing
to worry about. We've had slow load times since RPGs first hit
optical disks back on the Sega CD. If you still enjoyed RPGs after
those dark days, then you're fine with the load times.
As for the
case...holy shit this is a stupid design. While Japan, Australia,
and probably the entire rest of the world had an intelligently made
case for holding multiple disks, the US case is pretty re-damned-diculous.
It's a long spindle to hold three of the disks on each other (not
conductive to preserving the quality of the disks), and then a paper
envelope for the fourth disk which gets shoved in the inside cover
with the manual. I can get over this, since I do treat my games
properly, but it's still pretty lame to force a package that should
have "FRAGILE" printed on it on the average consumer when the rest
of the world have been given a proper case.
Anyway, I didn't
get as much time with LO as I would have wanted because I finally
had time to check out the new Rock Band DLC. For Tangwich; yes they
are worth it and yes it was a good use of time to play the new songs
before jumping in to Lost Odyssey.
The new tracks, at
least on expert guitar, are awesome fun. Complete Control, the new
Clash DLC, is a good fast song, but with some nice variety to the
chords. In other words, it's not just blind machine gunning of a
three different two note chords for the whole song (see Blitzkrieg
Bop, Seven, All The Small Things). It's some nice shifts in patterns
and a fun party friendly overall song. Best of all, the second (of
two) solo is great practice for the final tier of the expert solo
career. There's a slightly slowed down B>Y>G repeating chord that
gives a good workout for slower fingers, but is not up to the insane
pace of Highway Star or Green Grass.
is also probably the best Ramones song on Rock Band (so far). It's a
little bit more of the same with rapid machine gunning of simple
chords, but it also includes a nice finger exercise in the opening
"LOBOTOMY!" shouting part. Overall, it's still another fast Ramones
song, but it's a better choice and easier on the right hand wrist
than Rockaway Beach or Blitzkrieg Bop. I just wish that Harmonix
would realize that the Ramones have some awesome slower songs that
would fit this game while not pushing the stereotype that all punk
must be machine gunning. In other words, where's Pet Cemetery or I
Believe in Miracles? Oh well...it still beats the Thrash Pack...and
I mean just this one single song.
Punk Pack 2 ends with the Police and Love Hits Everyone. I have to
say that I am not a fan of the Police...at all. I can tolerate their
songs when they sound like Roxanne...for a while. However, when it
comes to Get Next to You, I actually have fun playing the Police.
I'd put this new one in that second category. The guitar progression
is a lot of fun (some good shifting chords and quick hand changes),
and the song is actually pretty fun to listen to. This is more along
the lines, for those who don't give a crap about anything Sting has
done (I fit in this group), of the Police when they rock out and
less along the lines of when they attempted to pick up the reigns of
reggae to make up for the loss of Bob Marley. In other words, this
song is worth the price of buying the whole DLC pack, even for
people who want the "punk" and not the "(arguably)".
So, in a nutshell,
this is a great pack and worth the price of buying it if you like
punk. That said, Harmonix still needs to pull their heads out of
their asses and offer some slower punk to show that the 1980's (and
the decades before and after) punk world was not all fast and
distorted in sound. There were some good slow Ramones (see two
paragraphs above), Social Distortion (where's "Don't Drag Me Down",
"Prison Bound", "Ball and Chain", "Cold Feelings", "Mommy's Little
Monster", "Another State of Mind", "When the Angels Sing", "I Was
Wrong", or...well, where's the whole album downloads for Social D?),
and so many other punk bands of the 1980's and before.
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