Monday, May 12, 2008

Rock Band (PS2): Da Wife Loves Drums

Got Rock Band for the PS2 yesterday evening. Once she got the hang of it, Rebecca was very keen on the drums.

Which is good, because the song list doesn't appeal to her vocally -- about half the songs neither of us know, and nearly all the songs are hard rock sung by growly men. So the original scheme -- Rock Band as Guitar Hero for me and simultaneously Karaoke Revolution for her -- isn't working out. Maybe by the time the second Track Pack comes out the PS2, they'll have Blondie and the B-52's on there.

But the drums she likes. Although the foot pedal is still tricky. Tricky to get comfortable, tricky to figure out how to work effectively, and then just tricky. She would really like the "easy" difficulty to not include the foot pedal, so she could get comfortable with the other stuff first.

It certainly seems like "easy" guitar is much easier than "easy" drums. As established in Guitar Hero, "easy" for guitar means it only uses the first three fret keys. I don't have crazy fingers, but on "easy" I effortlessly stay at the top of the fan meter. It seems that "easy" drums means using the blue drum is rare or nonexistent, but red, yellow, green, and orange foot pedal are generally all represented. Some "Act I" tracks use the foot pedal barely at all, but others use it nonstop. Some more tutorials on drums, or an easier-than-easy level, seem warranted.

Another "feature" of the drums is that they're loud. That is, Rebecca can't really hear the music or drums from the game over the noise of her slappin' the skins. (The obvious answer for this is to crank up the volume, but it's notable that I can hear it just fine and she can't.) The guitar strumbar was redesigned for quietness, so having the drums so noisy is a little weird. I don't remember practice pads being so loud, but then again, I played trumpet. (Better put quotes around "played".)

Of course, _I_ want to get headphones hooked up to the audio out so Rebecca'll look like a real studio drummer. But that's just me.

Despite these issues, Rock Band does indeed rock. The drums open up the gameplay to a broader range of players, and the cooperative feel is electric. If the song list were also more accessible to the Karaoke crowd, it could be even better. I know the downloadable songs of the current-gen versions ameliorate this somewhat, but even those feature only a handful of female vocalists and barely any pop, none from this decade.

1 comment:

ruffin said...

I told Matt to spent some cash on the 'Band. *shrug*

She would really like the "easy" difficulty to not include the foot pedal, so she could get comfortable with the other stuff first.

When I played in Wal-Mart, toddler staring from the buggy, there was no foot pedal. What happens if you unplug it? Unless there's something easier than easy, I'm confident I didn't miss it... I completed the song, no prob.

Yes, practice pads are very loud. Put them up next to Tiny E, ur, a real snare, though, and they're really quiet. There are rubber ones that aren't quite as loud as the ones with heads, but they are a bit bouncier than your typical tom.