Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rock Band 2 (your e-mail plus a few notes)

I don't know why I didn't think of this originally, but some of you would much rather play solo tour in the linear fashion of the original Rock band. And there is an issue for players who like to play on Medium difficulty as well. Here are a few of your comments, beginning with Skip Key:
The single biggest issue for me is the elimination of solo tour, the traditional mode where you unlock the songs in order of difficulty. Sure, I like having the world tour available in solo mode, but that was no excuse for eliminating the other. As for the switch between score total and fans, that's a net negative as well for me. I'll give you an example why. I started a tour with the intention of playing through everything on medium just to get all the songs unlocked. However, you reach a point where there are a few songs in world tour that you simply have to play them on hard. It doesn't offer a medium option. I couldn't sightread at least three of these songs. For example, Visions, by Abnormality. So I try it, fail miserably, and lose a bunch of fans.

So I think I'll just go bang on it in quickplay til I get it down. But no, you can't. It doesn't show up there because you haven't unlocked it yet. Dumbfounded, I go check practice mode. Nope, not there either.

So they've set up a situation where I have a song I can't beat on the only skill level they offer it to me, and I have no way of practicing it, without failing on the song first, killing my score, and choosing practice at that point.

Then here's a note from David:
First, in RB2 the improved HO/POs and drum trainer are 100% win.
Second, the ability to play world band tour solo and the ability to play online is 100% win.

However, removing the old solo tour is horrible. I far prefer unlocking the songs that way by playing through and seeing them all in linear order. The current method where I have to keep swapping cities and venues and cannot see what is coming up is just miserable. I *liked* replaying songs to get better, but now, once I 5-star a song, there's just no room for improvement. There's really no reason to remove the solo linear play, its still in the game in the form of quickplay. There's another problem, and its HUGE, some songs when you get to them are only available on hard/expert and you CANNOT practice or quickplay them until you beat them.

Which means for mediocre players like me is I CANNOT finish the game on medium. Epic fail.

One more e-mail, and it's from Derek Mirdala:
After I've gone through and unlocked all of the songs, my single player playstyle has always been driven by the goal of 'getting better.' To do this, I liked to be able to look at all the songs I have played and how I did on them star-wise. In other words, I like to select songs where I can see I need improvement, and then I play them to try to improve. Rock Band 2 does not make this at all easy for me, in that it is pretty much impossible to see this laid out in front of me in one place.

In RB1's 1p mode, I could easily see all the stars per difficulty level by going through and simply scanning the lists in the tier or downloadable section. Now, all I can really see are scores in the quickplay section, and as you well know, scores themselves don't tell you much. A 90,000 on one song might be near its scoring max, while only being halfway up another's! I can't really tell how well I've done by using score alone. So how can I easily see which songs out of my current 300-ish I need to improve upon? I can't, really.

It's quite frustrating, and I'm certainly not alone in that it seems to be the main complaint on the RB forums. Even if it doesn't affect the way you play personally, it still amounts to Harmonix removing a game mode, and that's a shame. The new stuff is great, but I don't see why the old tier scoring system needed to be eliminated.

I didn't know about the difficulties for Medium players (because I play on Hard/Expert), and I didn't think removing the linear tour mode would be an issue because I personally like the new solo tour mode so much (like I've said before, Harmonix seems to have a direct connection into my brain). But I understand how some people wouldn't want anything removed from a new version, because that happens in sports games all the time and it drives me crazy.

Here's something I've noticed as I play on the Ion kit: I'm improving my "real" drum skills much, much more quickly. After months of trying to play the main beat in "When the Levee Breaks," I played it last week with no problem. I was so shocked when I realized I was playing the beat properly that I looked at my instructor and said "What is happening here?"

I learned the main beat in "Synchronicity II" as well. "Synchronicity II" is actually a DLC song, and being able to extract a section of the song that exactly matched the beat I was trying to learn makes a huge difference.

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