RockBand Update

I have posted much about RockBand lately.  Not playing as much as I was.  At this point I have finished the original RockBand game on Guitar at both the Easy and Medium levels and started the Hard level.

I am now to the point where I can usually make it through a song on Hard as long as it doesn’t get ridiculously complex.

We’ve been playing some RockBand 2 at home lately.  For the most part I like the game better but I do miss the Solo Tour which really walks you through the game in a logical progression.  In RB2 I find myself without the time to play the 3-6 song sets required to finish many of the tour stops.

Last night my son and nephew were playing Guitar and Bass so I played some Drums with them.  I haven’t played the drums in a while and was pleased to see I wasn’t totally incompetent with them like I had been previously.  I guess just playing the game has helped somewhat.  I was able to finish the first City on the RB2 tour playing Easy Drums and got 4-5 stars on all songs but one.

The Drums are much harder in my opinion.  I find myself getting out of sync from time to time and really struggling to get back on track to hit the notes.  When I do that I really need to pause, skip a note or two and then get back at it but often I will bang through a whole phrase slightly out of sync and miss all the notes.

Picked up RockBand 2

I picked up RockBand 2 the other day and had a chance to play a little bit over the last two days.  My initial impression is positive, I still love the  game adn RB2 adds more to what was already a good game.  No issue migrating the RB1 songs nor any of the content I had purchased over XBL Marketplace.

I had hoped that the game would recognize your progress from the first game but it doesn’t so I am starting all over again.  I still can’t play very consistently on hard but I am usually able to get through a song without failing, at least on Bass which is easier than guitar.

I think there needs to be a level between medium and hard.  Between the speed up and adding the orange note, I really struggle with hard.  I need Medium-Hard where it is at the pace of Medium but adds the orange note.

Rock Band Disc Repaired!

Last week I posted about our Rock Band disc getting scratched.  Not surprisingly I was unsuccessful getting EA to replace the disc which was a little surprising given that they replace the instruments with little pushback.  I was expecting to have to buy a new disc but asked my son to see if he could track down a used one first.

It turns out the PlayNTrade near us has a disc polisher and for $3.20, they will attempt to repair your scratched disc.  For $3, this is a no brainer as opposed to spending $35 (used) to $60 (new) for another disc.  So we wandered on up to PlayNTrade to see if our disc could be fixed.  After a couple spins in the polisher our disc looked  pretty good.  We took it home and SUCCESS, it works and we were able to play Rock Band all evening.

My nephew also brought along a scratched copy of Forza 2 he had and it too was polished and successfully plays now.  As I stated above, for $3 it is a no brainer when you have a scratched disk.

RockBand Disc Scratched

Bah.  Our RockBand disc got scratched over the weekend and now it won’t do much other than start.  As soon as you try to play, the disc is deemed “unreadable”.  I thought EA would replace scratched discs but I got a “non-answer” from my support query so I will have to pursue that further.  I may have to go look for a used copy.

I am not sure how it got scratched but the Xbox, which we have vertically, was sitting on top of a cable over the weekend so it was slightly tilted.  I had read somewhere that discs can become scratched if the console isn’t horizontal or vertical although I am not sure if I believe it.  Regardless, the disc is scratched and now I need a new one.

Rock Band Drums are loud

I am finding playing Hard guitar really hard and I don’t have the time to dedicate to getting better, I just want to have fun and play.  My son had some friends over the other day so the drums were out and I decided to see if I could play them.  My last attempt was when we first got Rock Band and I was a miserable drummer and couldn’t get through a song.

I was able to play the warm up songs without any problem this time albeit I am playing on Easy.  But that is ok, it is fun to try something else.  The drums are loud though.  I picked up a set of the new Rock Band Drum Silencers the other day but they don’t seem to fit the drums correctly so before I cut them up I need to call their customer support number.  Since we tend to play late at night, in order to play the drums I need them to be quieter!

Woo-hoo! Rock Band Hall of Fame!

Yesterday afternoon my son and I got inducted to the Rock Band Hall of Fame by completing the 8 song challenge in Moscow.  Rock Band was updated a few weeks ago to allow bands who play on medium to earn more fans.  Although my son usually plays on Hard, I usually play on medium and dabble here and there with hard.  For an 8 song set, there was no way I was playing on hard!  We did well, getting 5 stars on 6 of the 8 songs and 4 starts on the other two.  We unlocked the Hall of Fame achievement which allows you to use transparent instruments, my son got a guitar and I got a bass.

Rock Band on Hard is, well, hard!

Now that I have finished the Guitar tour on Medium I have started playing on hard from time to time.  I have only played a few songs on hard but I have played about a dozen on Hard Bass when playing the band world tour with my son.  Last night we got invited to Moscow for the Hall of Fame gig but with an 8 song set, we decided to wait until this weekend to play it.

So we played some other stuff and I alternated between Medium Bass and Hard Bass depending on the song.  We played a two song random set and I gambled and went with Hard and my son says “watch out, it will be Green Grass and High Tides” and sure enough, it was!  Off we went and I was doing okay until about 60% of the way in when the tempo really kicks up and the note strings are simply beyond my capability.  I ended up failing out which caused us to die since my son didn’t have any overdrive to save me.  After that I went back to Medium and we played a couple more songs which I hit 100% on which is pretty unual for me, even on medium.  I almost always make a mistake somewhere.

I have requested a replacement Rock Band guitar from EA, hopefully that will come this week.  The one we have now really makes my forearm hurt when I play it because you have to press the strum button so hard for it to register.

Need my Rock Band fix!

One of my co-workers took our Xbox home for the weekend for a Rock Band party and hasn’t brought it back yet! I’m itching to play. I haven’t played much at home either because I have busy and when I do have a chance, someone else (usually my son and his friends) are already playing something, usually Halo.

At home I bought the Boston pack and they’re all pretty good songs – I imagine if you are a Boston fan, I’m not a big fan, all of their songs sound really similar, you’d really like it.  By the time I bought it I was just about done with the Guitar tour on Medium so I ended up playing them one after another.  I don’t recommend that, you need to break them up so you get some variety.

I have attempted to play a 3-4 songs on Hard and managed to get through a couple of them.  Sliding my hand from the G-R-Y-B to R-Y-B-O buttons is proving to be a challenge.  I get so confused!  I may try the drums again although I want a set of the Rock Band drum silencers which will be available next month.  The drums are really loud.  I also read somewhere you can do a Bass solo tour but I couldn’t find it.  I need to look for that too.

Got past Vasoline and then some

About two days after I posted about my inability to get past Vasoline in RockBand, I finally made it through.  I was having trouble with the hammer ons which appear throughout the song.  I didn’t do that great but at least I made it through and moved on.

This evening was the first chance I really had to play again so I went back to work on the medium tour.  After knocking out a couple songs, I ran into another stumper – Metallica’s Enter Sandman.  I have been frustrated with the Rock Band guitar and I think we need a replacement.  You really have to press the strum bar hard to get it to register which can be very tiring when playing sequences of rapid notes.  After failing 3-4 times, I decided to try the Guitar Hero II Explorer guitar.  It really is much easier to play and I made it through Enter Sandman without any problems.  Yep, we need to get a new Rock Band guitar.

After finishing Enter Sandman, I also completed “Highway Star”, “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “Green Grass and High Tides” without any problems which completes the Medium solo tour on guitar.  All I have left to play are some of the songs on the bonus tour as well as some of the songs we have downloaded.

Stumped by Vasoline

Rock BandI would consider myself a very casual video game player, I don’t play very much, probably between 1-2 hours a week at most.  As I have posted before, I like playing Rock Band and have slowly been working my way through the solo tour.  I finished Easy a few weeks ago and started playing on medium.  I have played quite a bit of Bass on medium with a co-worker on the Xbox we have in our office but very little Guitar on medium.

So I have been chugging along, playing 2-3 songs here and there and doing reasonably well – 4 or 5 stars, consistently better than 95% even 100% every once in a while.

Yesterday I was watching the Memphis-Texas game and during half time thought I’d play a little Rock Band and knock out another 2-3 songs.  That was my plan anyway.  Until I got to Stone Temple Pilots’ Vasoline.  I simply cannot play this song.  It is the first song on Medium where you really need to be able to do Hammer Ons, a technique which I tried to get my son to explain to me but I just wasn’t grasping what he was telling me.  After failing half a dozen times, I decided to try the training mode.  It didn’t help me much so I went back and watched the tutorial.  Ah, I finally grasp the concept of the hammer on. 

Unfortunately, grasping the concept doesn’t directly translate into the ability to execute it.  I went back to the training mode but still wasn’t very successful.  I decided to give up and went back to watching the Texas-Memphis game.  Blah.  Maybe I should try the drums again!  Nah, I stink at the drums – I need to get the hang of this.  I don’t have any expectations that I will be able to play Guitar on Hard or Expert but I do think I should be able to finish the Medium tour.