Rock Band Live at E for All
MTV and Electronic Arts pulled out all the stops at E for All and brought in a trailer stage to demo the soon to be released Rock Band. They had a main stage with two staging areas to practice before going on the main stage. The MTV partnership comes from the fact that they were taking video of anyone that went on the main stage for a new TV show that will focus on the Rock Band phenomenon. I found it amusing that this show will bring more music to MTV than it has shown all together in the last five years.
So I decided to get some video of one of the first performances that included one of the staff on the microphone. They were not bad, but it pointed out some good and bad about the game as a whole. And it still has me on the fence in regards to getting the game when it comes out.
Funny thing at E for All is that since most of the major players did not show up, the show almost seemed to turn into a Rock Band vs. Guitar Hero 3 battle. Lots of people were discussing the two, due to them having some of the biggest presences at the show.
So after watching the Rock Band Demos and getting to play it for a bit, I was a bit muddled in my opinion of the game. I really enjoyed the Drum set and playing the drums was difficult at first, but satisfying. It did show off my apparent lack of rhythm whatsoever, but I had tons of fun with the drum. But as for the guitar and the look of the game itself, it seems to have taken a back seat to the look of Guitar Hero.
One of the things that causes a lot of problems with the look of the game is that there are a lot of instruments that have to have patterns on the screen at the same time. Two guitars, the drums and the mic take up almost all of the screen room, leaving no room for the interesting antics of the stage that were so present in Guitar Hero. Also, the Fret boards seem to have taken a step back with their rather plain and uninteresting look. It alsmost reminded me of Frets on Fire. Its not bad, but I just expected a little flair with my fret board.
The instruments are really good and they all seem easy to get a hold of. The guitar looks a lot more like a guitar, because you only see the color of the frets on the top of the fret buttons, and not on huge buttons that glare out at you. The drums are arranged in a easy to read manner and feel somewhat sturdy. Not heavy, but sturdy. The mic was rather plain, but it is a microphone, not exactly a sophisticated device that needs a ton of bling.
Once you do get grooving, it seems to be a lot of fun. But here is the thing. Right now, the core audience of this product is the 14-25 year old male. Now, maybe it is just me, but do you really think that four young men are going to want to spend an entire evening in a living room trying to play like a band. I mean, can you see the debate over who is going to sing. The multiplayer in this game will definitely be more popular over the Internet vs. in house multiplayer, with the exception of parties.
The music selection is great. The above video shows off Tom Sawyer by Rush, which is almost enough for me to buy this game. That song is so great that it really helps sell the game. And I think that is where Rock Band is going to have to live. It is going to have to live on the strength of its song list. Getting the rights to the Grateful Dead’s catalog is a huge start. The song catalogs that it is racking up could be great. Two things have to happen to hit it out of the park. They have to make it affordable and they have to figure out a way to get the music to you on the go. They are marketing this like a downloadable music service, so I want the ability to get the music and take it with me when I am not playing. The logistics may be tough, but it needs to happen.
So will Rock Band succeed. I would like to see it happen. It is not the best game to look at and it sometimes plays a little rough. But the ability to play the drums and its impressive and growing set list could make this game a huge hit. But I think people may wait until the game can come with single instruments.Tags: drums, ea, ea games, guitar, guitar hero, harmonix, mtv, rock band