Posted 11:44pm on Thu 18 February 2010
- Posts: 8,039
Music games just aren't a fun challenge any more. The focus has shifted, and so a core audience is being lost to keep this genre afloat
I will preface this invariably lengthy tirade on why I hate Rock Band in a certain way, by saying that I do not get from these games what most of you do. I don't care about playing with friends, I don't care about the 'experience'; I care about playing fun songs and mastering them.
My interpretation of fun is different as well. I don't mean "Oh, I like this song therefore it's fun". I mean "Whether I like this song or not, it is well suited to this game and is therefore enjoyable". This can apply to any song in Rock Band or Guitar Hero, and is why I preferred it when the games were guitar only rather than compromising on everything to make everyone mildly happy.
I'm going to complain about Rock Band specifically, though, because it simply annoys me more and it was the harbinger of this paradigm shift. That and it is far more guilty of these downfalls due to the mechanics of the game. Note that I play both GH and RB equally now, and I don't have a preference for either at the moment because they're both terrible for what I want from them. If you play music games for the 'experience' and not the game part, then you probably wont like what I'm about to say.
This is the main bit...
I really good at Guitar Hero (Wido isn't allowed to say anything ¬¬), I rented Rock Band Track Pack 2 yesterday and 5*'d every song on Expert with a few exceptions, most of which just needed a couple more tries. They were mildly enjoyable, but not challenging, and when the songs do get challenging is where Rock Band has always fallen apart. Take "Rio" by Duran Duran for example - it's piss easy for practically the whole song, then enters some incoherent mess of a rhythm that is not even remotely fun to play, and it nearly fails me out of the song. I should mention at this point that I have beaten Jordan, Through the Fire and Flames and the Devil Went Down to Georgia on Expert. So, "Rio" is harder, I hear you say? Well it's obviously not bloody well supposed to be, so what's going wrong?
I have a pretty good idea of why this happens with so many Rock Band songs - Snow ((Hey Oh)) is another example from Track Pack 2, I just can't beat it - Harmonix are musicians at heart, they've said so themselves. I think their creative direction is making music accessible to gamers, not making games based on music. This was initially their aim with GHI/II, hence the hundreds of hours I invested in it just for the sake of self improvement. GHIII, even though it was by Neversoft, hit before all this full band nonsense kicked off, so the songs were inherently fun as that was the only instrument catered for. Say what you will of the visuals and loose timing, it was fun and the songs were appropriate for guitar.
Flash forward to this year, we have instruments all over the place, and music that is barely guitar driven; if there's a guitar in the song that's enough. It leads to songs that aren't supposed to be mastered, and so there is little, if any, attention paid to how fun the game is to play on a single instrument. Believe it or not most people still play these games on their own with a guitar, and so should this not be the target audience? Apparently not, with songs being chosen based on some arbitrary requirement for "covering all the bases".
The challenge is still there, but in so many songs in Rock Band 1&2, it's just not a fun challenge. Their charting seems to be based on accurate representation of the real guitar playing rather than what is fun to play in the game. Neversoft have retained this philosophy somewhat, but there's still so many songs that just aren't fun to play on any one instrument.
This is the bit you want to skip to
I'm sure I'm not the only person who plays these games for the challenge and the "game" aspect of improving your skills and progressing. I miss having to replay songs over and over, because they were engineered in such a way that you could see improvement in your skills and keep trying for a reward. Instead Harmonix - and the enthusiast press for praising it to high heaven just because they always have 3 friends available to play with, but this is another topic - have enforced on us an experience driven genre where it's about repackaging music, not making a game around it.
Good lord that was more than I was expecting. You're lucky you didn't get the full version ;p
Posted 12:20am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,262
Do you think that maybe they've hit a wall? that they simply can't make it harder without it not being fun? And personally I know there are some songs that are more vocal or drum oriented. hell most of the Chillis songs are bass oriented. There's something for everyone, but still mostly for guitar.
I'm not exactly sure what your specific complaint is. That the songs that were included for non-guitars shouldn't be in the game because they're not fun on guitar? There are some tracks i love to play on drums that are boring on guitar, because they don't have difficult guitar sections.
If you only play guitar and play on your own, just don't play the tracks that are not guitar-focused. Simple. There are over 800 songs available for rockband, MOST of them are mainly for guitar. I don't see what you have to complain about in that respect.
Similarly the charts go *****y in some of the songs because without playing an ACTUAL guitar or drum set it's difficult to emulate them. And those tracks are usually the ones geared more to vocal or drum arrangements. They're probably just as odd on a real instrument.
And for the record GH is a hideous waste of space these days, far far more of a cash-in than the rock band franchise.
Posted 8:51am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,944
I agree about the songs - it is very rare I will buy tracks for either games these days without watching a video of it first, just to make sure the parts I'd play aren't super easy - which isn't a challenge at all. Of course, there is 'stupidly obscenely difficulty', which I have noiced occurs a lot with songs made by their own dev team's bands, but as long as it is a challenege, which really makes ou feel glad when you smash it, I'm happy. Most recent DLC releases, however, do seem to be going more for band name, than fun song, content, which is a real shame.
I know greed has set in with a few of the music publishers (I think it may have been Sony's music division that is causing trouble...) wanting a much bigger percentage, refusing to license any of the songs in their portfolios, and as they control a god percentage of the market, a lot of potentially good songs/bands have been essentially cut off.
I suppose a big part of the problem is that EVERYONE has such wildly different tastes. With so much content out there, and the assumption the flow will continue, why would people waste their money on lacklustre songs which they don't realy like, wheen a band they do enjoy *may* (however unlikely it is) come up the next week? The potential for some awesome songs is there - from newer signed bands who have had only one song in games thus far (such as Dire Straits), but yes, the overall quality of the musi has diminshed greatly since the 'evolution' of the genre.
In my opinion, GH blasts RB out of the water these days - I have bought more DLC and the games have much more playtime than anything by Harmonix. I prefer the cartoonier visuals and the 'over-the-top' ideas, which make it fun. The song packs are more suited to my tastes, so they get my business (though not this month... if only they had released Ozzy's 'Fairies wear Boots'...).
Posted 9:21am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,276
I'm a Rock Band player - but I actually only play drums these days - I'm really poor at the guitar and can't even play the simpler tracks on Hard without bombing
On the Drums I play most of the tracks on Expert - get my ass kicked by a lot of the higher teir tracks mind! I very rarely play it in a group - tends to be mainly parties - so it's usually just solo and I love it - I think HMX have done a great job with DLC and have done a good job of trying to cover a lot of genres of music.
I can only speak from the Drums POV but I think that their track layouts for the songs are spot on - I've had parts that I struggle with like Blondie Call Me - I just can't get to grips with the Rhythm on it - yet i'm fine on Maidens Rime of the ancient Mariner - maybe I'm just better suited to playing a Rock beat than a pop beat - who knows!
With regards to GH DLC - according to Wiki they haven't released any since last August - where as every Tuesday without fail HMX are releasing on average 10 tracks! There are well over 1000 tracks for DL now - and if RB network takes off the DLC available could go through the roof!
EDIT - my apologies - I didn't realise that wiki had split the World tour and GH5 DLC lists so my comment about there being no DLC since Aug 09 is totally wrong! They have been releasing on average around 3 tracks per week. I'd give myself TD if I could
Posted 9:46am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,944
... errr... GH has had a slow but stead release of three tracks pretty much every week since GH: World Tour launched, old chap (with the exception of an album or two). I'm not sure if the latest stuff works with World Tour (whereas that games DLC does with GH5... most confusing, admittedly). Check out:
under the DLC heading.
P.s. I should probably point out that I'm a Bass/Guitar player, so really do miss the older days of music geared just towards that instrument. I do try to play the drum, but end up getting myself tangled up!
Posted 9:48am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,276
Yeah sorry mate - I actually edited my post to point out my mistake at the same time as you replied!
Posted 9:55am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,944
Heh, happens to us all.
Seen any songs you like? Modern Blues Track Pack was surprisingly good.
Posted 10:49am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,276
There are quite a few tracks on there that i'd like to play - The Stones, Sabbath, Billy Squire, CCR, Kiss (Lick It Up ftw!)
One of the things though that has kept me away from GH is the lack of cross capability between the games - I don't want to have to keep changing discs and have to play certain DLC with a certain disc - I like how tidy the RB stuff is - I just put in RB2 and can play songs from RB1, Lego RB and AC/DC that I have on my HDD and all of my DLC. It was a shame that The Beatles RB didn't follow suit
Posted 10:56am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 3,384
Ah man, Lick it Up! What a track!
The video for that is sooo funny. So bad it's good.
Posted 11:12am on Fri 19 February 2010
- Posts: 4,276
LOL! - I know what you mean - Gene Simmons looks like a Big Gay Bear in it - he never looked comfortable in any of the Post make up video's!