The Good Ship Harmonix and the nice folks at MTV Games saw fit to let TheFeed play a new build of Rock Band this morning (same one showing in Leipzig this week)… and its going to be hard for us to contain our excitement till this comes out on a yet-to-be-officially-announced date this holiday season (you can bet it’ll be a Tuesday, probably November).
We got a live demo at E3, but this was the first time we’ve really had a chance to get into it without distraction. The game is amazing, and is tracking to be well worth the $200ish investment in awesomeness.
Every track we played was an original recording, from Faith No More, to Rush to Ok Go… and they were all fun as hell to play. As a sidenote, TheFeed might suggest that you avoid trying drums for the first time on hard with “Tom Sawyer”. The most up-to-date track list was announced this morning and can be found below.
Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter"
The Who "Won't Get Fooled Again"
Mountain "Mississippi Queen"*
David Bowie "Suffragette City"
Black Sabbath "Paranoid"*
Blue Oyster Cult "Don't Fear the Reaper"
The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop"
Deep Purple "Highway Star"
Rush "Tom Sawyer"*
Bon Jovi "Wanted Dead or Alive"
The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
Faith No More "Epic"
Foo Fighters "Learn to Fly"
Metallica "Enter Sandman"
Nirvana "In Bloom"
Stone Temple Pilots "Vasoline"
Weezer "Say It Ain't So"
Smashing Pumpkins "Cherub Rock"
Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
The Hives "Main Offender"
Queens of the Stone Age "Go With the Flow"
The Strokes "Reptilia"
Jet "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
OK Go "Here It Goes Again"
Nine Inch Nails "The Hand That Feeds"
*Indicates a cover song, all other songs are original master recordings
If you’ve played Guitar Hero, you should be able to pick up a Rock Band guitar and start wailing in no time. The Strat feels much more like a real guitar than Guitar Hero’s somewhat Fisher-Price affair, with much lower action on the buttons (they sit flush with the neck). Its also a lot bigger, much closer to a real guitar.
TheFeed’s resident Guitar Hero ripper preferred Guitar Hero’s larger, taller buttons…but theoretically he should be able to use that axe along side Rock Band’s with no issue. The incessant and sometimes annoying clicking sound from the GH/GH2 strum bar is noticeably absent here, and this new strum bar has a rounded bulge for improved grip.
Reasonably experienced drummers will be able to pick it up in no time in Rock Band – though you’ll definitely want to start on "hard" as the easier settings will skip some notes that you’ll instinctively hit. It’ll probably take first timers a little while to learn the basics, as all of your muscle memory is dedicated to simply mashing buttons (which is a lot more different than you might think). Considering the complications of producing this kind of gaming peripheral at a reasonable pricepoint, Harmonix knocked it out of the park. Our only complaint is that it’s essentially a set of toms and a kick drum… another pad that could sit where a high hat would live would make this kit epic.
Rock Band singing, compared with our pre-conceptions, was way more fun and slightly less embarassing than we imagined. The microphone has a satisfying size and feel as well as a weight that is nearly of professional caliber and, thankfully, not at all toylike. Surprisingly, it was possible to do a decent vocal job on a song we weren’t even familiar with due to the game's responsive pitch meter. The triangular icon, rising and falling in response to the singer’s tonal frequency, provides a key visual cue that lets even the tone-deaf-iest of us know when we’re too low or too high. Rocking out on the game’s guitar may not translate into real-world shredding skills, but singing in Rock Band may make for a generation of better (or at least more self-aware) vocalists. The built-in reverb on the singer’s voice seemed to improve the dynamics without getting excessively muddy.
Rock Band is a culmination of several different, awesome games form Harmonix… take a little bit of Amplitude, add in some Karaoke Revolution and a hell of a lot of things that made Guitar Hero epic… and you’ve got Rock Band. If your skin tingled the first time you wailed thru Symphony of Destruction on Hard, or you squeal with glee at every minor track announcement, you owe it to yourself to pre-order Rock Band right now… trust us… supplies will likely be very, very limited as demand will be thru the roof. More on Rock Band to come in the next few weeks.
While you're spending the next few months fantasizing about your future groupies, check out the latest Rock Band screenshots plus the latest trailer below. Special thanks and shout-out to the boys from Shaimus, who helped show TheFeed how to rock this morning. Go check out their site, they were nice enough to say encouraging things like "That was great!" and "Hey that rocked" like they meant it.