Rock Band 3 details

There’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s come out of E3, but given my fixation on Rock Band, this one sort of requires its own entry. The big news, of course, is the official announcement of Rock Band 3 features.

Gameplay

Some pretty nifty stuff here. Harmonix has recognised that RB and GH excel most as party games, and as such are adding more social dimensions. Although not bleeding edge, drop-in/drop-out will be helpful for those Endless Setlist sessions that I keep trying to organise.

There will apparently also be a party mode which includes playlist management, party shuffling, and mid-song difficulty adjustments.

With the new instruments (below), there will also be a new “Pro” mode where those of us bored with poor plastic simulations will get a much more authentic experience. Continue reading

Rock Band 3 might make you bang on the keys

Fresh off my morning feed reading, Giant Bomb is reporting that Rock Band 3 might have keyboard support:

… downloaders of the Green Day: Rock Band demo…received something of a tease after finishing the bite-sized, two-song offering. After hitting “exit,” they were greeted with a big old Rock Band 3 banner that displays pictures of two guitars, a set of drums, microphones … and a keyboard right next to the “3” logo.

If true, this would be both awesome and frightening. One thing that has bothered me while playing many of the classic rock tracks (and I have a lot of them) is that the guitarist is often required to cover the keyboard or organ part. Given that the instruments approach runs and melodies differently, it feels unnatural and sometimes outright difficult, especially when you consider that the RB guitar is really a poor approximation of the instrument.

On the other hand, being a trained pianist, I’m aware of exactly how complex keyboard parts can be. And there’s no way Harmonix can escape using a real keyboard with real black-and-whites. I’m interested to see how notes will be tracked on screen, since I’d definitely prefer a treble clef. Finally, can I bring my own? I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a new keyboard, and this would definitely be an opportune moment.

Update: Ars reckons it’s a keytar!

Dangerous gaming peripherals

Wired is running an article on the 10 Gaming Gadgets That Will Make Us Hurt Ourselves. I’m seriously hoping that some of these don’t make it past the prototype stage. Just look at the Wii 8-in-one weapons bundle. That shit shouldn’t be going anywhere near a child’s hands!

That being said, when I first saw the article’s title, I thought it would be a list of peripherals that had already caused damage. I mean, as much as I love Rock Band and Guitar Hero, I get serious amounts of RSI from extended shredding, and people complain about the muscle pain from the drum’s kick pedal.

And everyone remembers the dangers that the Wii-mote introduced us to when it hit the market.

Minor videogame update

I’ve been a bit slack in the video game department lately. Well, slack may not be the right word, but I certainly haven’t stopped playing.

I’ve played a lot of Rock Band 2 since my return from Phenomenon. I’m very happy with the gameplay changes – playing solo in “Tour” mode, challenges and so forth make for a much richer experience. I’ve also dumped a ton of cash on DLC for the game, so I’m not anywhere near to being bored with it.

I also like the extended experience you get by linking to rockband.com. I think it’s very clever marketing, and am seriously considering getting miniatures made of my band members when I’m happy with the way I’ve styled the models. Stroke my vanity visit my profile, and feel free to link me if you have an RB account.

In other news, I downloaded a couple of demos recently (thanks to the purchase of a 120GB hard drive).

Resident Evil 5 is a really poor demo. You’re dropped in the middle of a firefight with zero instruction and expected to survive. I’m assured that the gameplay is not as impenetrable as the demo shows, so I’m willing to give it a second chance.

Red Faction sounds really good in review, but neither of my regular approaches to FPS (super stealth, or gung ho) seemed to work. Again, not sure if I’ll bother with the game.

Crackdown, on the other hand doesn’t seem quite so bad. I know the game’s pretty much been and gone, but I can’t afford to ride the wave the whole time. While I’m not generally a fan of sandbox games, this one seems to encourage my “can’t be fucked” approach to things. It worked in Fallout 3, and I think it may work enough to justify a purchase for Crackdown.

Finally, I’m beginning to feel the urge to play Jade Empire again. Well, since I already own it, I won’t have to spend any money…

What are you guys into these days?