Chromium’s Rock Band for the PS3 Review

I’ve had Rock Band for the PS3 now for close to a month, so here are my feelings on it. Overall it’s one of the best multiplayer games out there, and with downloadable content, it makes it a new experience every week.

The guitar is a bit touchy at times, I feel like it doesn’t register 100% of my keypresses, but that might be my unconditioned weak assed hand strength there. I do wish that it was a little more responsive on the very fast strumming songs, as you easily miss the second notes but again I’m no expert. I’m going to try different techniques to see if I can improve this at all. But it looks great and feels less like a toy than the Guitar Hero controller, that’s for sure. Plus on the PS3 it’s wireless. Microsoft with your licensing fees for wireless access, go fuck yourselves.

The drums really require a bit of an investment in to make a joy to play. First off, I recommend getting a drum stool (or throne if you will). Playing from the couch just doesn’t put you in the correct posture to really jam out. Secondly they sell a drum kit silencer for a reason. Buy these and install them and remove the plastic lip on each drum. It’s worth it and your drum rolls will rebound more naturally because of it. That said, the drums are my favorite instrument. Playing on expert, you’re not just playing a video game, you’re playing the fucking drums for real.

The microphone is the standard Logitech USB Microphone that I believe is the same that came with Boogie for the Wii. Nothing special. It gets the job done. I do recommend getting a real mic stand though. I picked mine up from Sam Ash for $30 or so. It needed the actual Mic Clip too ($3-7) so don’t forget that important part. It makes singing while playing the guitar or drumming at least feasible. Although I wouldn’t recommend it unless you knew all the words to the song by heart already as its just too difficult to read the top lyrics and see which notes you need to play at the same time.

The World Tour mode is the primary “At home” method of playing which enables you to unlock new songs and experience most of the standard gameplay. I wish it was a tad more forgiving in unlocking content when it comes to difficulty levels, but from what I understand, when the game first came out it was ridiculously hard and they scaled it back quite a bit from there. You have full access to all of your downloaded material and it makes the game much more interesting from a variety perspective, considering there’s only so many times you want to play Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So before it gets old.

The store and the downloading itself is a breeze to navigate. I always want there to be more variety and more content, but then again, who doesn’t? You can download songs in the background and they have quite a few songs in there for all different kinds of tastes, both young and old, rock to punk and some in between. From a leaked songlist on Wikipedia, I was able to see their roadmap for song downloads down the road and I’m most excited about the Nirvana Nevermind album. Who knows when that will be for sure though. Next week the Pixies have an album coming to the store. The prices are reasonable ($1.99 per master track) with discounts given to a few genre packs and albums priced at $9.99 (Judas Priest, Boston, Grateful Dead so far).

I got my first taste of online multiplayer last night, as I hooked up a few Quickplays with Zombie. Although not documented anywhere, we verified that the vocals are sadly not transmitted over the wire. On the other side you only hear the regular lead vocals. Although I understand why, with multiple sources possible splitting up the signal and dealing with latency issues would have been a nightmare to implement. But with the straight instruments, the latency is not noticeable and we were able to initiate several sessions with my wife on guitar or bass, and me on the drums and vocal while zombie was playing the reverse guitar parts (bass or lead). We also verified that he could have multiple parts on his side join multiple parts on my side, so a 2+2 scenario instead of a 3+1. Very cool indeed.

The interface is a little clunky in joining as you have to send an invite from one menu, but receive the invite from a separate menu. I wish this was unified better, but overall it worked. If you choose to jam out with random people, your experience will vary greatly. The few times I did try it, some of the performances were brilliant, but more often than not, they try to perform above their level and fail out at some point during the song really ruining the experience. On the 360, this might be a bit easier, but at the same time you have to pay for Xbox Live, so Microsoft go fuck yourself with your monthly service fee for something I get for free on the PS3.

The one other thing I wished for was a way to communicate with your multiplayer partner like an open mic or something. I understand the lag prevents you from actually singing this way, but sometimes you just need help in picking a song or letting someone know you need a bio break. This is the one area that the 360 version is better because for all multiplayer games they have the ability to use the headsets in game to chat.

Overall though, a great game. The feeling you get of rocking out with your friends and family is second to none. I highly recommend it to any and everyone. Theres a high buy in price with the PS3 and RockBand, but with Wally world giving $100 gift cards out, this effectively makes it that much cheaper to get in the game. Besides which the PS3 makes a very serviceable media center appliance being fully DivX compatible and one of the best Blu-Ray players out there. I can’t wait for Rock Band 2.

About this entry