How to Become a Rock God, part 2

In our previous episode, we learned that I acquired Rock Band on its release date, and that Dan loves it but has a couple gripes.

Personally, I haven’t checked out the headset adapters yet, but I agree that the handling of characters is kinda stupid. It should be easier to get to the character creation screen, and a character should be able to play any instrument. The way it handles profiles is really confusing, as Dan points out, too. I got the impression that you could have a singer and a guitarist both signed in to my Xbox Live-enabled profile, but you needed to sign in a second guitarist and a drummer from separate profiles. Maybe this is so that anybody can play one instrument and sing in an online game, but still, it does feel kind of stupid that I couldn’t be playing guitar with Gen in the room with me on drums and Dan online with a guitar (because Gen doesn’t have a live account), but I could have Gen here singing with me with the same setup (I think). Having a game packaged with fewer tracks, tons of downloadable content lined up right off the bat, and this kind of online play restriction makes me feel like some game company is patiently but menacingly waiting by the swingset, ready to collect my lunch money if I want to make use of the whole playground. Oh, except I already paid $170 to get into the playground.

My other gripe is that there’s a lot of repetition built into the multiplayer campaign mode (called “Band Tour,” I believe), perhaps to hide or compensate for the fact that the complete track list is smaller than Guitar Hero III‘s. So much of the repetition occurs during sets of randomly chosen mystery songs, after everybody’s chosen their own difficulty level, making it impractical to switch instruments once you know there’s a repeat. It would be nice if there was a way to change difficulty level on the fly without losing fans, as I think I played the guitar on Expert level for the same song several times, and I would’ve liked to have challenged myself with some other role.

All of that said, the game is still Mega Awesome. Angel and Keith dropped by Wednesday night with Guitar Hero III, an unexpected reward for my recent dogsitting adventure. But we did not play GH III, not yet—instead, we broke out the wireless guitar and played four-player Rock Band, and it was glorious. Our band is called The Flaming Mongooses, and I appreciate when the game made a tour poster for us with our name and a slogan in the language of our native lands (i.e., some European country I forget). Rocking with four people does indeed kick the fun up to a new level, and also make it clear how important it is for a band to be working together (especially the drummer, who can’t afford to suck, and especially when someone fails and others have to rescue using star power “overdrive”). In addition, Keith taught me how to play the drums without getting shin splits, so I still suck but now it hurts less to suck. And speaking of hurting to suck, I sang a lot, too (but I’m not the one that was hurt by that, I suspect). I can’t wait to play more.

And I must also play Guitar Hero III soon, featuring a song that keeps getting stuck in my head (which has a really great ’70s-looking sci-fi Western music video).

I got the impression that you could have a singer and a guitarist both signed in to my Xbox Live-enabled profile, but you needed to sign in a second guitarist and a drummer from separate profiles.

FYI, you can sign multiple ‘guests’ in under a single XBL gold account. (I’ve seen up to two guests on one account, and I’m not sure more than that would make sense for an online game).