Hitchin' a Ride on Rock Band's popularity.
Posted by Kyle Orland (September 17, 2010)
Games for Lunch chronicles the first hour of a different game every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each hour ends with the answer to the only question that matters at that point: Do I want to keep playing? For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.
Developers: Harmonix, Demiurge Studios
Publisher: MTV Games
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3, Wii
Release Date: June 8, 2010
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site
In a nutshell: Hitchin' a Ride on Rock Band's popularity
0:00 This game got shipped to my apartment just after I left for England for the summer, so I haven't tried it despite technically having it all summer. I'm expecting Rock Band with Green Day songs, which shouldn't be hard to fulfill.
0:01 I'm not counting the time it took to drag my Rock Band instruments out of storage and set them up. This is lucky for the game, because the process took longer than I expected. Also, I know this is the kind of game that's best played drunk with a group of friends, but I'm actually one of those weirdos that plays it sober and alone, to improve my fake musical skills.
0:02 The camera zooms down a red thoroughfare. Planes drop bombs and a goth girl pulls a grenade and throws it at some bird- and dog-headed monsters as "Welcome to Paradise' plays in the background. Um... huh?
0:03 "Longview" transitions into ‘Jesus of Suburbia" in the background as the game creates a song cache, save data, etc. I skip the calibration.
0:05 Looking around the options. This is the first time I've seen "super speed" and and "performance mode" in the options, or maybe I'm just forgetting them from earlier games.
0:06 This minute spent replacing the batteries on my wireless drum controller.
0:07 Hopping into career mode, just to see how they've handled Green Day's career. My first show is in 1994 at The Warehouse. "Pulling Teeth" seem like a nice warm-up song... it only ranks 1/5 on the drum difficulty ratings, after all.
0:10 I finish just a HAIR away from a five star performance, in the end. The song has some interesting bass note patterns. Seems I'm a bit rusty after not playing a Rock Band for months. I had forgotten just how clicky this bass drum pedal was, too. By the way, this song has some ridiculously messed up lyrics, if you didn't know.
0:11 I've earned my first collectible. Can't say I care much. I also earned some "CRED," which can be used to unlock Challenges in each venue.
0:15 "When I come Around" is just slightly harder than "Pulling Teeth." I start with a massive 225-note streak, but end with a 91%, four star performance. These drum rhythms and accents have been beaten into me since middle school, so it's fun trying to match them. That said, my drum controller seems to be having some trouble recognizing my drumming. Or maybe it's just me being off beat. Sometimes I find myself forgetting my bass drum foot.
0:16 "F.O.D." is next in the set. I had forgotten that the first two minutes of this song are drum free...
0:17 And then, when the drum part finally does come in, I'm at a complete at loss to match it, failing almost immediately. That was embarrassing.
0:18 Actually, since the career mode doesn't seem to have anything to do with following Green Day's actual career, I decide to move on over to quick play.
0:19 "Holiday" seems a good "SCREW YOU" song to fit my mood today. And it's only a 2/5 on the difficulty scale, so I think I can do well.
0:24 Wow, that song is longer than I remember. I was lazy at the beginning, not hitting notes with enough force and not paying enough attention to the bass drum. I focus for the second half, working my way up to a 90% performance and a 91-note streak. My thighs are already hurting from all the quick bass drumming. Also, paradoxically, I think some of these drum rolls would be easier if there were actually MORE notes in the game.
0:25 I decide to stretch myself, trying the 3/5-ranked "Coming Clean" on hard because it's such an awesome song. Man, I love Dookie.
0:28 I do alright on the rapid-fire top drum notes, but not so well on the irregular bass drum patterns for my foot. I can't seem to split out the movements of my hands and feet, and eventually one starts to screw up the other. I finally fail 69% into the song. One more try...
0:29 This time I only get through 56% of the song. This is not going in the right direction. I think it's time to switch to the guitar.
0:32 Had to spend a few minutes putting new batteries in the guitar. I don't know how they've drained just sitting in the closet...
0:33 "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" seems like a good warm up. I cockily decide to go with Expert difficulty, despite not having played plastic guitar for a long while.
0:39 Another long song! It plays like a tutorial level on how to play three-fret chords, which is good because I'm not so hot at them. I mess up a few times, lifting my ring finger instead of my pinky or vice versa. This breaks up some nice streaks, leading to a four-star, 93% performance.
0:40 "Longview"... another Dookie classic... let's do it.
0:41 I restart the song when I realize that the awesome part I was thinking of is actually the bass guitar part.
0:45 Wow, this song repeats the same bass phrase a LOT. Which is good, because it lets me practice it enough to get a few 6x multiplier bass grooves in the middle. Then they change up the pattern just enough, messing me up royally. I finish with 87% of notes hit: Only three stars. Man am I rusty.
0:46 "Burnout" is next. Seriously, this could have just been a Dookie song pack for Rock Band and I may have paid $60 for it.
0:48 Pretty easy note progression, but there are these frequent sections with three notes packed extremely tightly. I just can't seem to strum fast enough to hit them all. This breaks my streaks and leads to an 83%, three-star performance overall. Still, I love playing that iconic bridge. "Dun-un-un- dun, DAH!"
0:50 Watch out now, I'm breaking out the microphone. Drums, guitars, singing... I'm a triple threat!
0:51 "When I Come Around" on solo expert. I've sung along to this in the car so much, I'm sure I'll be fine.
0:54 A 99% perfect performance... I'm not sure what I missed. I actually think I sing differently on Rock Band than when I'm in the shower or something. It's more nasal, more focused on tone rather than pitch, maybe? I think I've been trained by Karaoke Revolution and the like to sing in a way that the microphone will pick up. The singing interface seems a little cleaned up from previous games, too.
0:55 Oh man, I can't wait to sing "Hitchin' a Ride." One of my favorite Green Day songs...
0:58 I mess up a single phrase by being unable to lower my voice during the "Onnnne, twoooo" that precedes the "ONE TWO THREE FOUR!" Still, I could sing that song all day and be very happy. Even when I'm not singing, bobbing my head to the awesome driving guitar/drum parts is so much fun. Aw man, can't wait for next Rock Band party.
0:59 OK, I know my hour is up, but I've got to sing "Brain Stew/Jaded" before I finish up. Its ranked as 5/5 difficulty for all four parts, but I think I'll manage.
1:05 Awesome: the way the guitarist points the neck at the crowd to signal when they should chant "Hey!" before the song starts in earnest. Not awesome: How the vocal part has edited out the words "Fucked up" in the line "Fucked up and spun out in my room." Gotta keep that T rating, I guess...
Would I play this game for more than an hour? Kind of.
Why? Actually, I'll probably just import the songs to my hard drive and play them on Rock Band 2 or the upcoming Rock Band 3. So.. yes and no?
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