Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Just want it needs to be

I have spoken at length in the past about my affection for plastic instrument based music games. This goes all the way back to Taiko Drum Master and Donkey Konga, though those two were played in my store and always to demo them for people. People who may or may not have been in the store at the time.

Rock Band 3's demise as a platform was supposed to be the end. Its pro-guitar experiment had further divided a niche market that was already reeling from Activision's abuse. When Harmonix announced Rock Band 4 I almost didn't believe them, but it is in my basement now, complete with a new set of plastic instruments and at least some of my old songs, and I couldn't be happier.

The way I played Rock Band was not typical: I never played online and rarely if ever played it with another human being. It was a personal fantasy for me, at least that is my excuse for being too self conscious to allow anyone to see a grown man bouncing up and down to Paramore or Hailstorm. Rock Band 4 has no online multiplayer. It is a casualty of Harmonix doing the game on their own, almost as an indy title. And I don't miss it.

Nor do I miss the avatar customization. It is still possible but the options from the beginning are quite limited and are all terrible. My guitar player looks nothing like me - there was no hair choice between bald and dreads. Further options can be unlocked but I doubt I will ever go back for them. It's just not what is important to me.

No, I play Rock Band the same way a child plays pretend in the yard with a box on his head, in his own mind fully convinced he is going to the moon. Rock Band 4 still does that. In spite of none of the exports from previous games working yet, in spite of the game clearly being made on a smaller budget, in spite of the actual track list not being as strong as previous games (or Guitar Hero Live, for that matter) it still works.

There is magic here. It comes from Harmonix loving music first and wanting to share that love of music in game form. Their intent this time around is for Rock Band 4 to really be a service, not just a game. There will be no Rock Band 5, just incremental (hopefully free) upgrades along with a regular flow on new songs.

Plastic instrument based rock and roll fantasy, from them to you. I hope it lasts.

No comments:

Post a Comment