Is Downloadable Content the Best Way for the Future for Rock Band?

So, I just bought and downloaded Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine as DLC for Rock Band 2.  This got me thinking:  Is releasing songs through downloadable content the future of music games?  Is it better than releasing a new game on disk with 80 songs or so every year or 2?

The advantage of downloadable content is the user gets to pay for only the songs they want.  They don’t have to download songs from The Pixies if they don’t want to (no offense to The Pixies).  But there are disadvantages.  If you want to play online with friends (up to 3 friends plus you), then each friend has to have downloaded and paid for the same song you did if you want to play it online with them.  Also, in World Tour, downloadable songs are limited to Make a Setlist and Mystery Setlists.  They can possibly show up in the Challenges too or in Battle of the Bands setlists.  They do not show up in Endless Setlists or as single songs in venues in World Tour.

The advantage to releasing new games (on disk) with songs is your friends who are into Rock Band (or Guitar Hero) will buy the game anyway if they want to play online with you.  You don’t have to worry about them downloading the same song(s) as you did and as your other online friends.  If they bought the game, they get those new songs that came on the disk.

I find it rare that the songs I download are downloaded by the friends I play Rock Band with online.  Usually those downloaded songs are limited to being played only in local multiplayer at home.

Maybe I’m overthinking this or overlooking a piece to this discussion.  What do you think?  Sound off below in the comments section.

Things That Would Rock in Rock Band 3

We appreciate the improvements Rock Band 2 had over Rock Band 1, better drums, wireless instruments, getting rid of the band leader requirement, including drum trainer, and the improved sorting abilities (which Rock Band’s store has had).  With rumors of Rock Band 3 being in the works, we’ve compiled a list of things that would “rock” in Rock Band 3.

  1. More Sorting Features:  Sort by purchase/download date would be one awesome addition for sorting, especially for downloaded songs.  And with the ever-increasing amount of songs in Rock Band’s Store, this feature is becoming a must.
  2. Personal Rating System:  Having the ability to personally rate each song in the setlist and sorting by that rating would be very cool for “Rock Band parties.”
  3. User-Created Family Safe Mode:  The Rock Band franchise can be easily made family-friendly by allowing users to rate songs as family-friendly or not family-friendly.  Don’t be mistaken, LEGO Rock Band IS much-more family friendly than Rock Band 1 & 2, but what one family considers appropriate is not necessarily the same as another family’s opinion.  Allow the user to decide.
  4. SAVED User-Created Setlists/Playlists:  In Quick Play or for Make Your Own Setlists in Tour, we should have the option to save the setlist.  Saved User-Created Setlists/Playlists would be a nice feature to help impress your friends and make chosing the right song(s) quicker at Rock Band parties.
  5. Ability to Easily Change Instruments Without Logging Out and Logging Back In:  Why haven’t Guitar Hero and Rock Band done this already?  If more than one profile is logged in, having a profile change instruments is a pain.  There needs to be a way to change instruments in an easier manner.
  6. A (Balanced) Veto System For Mystery Setlists and Possibly Also Cities:  Ever get into a mystery setlist and come up against a song that was impossible to beat on the difficulty setting you chose?  A 1-song-veto option per mystery setlist would be much appreciated.  Again, you only get to veto 1 song per mystery setlist.  The same idea could be implemented for a city.  You get to veto one song per city and swap it out with a song of equal difficulty of your choice.  This was songs like “Visions” can be avoided by those of us who despise playing it.
  7. Replace the Failing System With Something Else That Makes More Sense:  “Failing” out of a song is so “last-gen”.  Something else that makes sense should be used.  Failing out doesn’t make sense anyway for playing a gig… If one can only beat a song with 2 stars, so be it, but they should LOSE fans and be docked in pay because of it.  That is just one idea that could make sense.  If a user does very poorly on x number of songs in a venue, they could be banned from it, but with a way to earn access back into that venue (maybe by doing better at another… just a thought).
  8. Allow the Ability of a One User to Control What Songs Are Chosen:  Ever play with someone who can’t help but to wail on the drums when you’re helplessly trying to choose what songs you’re going to play in a setlist?  How annoying.  If there was a way to only have one user’s input control what songs are being chosen, then that crazy wailing drummer could whack their drums as much as they want.
  9. Make Sure Easy Mode Isn’t Too Hard:  While most of us who have played Rock Band for quite some time are likely used to playing on Hard or Expert, making sure Easy mode isn’t too hard for beginners is a must, especially for drums.  We don’t think people playing on Easy will ever complain that it’s too easy, because when they start to feel that way, they move to Medium.
  10. Adaptive Difficulty Mode:  Here’s an idea… allow for an adaptive difficulty mode to be turned on/off.  The user chooses the difficulty level to start with and then as the song progresses, the difficulty level gets easier or harder depending on how well the person does in the song.

 Love or hate any of these ideas?  Sound off in the comments section below.

Transformers: Revenge of the G1 Characters (DLC)

RotF Game - DLC pic

Previously mentioned on this blog, new downloadable content is coming to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game in the form of G1 (original 80’s cartoon) characters.

 

Here are the details:

Release date:  August 27, 2009

Cost of DLC$10 via xboxlive marketplace (800 MS points) or playstation network

Characters:

  • G1 Optimus Prime
  • G1 Megatron
  • G1 Starscream
  • G1 Sunstorm (yellow/gold-ish jet similar to starscream)
  • RotF Movie Soundwave
  • RotF Movie Sideswipe
  • RotF Movie Jazz
  • RotF Movie Jetfire
  • New skins for characters:  G1 colors for Movie Ratchet and Movie Sidewipe;  Stealth colors for Movie Bumblebee

New MapsCourtyard (U.S. Eastcosast), Hillside (Cairo, Egypt), & Sandstorm (Cairo, Egypt)

 

With the game going for $32-43 AFTER shipping on ebay (and even less if you don’t mind a used game), this might be the time to consider getting it.  Every boy who watched this show as kid in the 80’s (and who played Atari or Nintendo back then) would have LOVED to play as G1 Optimus, Megatron, or Starscream.  On August 27, you can (and this game has online multiplayer!).  Check out the new DLC launch trailer below.

 

Halo 3: the love and hate relationship

Grifball - Halo 3

I love Halo 3… but it drives me crazy (sometimes) too.  For some reason, I have very high expectations when I play.  I expect to win or at least be very competitive.  When I don’t win or, worse yet, when I’m totally not competitive at all and end up getting demolished, I’m not a happy camper.  Why?  I’m not like that with other games that I play online.  When I’ve sucked at Call of Duty 4 or Call of Duty: World at War, I didn’t mind and still had fun.  Same can basically be said about Gears of War 2.  But Halo 3… if I suck, then I’m not having fun (usually).  However, I keep coming back to it more than Gears.  There must be reasons why.

Things I love about Halo 3:

  1. Playing with friends:  I still have not found a game that has as good of a party system as Halo 3.  It’s the best for playing online with your friends.  After each game, you’re back in “your room” with just your friends.  While matchmaking searches for the next game, you’re with your friends.
  2. Fun weapons:  Between the battle rifle, shotgun, sniper, needler, rocket launcher, spartan laser, missile pod, energy sword, gravity hammer, and so on… there are lots of fun ways of getting your enemy.
  3. Vehicles:  Many first person shooters lack vehicles or have vehicles that are hard to control.  In Halo 3, the vehicles are easy to control and there’s a nice variety of them.
  4. I don’t have to listen to idiots online:  Halo 2 was plagued by having to listen to morons on the opposing team or even worse, on your team!  In Halo 3, I can easily mute them in game, or better yet, I can choose the option of only being able to hear the people on my team and in my party.  NOTE:  With the xbox live’s new party system, the latter can be acheived in any game.
  5. GRIFBALL:  Arguably the biggest surprise of Halo 3.  A gametype similar to soccer or rugby, but in Halo 3 with gravity hammers and energy swords.  Lots of fun.  Lots of laughs.  Best played with friends.

Things that annoy me about Halo 3:

  1. How did I die?:  In Call of Duty 4, once you die, you get to see a replay of how you died before you respawn.  Therefore, there’s no confusion.  In Halo 3, you sometimes have no clue how you died.  Yes, you could go to theater mode after the game is done and watch the video of the whole game, but there’s two problems with this.  One, you have to fast forward to the part that you wanted to see (hopefully you remember how far into the game you want to go).  Two, going into theater mode while playing with friends in between games seems to never happen, as it would inconvenience the other members in your party.
  2. That’s ridiculous!How are they still alive?  Too many times (due to lag?), you’ll (appear to) unload a full clip of your weapon into an enemy, only to see them survive.  Yes, this can happen in other games too, I suppose, but it seems to happen more than I want it to in Halo 3.  Perhaps my high expectations for Halo 3 distort my perception on this topic.  Maybe it happens less than I think it does… but regardless, when it happens, it’s very frustrating.  Good thing I play in my basement at night… I don’t need my family (sleeping upstairs) to hear me yelling during these moments.
  3. Ranking system is “broken”:  To say the ranking system is “broken” is a bit harsh, but it drives this point home.  Every night I play, I get matched up against level 50’s (the highest one can be).  Let me clarify, they’re not level 50 in the playlist I’m playing in, but they ARE level 50 in something else (like Lone Wolves or Team Slayer playlists).  I’ve seen the argument that a Team Slayer level 50 isn’t necessarily equal to being a level 50 in an objective game, like Capture the Flag… but I hate that reasoning.  If a guy is level 50 in Team Slayer, then that means they excel at killing their enemies — which last time I checked is a HUGE component of succeeding on offense and defense in objective games!!!  So, why am I being put in games against level 50’s in Squad Battle or Team Skirmish or Social Big Team games???  Bungie, the creators of Halo, has used the earlier argument to explain it… which I hate.  This is a major annoyance and problem for someone like me that is only a level 31 (in Lone Wolves).
  4. Experience rating vs. Actual Rank:  In every playlist, you have an experience rating, but also a rank (unless it’s a Social playlist, where you’ll only have an experience rating).  This is very confusing for many people.  Yes, it’s been explained by bungie here, but people still get confused by it — probably because they use the same symbols for experience rating as they do for overall rank.
  5. People playing on second accounts:  Although this could be argued as not exactly “cheating”, there are people who are normally ranked in the 40’s or level 50, who say “hey, let’s make a new account so that we’ll be ranked low and get to pwn noobs!!!”  The Team Doubles playlist seems to be plagued by these type of gamers.  How do you know if you’re against someone like this?  Check out their game history — if they haven’t played much, but their overall experience is only slightly lower than their games played, then that means they’re winning almost all of their games.  This likely indicates a guy who was probably a level 50 who now is on a 2nd account to be able to totally demolish his enemy… which is YOU!  Have fun.

Halo 3: ODSTHalo 3: ODST comes out on September 22 of this year (2009).  It will include two discs, one with the new ODST campaign, and the other with a Halo 3 multiplayer disc that has the last 3 new maps, Longshore, Citadel, and Heretic (a remake of Halo 2’s Midship map).  It also comes with a new multiplayer mode called “Firefight”, which is similar to Gears of War 2’s “Horde” mode, where you fight with friends against waves and waves of alien enemies.  Looking forward to it…

DLC for Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video game

RotF Game - G1 Starscream

I might actually have to buy Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen VIDEO GAME for my xbox 360 now.  I saw today on Kotaku.com that the makers of the game plan on releasing some new characters as DLC for the game — including G1 Starscream (as in the original starscream based on the original transformers from the 80’s).  My fav. character in the game?  Boy, they know how to get me to spend my money, don’t they!

Apparently the game isn’t too bad for a video game based on movies (which usually are terrible).

source:  http://kotaku.com/5315069/transformer-dlc-brings-characters-maps-and-more-this-summer

This game is considered by many to be the best Transformers video game ever made… but that might not be saying much considering the history. It does have multiplayer as an option, and G1 Starscream will (eventually) be one of those characters that you can play as.

You can check out some in-game (campaign) cinematics footage of this game here: