Rawk-E

1 07 2008

So. Rock Band 2. Announced yesterday, comes out in September (whoa!), uses all your existing DLC, and a number of other vague promises that they’ve listened to our complaints about RB1 and addressed nearly all of them.

I’m trying not to squee! too much, because while liked RB1, a lot of things we assumed it’d let us do (design a band despite being solo, do world tour online, etc) didn’t pan out in the end. What we got was a stripped down core band experience — just the bare bones, ma’am — with very little flourish or depth. It did what it had to do and did it well and then exited stage left.

I don’t want to be disappointed again by raising hopes too high, but it’s hard not to; any improvement on RB1 would be stellar, since RB1 already did the solid basics perfectly well. Anything on top of that can ONLY be good, right? And they’d take care of the most blatantly obvious deficiencies in the formula (notably online bands) given their competition’s ready to eat their lunch on that front, right? We’ll see. I will hope.

I’m just glad I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t care about drumming and owns a cross-game guitar (the 360 Xplorer). I can play BOTH games this fall. And with Guitar Hero slated to stop sucking and start dishing up a proper RB-like experience complete with vocals, I’m poised to enjoy MUZIK GAEM to double degrees. \|mm|/, indeed.

In other news, went to see WALL-E last night. I went in skeptical; I’d heard everything from ‘dull’ to ‘life-changing experience’. I’d heard it had a very tired and pedantic message about fat, lazy bastard consumers. To tie in to my earlier point, I didn’t wanna raise my hopes too much.

Fortunately, it did in fact deliver. It was never dull; it was masterfully directed and engaging, even in dialogue-low parts. ESPECIALLY in dialogue-low parts. And more importantly to me, the pitfall I foresaw it dropping into, doing the generic slam against American consumerism, turned out to be a bit more subtle ‘n simple than that — it became one of my favorite tales, the old “Those Who Forget History..” yarn. This wasn’t a race of cynically lazy slobs; it was a race of ignorant-by-way-of-innocence types who didn’t even realize they were yearning to break free from sloth until it was accidentally pointed out to them. Much better!

I won’t say it’s my favorite Pixar movie… that one probably goes to The Incredibles, simply because it satisfies the inner comic geek in me on so many levels, and has some really human characters to connect to. But it’s definitely in the highest tier. It’s hard to really rank Pixar movies by which ones you like best, since they’re all so damned awesome… it’d be like picking your favorite childrens. So, tl;dr, WALL=E = Highly Recommended.

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12 responses

1 07 2008
kamalloy

…wait, RB2? I thought that they said the first was a platform and they were just going to keep releasing more for that.
Are they going to allow us to carry over our characters from the first one? Or will it be fairly easy to remake them? I’m very attached to my guitarist, so I want to keep her around.

1 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

That’s a debate that’s been raging on the Internet Hate Machine Nerd Forum Wars ever since the announcement, but to be specific — HMX never said they’d never make a sequel. They just said it was a platform, and in that respect, they delivered since any songs you bought for it are going to carry through to the next game.
It’s not really possible to just keep upgrading RB1 with downloadable patches. The 360 spec doesn’t require a hard drive, for instance; also, retail stores demand you refresh the product or they stop stocking it. If they want to stay alive they need to sell new content beyond just two-dollar tracks.
There’s no word about carrying over characters. rockband2.com shows some new character design options, like masks, but they could probably build in legacy support for old characters if so inclined, or at the very least include all the build options from the previous game. Given you could only change like 6-7 things on your character a rebuild wouldn’t be hard.

1 07 2008
tozetre

Seconded!

1 07 2008
jengagne

Yeah, I am super-happy with WALL-E! Like you, before I went in I wondered if it would have an overly-preachy message about Sluglike Future Consumer-Humanity. But in practice I think they handled it well (and lightly, as they should in a movie like this…)
I mean yes, the people were fat of course, but they weren’t _gross_ or despicable for it, which is refreshing in any media. They just _happened_ to be fat because they’d been raised that way by the robots…
As Andy pointed out, he liked it that the people were, well, just people (once something woke them up a bit.)
Anyway, to get back to the general take, I really REALLY was impressed with how they handled plot and motivation when the two main characters only used like… six words total. That’s an amazing challenge to overcome so very, very well.

1 07 2008
kamalloy

I would have liked them to have implemented more of the community content they were talking about first (surely it can’t be that hard to generate avatars) but really, I love the concept so much that having a heap of new songs and venues and the ability to carry over DLC is making me quite happy. So long as I can recreate my current favorite character’s face and hairstyle, I’ll be content. It’s not like I don’t change up her outfit every so often for variety anyway.

1 07 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

For me, once I had an outfit “locked in” on a character, I rarely changed it. Which means my vocalist is sitting on 30,000+ bucks, because I wanted a good vagabond / bohemian look to him, which doesn’t cost a lot of cash to pull off.
I think they bit off more than they could chew with the community concepts they had. Making an avatar out of your rocker’s good in theory, but when you need to write web software to render a 3-D image down to a JPG on demand and you have thousands of people demanding, yikes. And the idea of buying figurines of your characters was real pie located in the stratosphere, as wonderful as it sounded.
The one thing I hated was how on the website, it’d list ALL your characters, even ones you deleted months ago. I clued in fast and stopped making characters on a whim… I’d just rename and redecorate the old ones if possible. I also disliked how once a band name was taken, it was gone forever, even if the band was deleted. That really sucks.
RB1 basically was full of minor annoyances like that… it lacked a lot of depth, a lot of different things to do. You Play Band Game, You Are Done. And lord help you if you wanted to solo AND make-believe you were in a band.
I want more RB2 news… news about solo and online options, about created bands, about carryover from RB1, etc. But being HMX they probably won’t let another detail slip until July 14th (E3), and even then, they wouldn’t go into ‘minutiae’ like that.

1 07 2008
jaeai

I just couldn’t believe Kathy Najimi was in it. She was PERFECT. And Sigorney Weaver as ship’s computer? …and turns out that it was MacSpeak used for AUTO…there is an OVERLOAD of (and then!) geekery in there that just blows my mind. We’re going to go see it again ASAP.

1 07 2008
jengagne

At least three 2001 references in there, too. Yay!
More Mac-related trivias: http://www.misterbitterpants.com/2008/06/wall-e/
Also, Eve is so obviously an iPod. XD

2 07 2008
jaeai

Jen…that is one SEXI iPod…I might even be persuaded to buy one if they look and act like that! I want an iPod that giggles! Have you seen:
http://www.buynlarge.com – this is too weird for science fiction.

2 07 2008
omahdon

What I don’t understand is: crap like Love Guru gets a simultaneous worldwide release (more or less)…. But we, of the Australian ilk, have to wait until SEPTEMBER for WALL-E.
It’s…. It’s not fair.

2 07 2008
Anonymous

I’m pretty sure it has to do with budgets (what doesn’t?) Wild theory, but I remember hearing this somewhere. Basically, the bulk of the money made by the people who actually make the movie, beyond their salary, is made on a percentage of opening weekend sales. Note, that’s the FIRST opening weekend, later openings don’t count.
For a bad movie that’s expected to do poorly, a simultaneous release isn’t going to matter, ‘cuz the creators aren’t getting their bonus anyway.
For a GOOD movie, though, if they stagger later releases they get to keep more of each opening’s take.
This, incidentally, is why studios HATE the fact that it’s so damn easy to breach region embargoes these days. All those contracts they went to so much trouble to negotiate now don’t work in their favor quite so much, because once a movie’s out in the wild, it may as well be available to everyone in the world for free.
-TH

2 07 2008
jengagne

The depth of content at http://buynlarge.com/ is seriously impressive. Have you read their privacy policy? Score: +1, Evil.
The sidebar advertisements for that shopping drug are SO stereotypical. Blue sky, carefree person, drug name in white… ;)
The last quote in the News Center > Technology > Artificial Mate article really got me cackling. If you haven’t seen it yet, dig it up.
http://buynlarge.com/NewsCenter.html

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