Thursday, January 13, 2011

Game Review: Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 was a long time coming. Rock Band 2 was released way back in 2008. Unlike the Guitar Hero franchise which has a seemingly endless amount of sequels and spin-offs, we only had The Beatles: Rock Band and Green Day: Rock Band to tide us over. After such a long development, will Rock Band 3 be the pinnacle of music gaming it's supposed to be?

In some ways yes. Consider that I haven't played with the actual stringed Rock Band guitar or the other advanced guitar. I have had experience with the Rock Band Piano Keyboard (smart ass EB Games employees). Well let's start with the piano then. It's fun. A lot of fun actually. The keyboard itself is well-made and the charting is stupendous. Two complaints:
  1. The bar to activate overdrive and effects is way on the left side, which more often than not causes you to lose focus.
  2. This is a big one, upgrading songs from Rock Band 2 and DLC for Rock Band 3 Keyboards costs the FULL PRICE of the song. Yup, apologists can "but they have to re-license the songs" to the cows come home cause that's horse shit. Sorry there's no way I can be nice about this. If they had been up front about it, say, a year ago and said "Yup your going to have to re-pay for the songs for Rock Band 3" then they'd have my sympathy. Instead they didn't announce shit and waited until two weeks after Rock Band 3 was released and the first DLC came out. Fucking cockbites.
 Okay I have to calm down. Let's get to the good part, the music and game play. If your a metal lover than your probably going to be disappointed with Rock Band 3. Thankfully I hate metal, so Rock Band 3's soundtrack was amazing (albeit confusing: Who the fuck asked for Rock Lobster? Or that llama song?). Huey Lewis, INXS, J Geils Band, Joan Jett, Dire Straits, Ozzy, Police, Who, Doors, Hendrix, Bowie and the Beach Boys? HELL YES!

I thought the feel of Rock Band 2 couldn't get any better. I was wrong. Rock Band 3 feels so solid its unbelievable. The menus are much better (although switching users is still a pain in the ass) as well. What about the campaign? It's a disappointment. The idea behind it is great: go to different cities on Tours playing your choice of various setlists with different challenges. That's totally fun. The problem is it's too damn short! I never completely finished Rock Band 2's campaign, but Rock Band 3's campaign can be done in a day! They spent way too much time on their goal system when they need to expand the campaign. This is inexcusable when they've gotten rid of other various player modes.

Overall the game is a shame. A shame that they had such good bands and good game play ideas that they cocked up the best single system multi-player game with too much other crap and (to me) shady tactics.


P.S. Where the FUCK are the goddamn pianos? I have not seen one single Xbox 360 Rock Band 3 piano at any store I've been to (including Buffalo and Toronto). What is this shit? I'm sure we all thought that Mad Catz would be on top of this but it's FUCKING JANUARY! And now they're just talking about not having enough MIDI connectors? And they're only shipping 4000? How many games of Rock Band 3 were sold? I'm pretty sure they sold more Stage Kits than that!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Game Review: Call Of Duty: Black Ops


I’ve finally gotten to finish Black Ops (except Zombies, but I really don’t care for zombies). Understand that I came into Black Ops sceptical.  In the first trailer the first thing you see is these explosions that look like ass. From then on I kept me expectations low. And even after the release I still didn’t pick the game up for several weeks (problems with MW2 made me finally buy it). Here are my thoughts…

Single Player

Single Player is so-so. Some missions are pretty good for their use of history. Executive Command for example has you destroying a Russian Missile which is similar to an actual accident. Operation 40 has you on the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The Vorkuta Prison escape was also really well done.

On the other hand, the Vietnam, Kowloon and Laos missions were pretty bland. The mission WMD has some good moments but the whole spy plane is such a waste. Why did they even bother on something that you spend more time getting into than actually using? Some other complaints: Why was there no introduction to the RC-XD Car? The story isn’t great and a lot of the forced scenes are tedious and its annoying that you have to go through them EVERY TIME WITH NO SKIPPING! Some objectives aren’t clear… I’m looking at you Khe Sanh Napalm Barrels.

Multi Player

The multi-player is good. There are to big problems though. #1 is the maps. They’re all pretty uninspired and too small. Rundown time:

  • Array: Good
  • Cracked: Bad
  • Crisis: Boring
  • Firing Range: Meh
  • Grid: Meh
  • Hanoi: Good but rarely comes up
  • Havana: Okay
  • Jungle Meh
  • Launch: Not bad this is probably the most interesting map
  • Nuketown: Okay
  • Radiation: Boring No one ever goes under ground, they wasted time on a useless door opener
  • Summit: One of the better maps
  • Villa: Really good sniping map
  • WMD: Meh

Maybe I’m just hard to please.

The #2 thing wrong is the money/experience system. There’s a lot of little reasons so I’ll try my best to explain. For me moving Modern Warfare 2 along required unlocking weapons, unlocking the attachments and completing various challenges (usually gametype challenges). So I would play like this: Level Up, Get Gun, Get Attachments, Complete Gametype Challenge (Deathmatch, S&D, Demolition, Etc.) until I Prestige.

In Black Ops all that is thrown out the window. You only need to unlock Pro Perks. Everything else can be bought. So I focus on Pro Perks, which are a pain in the ass. I can’t really go into S&D if I’m trying to get PPs so I have to stay in TDM. So my experience so far has been level up in TDM until I get the AK47 and then just play that till I either get all my PPs or prestige (so far its only been the latter).

Another complaint: Noobs. Now I’m usually not one to complain about this, I mean, were all new at some point, right? But the issue I have is that people seem to be just taking their Xbox out of the box, putting in the game and then JOINING MY MATCHES AND GETTING 0-32! It’s ridiculous! And it happens all the time that I go to check their gamercard and the have 0 gamerscore. WHAT YOU COULDN’T BE BOTHER TO PLAY THE FIRST MISSION? YOU HAD TO COME STRAIGHT INTO MERCENARY TEAM DEATHMATCH AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW THE FUCKING CONTROLS??!?!?

Sorry, I just had to vent there.

There’s various other problems which you can find out for yourself (just search “Black Ops Sucks” you’ll get what your looking for)


The sound is actually top notch. Excellent voice over cast and good licensed music including Rolling Stones and CCR.


Graphics weren’t impressive. They seemed worse than MW2 for some reason.

Positive Notes

There are several great steps though. First is the fact that you can play online with a guest. The theatre mode is good too.

Overall 7/10

I don’t think Black Ops is a worthy successor to the Modern Warfare duo. It’s good and fun to play, but it just doesn’t have the same impact that they had story wise and game play wise.