Feb 252011
Rock Band DLC

I always get a heads up if the DLC is more likely than not going to be something that will excite me. This happens as my husband comes to wake me up on Friday mornings. If it’s going to be something really good, he’s telling me about it within three seconds of confirming that I’m mostly conscious. (And by “telling me about it” I mean “making me guess what it is” – always fun when you’ve been conscious for approximately three seconds). If it’s something he thinks I’ll like but he’s not certain exactly how much I’ll like it, he brings it up after a couple minutes, as I’m sitting up and pulling on slippers. If it’s something he doesn’t think is that great, he doesn’t bother to say anything at all.

Today he said nothing at all. But I’m actually kind of pleased anyway, if not for the main DLC than for the side stuff.

Our main DLC this week is a four pack of Nine Inch Nails. Side stuff? 11 pro-guitar/bass charts for legacy songs (meaning pre-RB3).

Pretty Hate Pack 01

– “Terrible Lie
– “Head Like a Hole+
– “Sanctified
– “The Only Time

+ = pro-guitar/bass chart available

Pro-Guitar/Bass for Legacy DLC

– Blink 182 – “Dammit
– Boston – “More Than A Feeling
– Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising
– Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Fortunate Son (Original Version)
– Eve 6 – “Inside Out
– The James Gang – “Funk #49
– The Knack – “My Sharona (Cover Version)
– Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Simple Man
– Metallica – “…And Justice for All
– The Offspring – “Self Esteem
– Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – “Pride and Joy

Each pro-track is $0.99. There is no pack for them.

I’m very hot and cold on NIN. When you feel like it, there’s nothing else in the world that fits the bill. But when I’m in the mood for NIN, there’s an excellent chance I’m in the mood for absolutely nothing else besides screaming yelling punching. Not exactly how I like to approach my Rock Band.

But the legacy pro upgrades? Hot damn! It’s no coincidence that these will come out on the very day that the Squier goes on sale. Having them out there is also a great open door for the whole Rock Band library.

Let’s get to the songs.

“Terrible Lie” is actually pretty sedate for a NIN song. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot here for me personally beyond possibly drums and keys (depending on what part they’re charting for keys versus guitar that is). Personally I don’t think it’s that great of a song, at least not considering who’s doing it and his body of work. It’s got a mildly catchy hook, but I find it overall quite mediocre.

Out of the pack, “Head Like a Hole” will undoubtedly be the biggest seller. Again drums get a nice juicy part (I have little doubt that drummers will be picking up the whole pack). It’s got just the right amount of angry defiance going on, with a musicality that I think will translate into a fun Rock Band experience. While I’m undecided about much of this week’s pack, this is a maybe.

The beginning of “Sanctify” always amuses me, like I’m about to watch a violent episode of Seinfeld. Listening to it here with an ear for Rock Band though, I’m actually kind of surprised; it’s a lot more boring than I remember. Vocals are pretty level (don’t think I heard any use for harmonies in there), drums fairly uninspired, and while the bass riff is very prominent, I think that’s all there is for the whole song. I’m sure guitar’s in there somewhere too, but mixed so low I didn’t hear it. This is actually less interesting for the game than “Terrible Lie”.

It’s obviously been a long long time since I last listened to Pretty Hate Machine because I totally remembered “The Only Time” being a lot more aggressive than it is. It sounds like it’ll be more interesting to play than “Sanctify”, but again I’m not finding much here to excite me as far as the game is concerned. I’m not sure where they’re going to split the keys and guitar charts, which will probably be an important choice for fun on those individual instruments.

The NIN pack truly surprised me. “Head Like a Hole” as a potential aside, there wasn’t anything in there that really appealed to me for play in Rock Band. Which, oddly enough, I kind of expected, but for completely different reasons. I expected them to be too busy, too aggressive, to be fun in my regular library rotation. Instead I came away feeling like most tracks would simply be too boring to ever want to play more than one or two times, tops. While the result is much the same – I’m not buying the pack – I’m actually a little disappointed by the pack. It’s an odd reaction that I don’t entirely understand, but there it is.

I’m not going to go into the Legacy DLC song by song. Out of the thousands available for Rock Band, these are the ones they picked, so you can bet it’s for good reason. The mix of styles and genres they’re using here is pretty impressive, and means that if you have any interest in pro-guitar, there’s bound to be at least one song in these 11 that you’re interested in picking up.

For me, there are several. Boston, the two CCR, James Gang, Skynyrd, Offspring, SRV … even The Fake Knack (to be fair the “My Sharona” cover is pretty darn good and that second guitar solo is just a siren song). Metallica intimidates the hell out of me, but of their songs we already have in the game, this is the one that’s probably the least threatening. Is it worth a buck for me to probably never get beyond the intro? Quite possibly.

Something important to note: These are pro upgrades, but they’re for pre-RB3 songs. So should those songs come out with an RB3 upgrade at some point down the line, you’ll probably have to buy those pro-upgrades again if you want to play them with the RB3 versions. You can buy them now and keep playing with what you have until the end of time, but if you suspect a future re-release of a song and playing your pro-guitar with keys and harmonies is a deal-breaker for you, you’ll probably want to hold off. Of course, there’s no saying any of these songs will have an RB3 version at any point in time. You’ll have to decide for yourself what your $1 is worth.

All told, a good week, and making me crave my Squier all the more. Get here soon, March!

  • Ultrace

    Important to note that one reason I wasn’t quickly informing you about the pro upgrades is that while we have the Squier coming March 1st, we have yet to secure the midi pro adapter needed for it (which I check for every day…) Just sayin’.

    • Jet Wolf

      Yeah, so aggravating. The Mad Catz rep on the forums said there’d be a flood of them for the Squier if I remember right. I’d be happier if we had it in-hand though. I actually was bugging Amy today for the zip code where she is, hoping they’d have them in Hawaii and she could bring it back with her. No such luck, sadly.

      Stupid Mad Catz!