Questions: Rock Band

As we reported in this post earlier today. Harmonix has announced new Rock Band 3 DLC after two years of silence. There are a lot of questions regarding why this is happening but luckily our Rock Band Expert, Mike is here to ask himself those questions and try to answer them.

Why are you considered a Rock Band Expert?

I’ve been playing Rock Band since Rock Band 1. I have over 1,000 songs available to play on my Xbox 360. I’ve been in numerous Rock Band competitions with my band Jimmy Twinkle and The BAD. A few of them we even won, netting us a bunch of awesome swag and giving us trips to NYC and Atlantic City for the Total Rock, Total Rewards Rock Band competition. I think I qualify as an expert.  On a more serious note, Rock Band holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first (and probably only) game i’ve been really really good at and it allowed me to do amazing things that I never thought I’d do in my life.

Why do this now?

That’s a great question! It doesn’t seem to make sense to stop releasing songs for a few years, then start again. A few months ago, Harmonix asked people to take a Rock Band related survey that asked questions like “What would you be more excited for?” and listed a bunch of different options. One of the options was New Legacy DLC for Rock Band 3. My guess is that this option was pretty popular and it compelled them to make more DLC for Rock Band 3.

Will they continue to release songs?

I think so. The Rock Band fan base is ravenous whenever it comes to new news or content. Harmonix knows they can’t simply give these people a small taste and not expect them to come back for more. I do not think it would be every week like it was before, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they released three songs a month.

Why should we care?

If you like any of the three artists or songs being released and you still have the ability to play those songs. I’m not a huge fan of the song choices. I’ll probably pick up the Foo Fighters song. Also I know I’m in the minority that I still have my complete Rock Band setup(even if its a little beat up.) But you have the ability to play these songs and your interested, you should pick them up. Harmonix is an amazing game company that deserves support.

 Can I buy new instruments for Rock Band?

This is very hit or miss. Amazon always has people selling things, but the quality is always questionable with these instruments. You would have to buy used, and this is a huge problem Harmonix would run into with a theoretical  Rock Band 4. How do you release new expensive peripherals cost effectively?

Is there a new Rock Band coming?

This is the big question, I don’t have a definitive answer but my guess is eventually. It won’t be this year, but I can’t imagine Harmonix doesn’t have something up their sleeve.  They know people want it. They also know it won’t be the phenomenon it was before. So i expect a more conservative release for “Rock Band 4” with less songs and less flash, but more of the rhythm based gameplay that people love.

Are there any questions about Rock Band I didn’t answer? What do you think Harmonix should do with the franchise? Leave your answers in the comments below and thank you for reading.

-Mike

Harmonix Announces New Rock Band DLC Tomorrow!

Harmonix has announced today via their forums that they are releasing new Rock Band songs tomorrow, Tuesday, January 13th, 2015. The three songs that are being released are as follows:

• Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”
• Avenged Sevenfold – “Shepherd Of Fire”
• Foo Fighters – “Something From Nothing”

$1.99 USD, £.99 UK, €1.49 EU per song

This comes as somewhat of a surprise as Harmonix has seemed to be done with Rock Band 3 and has said many times they will pick up the series with presumably a new game at a later date. Will they continue to release new songs? Are you excited for this batch of songs? Stay turned to the Game Talk Universe for all your Rock Band and other video game news.

-Mike

Mike’s Top Ten Games of 2014

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As promised on our most recent podcast, here is my list of my favorite games from 2014. My big takeaway from making this list is there are plenty of games I haven’t played! Especially from next gen consoles, so if your favorite game isn’t on here be easy on me. Games I haven’t played that I suspect have a chance to land on this list: Shovel Knight, Watch Dogs, Tropico 5, Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, NBA 2K15, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Fantasia: Music Evolved, and Civilization: Beyond Earth.

All disclaimers aside, here’s my list!

10: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

I’m a huge fan of the original Donkey Kong Country series. A huge part of my childhood was set in front of an old ass TV playing DKC (or 2) while my neighborhood friends played outside. However, I wasn’t as into 2010’s Donkey Kong Country Returns. It just lacked the original spark that the SNES series had. I believe the sequel, this years Tropical Freeze was closer to the mark, while not entirely hitting it.

That being said I very much enjoyed my time with Tropical Freeze. The jumping mechanics felt great, it had creative level design, and interesting(if a bit long) boss battles.Also I enjoyed have to use the different characters for different purposes. I just wish the co-op didn’t feel tacked on. Even the sometimes frustrating Flappy Bird style barrel rocket sections felt a lot less frustrating than in the previous game. I’m excited to see where Retro Games takes the series next.

9: Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby (3DS)

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I love Pokemon. I’ve been playing since I was a young boy and the Red/Blue and Gold/Silver versions are some of my favorite games. However I didn’t play any of the GBA versions like Ruby and Sapphire. So this was a first time for these games for me. To be honest, I have not finished my copy of Omega Ruby yet, so I will continue to play into the new year. I’ve had fun playing this game, but certain things have made it a slight let down for me in comparison to the triumph that was Pokemon X and Y.

I love the new DexNav that allows you to find pokemon with unique moves. It also includes a feature that shows you how many more unique pokemon are in that area so you know when you catch them all. This is huge for someone like me who spends most of his time filling his pokedex as opposed to training killing machines.

It includes most of the great improvements from X and Y, but I was disappointed in a few things. The amount of water traveling in the game has been excessive so far and has made the game much tougher to get through. Also I understand why HMs exist, but we need a better system. Having useless pokemon or giving pokemon useless moves just so I can traverse the land is outdated and needs to be changed.

That being said I’m enjoying the game and will continue to in the upcoming months.

8: South Park: The Stick of Truth (X360)

Admittedly I’m not as big of a South Park fan as I used to be. I haven’t outgrown the humor, I’m just not much of a scheduled TV watcher. That being said, I loved this game. Combining old nods to previous South Park episodes with new jokes lampooning video games was hilarious.

The gameplay itself wasn’t super deep, but it had enough RPG elements to keep me interested. The replay value was small, I didn’t feel a need to go back and play it again after my original play through even to try another one of the character classes.

This game was 100% South Park and I found myself chuckling to myself the whole time while playing. It might not have had replay value, but you’d be hard pressed to find a game this year that made you laugh harder.

7: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call (3DS)

You won’t see this game on a lot of website’s top ten lists, but I’m a sucker for rhythm games and Final Fantasy music. This game combines both of those elements into a slick rhythm game that kept my 3DS in my hands for months.

Leveling up some of Final Fantasy’s most iconic characters while tapping and sliding your 3DS touchscreen to music might seem odd, but it’s surprisingly addicting and choosing what characters and abilities to set your party up with was much more rewarding and challenging than I expected.

This game collects over 200 songs from FF1 all the way to next years Final Fantasy Type-0 and gives you the option to purchase more through DLC. It’s an amazing game and one I think should be praised more than it was.

6: Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

I like Mario Kart, but I haven’t been as big of a fan as others. This game might have made me a believer.
Everything in this game looks beautiful! From the different tracks to the colorful cast of racers, this game shows off WII U HD like no other. The new course wrinkles like the air gliders and underwater sections of the tracks are well done and add much more to the experience than you expect.

My favorite part in all of this is the game no longer frustrates me. Falling off the side of a track no longer jets you into last place, a little fella in a cloud grabs you midair and drops you back onto the track in seconds, turning it into only a minor setback. However, the game isn’t too easy as you’ll need to be skilled in order to win races consistently.
Also worth mentioning is the excellent DLC plan for this game. 8 new tracks and 3 new characters for each of the two DLC packs is a great value and gets you back into the game every time you think you’re done with it.

Playing with three other friends is a must and a hell of a way to spend an evening

5: Titanfall (XBone)

Full disclosure: I don’t own Titanfall. Hell I don’t even own a XBox One. However, Ive played this game on my brother’s Xbone multiple times and love it. It takes the formula that was first pioneered by other first person shooters and blew it up, forming a hybrid of multiple games that I fell in love with.

Controlling the titans is satisfying and destructive fun, but what’s more impressive is how powerful you feel outside of the titans. Running and jumping off walls is a blast and allows you to see maps as something other than a maze of corridors.
I’m excited to get a Xbox One and finally join the party officially.

4: Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

As a Dynasty Warriors fan and a Zelda fan i must admit: I was very scared of this game. I love french fries and I love lasagna, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be good together. However my fears were lifted when I put the game in. Besides fried lasagna sounds pretty amazing.

This game will never be my favorite Zelda game, but it just might be my favorite Warriors game. It’s much faster paced than your typical Warriors entry and has all kinds of little details that make you nostalgic for Zelda games. Link himself is a complete badass in the game, leveling hundreds of grunts with a simple button press. It’s mindless fun, but sometimes I want to sit back and mow down hoards of goons and this game scratches that itch like no other.

Also this game has optional DLC that really adds content. New characters and new maps every couple of months. Nintendo continues to kill it in that regard.

3: Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (X360)

As someone who hasn’t owned a Sony console since PS2, I was very jealous of owners who got to play Guacamelee! when it came out in 2013. Luck was on my side in 2014 as Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition(Great Name) came to my X Box 360 this year.

I played this game non stop from when I got it, to when I 100% it on the hardest difficulty, only stopping for work and sleep. This game is very similar to a 2D Metroid or Castlevania(MetroidVania) game. You are a Mexican man who must save his love by becoming a superhero like luchadore.

The game is charmingly funny, challenging but no too much so, and is lengthy. It’s very rewarding to collect a new power up that allows you to perform a flying kick, and then go back to other area you couldn’t before without that move. This game captivated me for a couple of weeks this year, and should be checked out especially considering it isn’t a full priced title.

2: Walking Dead Season 2 (X360)

I was a huge fan of Season One of Telltale’s Walking Dead game. I was emotionally moved by the last episode in that season and had high hopes for Season 2. I was not disappointed.

For those that do not know, Telltale’s Walking Dead series is based on the graphic novel, and not the TV show. It’s very loosely a game and more of a graphic adventure where you make choices that effect outcomes later on. That being said the series is very well written and getting through the story and learning about the characters is the driving force, not the gameplay(or lack thereof)

Season 2 had me on the edge of my seat with each episode. Playing as Clementine, who you had to protect in season one, brought a whole different level of paranoia with my choices. I didn’t know who to trust and what to do in a lot of situations. The choices seemed to matter more in season 2 than they did in the previous one.

To talk about this in more detail would spoil things and I wouldn’t want to do that, but if you like The Walking Dead, or zombies in general, and are in the mood for a good story, check out both seasons of the Walking Dead.

1: Super Smash Bros Wii U

If you’ve already listened to this week’s podcast you’d know this already, but my favorite game of 2014 is Super Smash Bros for Wii U! I love this game! The new characters are well thought out and charming. The game play is as tight as it’s been since Melee.

The most impressive thing about this game is the attention to detail, from the stages to the trophies you can unlock, everything is perfect. The game doesn’t just represent character’s source materials properly, it celebrates them.
This is more impressive when you consider the amount of content in the game. Other games in the series have tailed off after unlocking the secret characters, but with this version of the game I’m always finding more reasons to play. Whether it’s unlocking trophies or more custom moves for the fighters, I’ll continue to have fun playing this game well into 2015

Playing with friends is as much fun as it’s always been, if not more. Being able to team up with 3 other friends against a slew of computer players is a blast and I can’t wait to get 7 of my friends in my living room to do a full 8-player smash match.
With Mewtwo announced as a DLC character, I feel it’s only a matter of time until they announce more. Having a few new characters to learn this year would be a blast and I hope Nintendo goes that route.

Well there’s my list for 2014! I hope you enjoyed reading and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us with video games! Let me know what your favorite games were in the comments below

Mike