Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rock Band 2 (XBOX 360)




- Picked up the new Wireless Drums from Fry's when it was on sale for $80.
- I tried them out first at the store and I really liked the feel of the new drums: it has a nice bounce, much more quiet, things fit tighter together like the poles into the base and the pedal all stay put when picking up the drums and moving it around, slots for optional upgrades like the up and coming cymbal pack, metal plate on the pedal, and of course wireless. That was enough for me to upgrade.
- That sad part is my drums were defective: First, the battery compartment is right underneath the drums. It takes three AA batteries. The battery cover does have a strip of foam that is suppose to help keep the batteries in place. Well it didn't. After banging out a few songs the batteries would lose connection, and the drums would power down. This happened a few times in solo mode but was much worse in online play since my band mates were saving me as I was scrambling to get power back up. I folded up a piece of paper and crammed it under the cover which seemed to help.
- A much more serious problem was my halo 3 wireless headset would NOT work with the drums. No matter what I tried (different power on sequences, etc) I could not get the headset to sync to the same slot the drums were on (controller position 1). You can read more about this issue here:
http://www.rockband.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80823
That first night I played online I had to dig out my old wired headset. Well apparently the rb2 drums do NOT include the little extension cable adapter. I had to go dig up my old one that came with the rb1 special edition. Just more annoying things for an over priced peripheral that you would expect they would get everything RIGHT since this is their SECOND time around.
- So I decided to do the express RMA option where they cross ship you new drums. Make sure you use IE since Firefox didn't work on the Rock Band warranty site. It took about a week for the RMA drums to arrive. I set them up, and these new ones work perfectly with my wireless headset. Not only that the batteries seem to fit much tighter in these new drums so it fixed my power issue too. So if you have these issues don't hesitate to do an RMA.
- Game wise I'm really enjoying it a lot. I found calibrating with the drums gave me much more accurate results than with my old rb1 guitar. I know the rb2 guitar has auto calibration but I don't think it's worth the money. Besides, I have yet used a rb guitar that doesn't have the overdrive sensor all screwed up. No fail mode is nice if you have younger kids. Character creation is better. Overall band/character management including assigning subs is all handeled really well and much more flexible. The set list is growing on me. Online world tour and challenges are a blast. There are some nice training modes above and beyond the basic tutorial for drums. Those patterns can get really tough especially at the higher BPM's.
- The quickest way to unlock all the songs is start a band in local tour mode, challenge mode, do all the decade challenges (just the regular ones, not the marathon ones). In just a couple of hours you should have most if not all the songs unlocked. I did this on hard drums.

I highly recommend the game but so far the new drums have been a bit frustrating. I would let this first bad batch of drums get out of the retail channel before buying them. If you get a good working set of drums, they are quite nice though I'm not sure if they are worth the cost.

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