Over Xmas I tried the demo of GH3 on my 360 and confirmed what I’d already suspected – that I’m a sucker for the series. However, having listened to Granik and Rafter talking about GH games, I also had a hunch I might be less inclined towards GH3 than 2. Although I was playing the demo on a regular gamepad controller my biggest difficulty playing the games was not playing the song.
In truth, GH is a coup-de-gras of game development. Its a rehash of an old, most basic game/toy; the console implementation of the old Simon Says toy. Sprinkle on a few other factors that are almost so trivial they would seem ridiculous and you get a mindblowing game. Any console game has to have music, right? So use the music to determine the light patterns so you can learn them, and make the control pad look like a guitar, make the console cheer and shout like a crowd, and we foolish mortals will convince ourself we are tasting stardom, not just playing the most predictable simple simon game ever ;)
So I ordered GH2 with a controller and when I got home tonight, it had arrived…
Guitar plugged in, cat occupying the lazy boy and quite intrigued, I ran thru the tutorial and launched into my first career gig. I thought the guitar would be easier to use than the gamepad but the guitar adds the twist of a strum “switch”. And I’ve yet to find a comfortable stance, so my fingers always feel like they are drifting. I think they’re actually not but in compensating for it I’m making mistakes.
I played my first song on easy. I got 91% and excrutiatingly frustrated because the button presses seemed completely unrelated to the rythm or notes of the song. I’d suspected easy mode would be like that, so I switched to medium.
In no time I had finished my first set, played my encore, plowed thru the second set and into the third. In the third set I started restarting songs, taking 2 or 3 attempts on a couple of songs. I was averaging a meagre 92% (89 my lowest, 95 my highest). I consistently do best first time playing thru a song. I did freakin’ awesome on one song, got a 150 note streak until I snagged the XBOX button while trying to engage star power and after that it went to the crapper.
I decided to try Wayward Son for my 4th song in set 3, and bam. After my 5th attempt I decided to go back to set 2 and try Life Wasted. Doh. Practice time for. One time thru in Very Slow, One in Slow, Full Speed and then played it live – 96%. I just keep wanting to play more of the notes (and no, I don’t just mean my timing off, in medium the solo kinda drifts along with the solo rather than actually reflecting the notes). I’ve not played Wayward Son yet, because I decided to call it a night with a quick go at Hard: I decided to try Tonight I’m Going to Rock You Tonight. Hard mode kicks ass. If medium feels more like playing the song than easy, hard feels 10x more like you’re actually playing the same tune. Of course, I’m playing playing most of the wrong notes but yeah, that feels like playing a guitar – not that I was ever very good at that.
I think I’ll finish Medium and then I’ll work my way thru hard one song at a time :)
I really, really can’t believe I didn’t buy a GH game sooner.
And finally – in a tiny stroke of irony – it seems I will need to find a taller stand for my TV or else after all these years of bad posture and watching tv slumped in my lazy boy, I might finally develop a bad neck from looking down at the TV as I strut up and down infront of it playing message in a bottle … :)