A lot of you music fans already know that the Rock Band update went live on Friday and that it features a new in-game store that will let us preview and buy songs within the game. What you may not have heard is that developer Harmonix is not stopping there; there are a host of other features included in the update that are going to improve on the gameplay itself.
The fan caps for the different difficulty levels are being increased, which is going to translate into being able to progress farther in the game in Band World Tour mode at a lower difficulty level. This makes sense, as Rock Band has become known as one of those games where being a pro gamer doesn’t translate into an advantage over your girlfriend, husband, or uncle Sally, and this is a big part of its fun / party appeal. For that reason, there is no sense in having the fun end prematurely when the difficulty ramps up too quickly. Harmonix has recognized this is an issue and is doing the right thing here by many players who can barely manage to survive a lot of songs on hard difficulty, allowing a wider audience to enjoy more of the game’s included content.
The Band World Tour mode will also see a better variety in song selection, which will reduce repetition…I mean, who can really mentally endure playing The Who’s, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” three times in the same night? This feature is definitely welcome.
Anyone who has ever picked up the mic in Rock Band will appreciate what they are going to do with Vocals as well. Phoneme recognition is being improved, which is a fancy way of saying, songs that have little, barely comprehensible utterances of words in them will be easier to sing, ala Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld. Those who sing on the PlayStation 3 will appreciate an improvement on the latency issues that have been an annoyance for vocals as well.
There is also a small fix that will stop parental controls from allowing band logos to correctly display on Xbox LIVE.
As far as future updates with more features go, a Harmonix spokesman had this to say, “…we’re very aware that there are features that the community has requested that aren’t addressed in this software update. I want to make it very clear that we’re listening to all of your requests, and actively want to get these features onto the Rock Band platform in the future – but when we do add them, we also want them to be 100% perfect, and not rushed just to make it into any specific software update.”
So it seems we will be getting more goodness in the future, we can still hold out for an online Rock Band World Tour mode, a feature most players have been asking for since the game’s release.
What other features would you like to see be included in a future update? How about being able to change some things about your character after they are created, like their attitude style (what if you decide you don’t like the way a “Goth” character moves?) How about making it so the whammy bar actually gives you points for using it on the non-white notes? Or wouldn’t it be nice some different “skins” for the menu interface kind of like your favorite mp3 playing software has? Having the character’s shoulder and chest connect for making body suit type tattoos would be nice. And the list goes on…give us some of your ideas below in the comments section. Harmonix is listening.
[See also: Rock Band gallery]