Keyboards for Rock Band 3?

Harmonix released a teaser picture for it’s upcoming Rock Band 3.  Notice the new icon including a keyboard?  Hmmm….sounds interesting and makes perfect sense.  I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened, but I wonder how many instruments can actually be plugged in at any given time?  With my current RB 1 & 2 on my 360 the USB peripheral allows for upto 4 devices, but then again, the 360 has anotehr USB port on ther front as well, so maybe 5 devices isn’t a stretch afterall.

But also notice the microphone icon….it has multiple mics….Is it possible we’ll be singing harmony ala Beatles?  I guess we’ll find out more details come mid June when E3 2010 drops.

I’m looking forward to RB3, although my friends and I have’t finished RB1 or 2 yet.  Not sure why as we always have a blast playing.  It’s just been getting harder and harder to round us all up.

In other music gaming news, I’ve almost completed DJ Hero on medium.  I have no fricken idea how people are scoring 5 stars on Hard or Expert modes.  Now that I’m ending my tour on medium, I just think how hard my hand/eye cooridination was on a few beats/sonsg in the Vinyl Cuts section, especially with the cross fader.   Here’s hoping that Activision throws a few more songs our way before DJ Hero 2 drops as well.  I understand the game didn’t deliver the sales numbers they were hoping for this past holiday season, but come on…the game did retail for over $120 on debut during a recession and just after The Beatles and sucky Tony Hawk’s Ride dropped.  Tough market to compete in, and thus they didn’t follow up with DLC support for months.  It was months before a second set of DLC was released after the initial offerings.  That’s just not cool when RB & Harmonix are pumping out tracks on a weekly basis.

Games I’m currently working on: Dragon Age Origins, Assassins Creed II, Modern Warfare 2, and beleive it or not, I still have an un-opened copy of Mass Effect 2.  Haven’t even had time to play Tiger Woods 2010, let alone think about Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Borderlands.  By the time I get to those, hopefully the price will drop on all of these to $29.99-$39.99

And Natal?  I can’t even think about that right now.  Though I am curious to any news of upcoming games for it.  I think it has a ton of potential, but I’m just really scared that there may be a lot of shovelware crap like the Wii.

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DJ Hero gameplay, first impressions from E3

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Turntable with crossfader

X-Play correspondent (G4), Blair H, was able to get a sit down hands on look at Activision’s new rhythm game DJ Hero earlier this week at E3, and from what I saw, I’m totally jazzed.

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the turntable controller, and now that I’ve seen an actual demo played live I’m happy to see there is an additional peripheral as well on top of the turntable….that is the cross fader.  No price has been announced and no actual release date, but Activision led viewers to believe it would be ready this fall just in time for the holiday season.  At launch DLC content will also be made available on top of tracks released with the game on disc.

In the demo I saw the graphics are somewhat similar to the cartoony look of the Guitar Hero, but with a slightly more urban slant.  I was also happy to here that some songs will also allow players to use their GH: World Tour microphones and maybe even a guitar for bass inspired riffs for multiplay action!  That’s pretty cool…even this white-boy will get a chance to rap.

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Beta screenshot

The song they demo’d was a Gwen Stefani and Rick James mix of his classic,  ‘Give it to me baby’, and it sounded great! Game controls use both hands….one of the cross fade and sampling buttons, the other on the turn-table with three button note controllers.   The game track looked nice, and instead of GH’s ‘star power’, DJ Hero uses ‘euphoria’, and when built up, will allow for bonus points and other effects.

DJ Hero – First look

DJHeroAs someone who never really grew up on classic rock, heavy metal, punk, or alternative music during the 80’s (I enjoyed more pop and old skool rap), I was quite surprised that I learned to enjoy both the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises.  As a matter of fact, I was a late adopter of music and rythym based games, and it was only when I tried Guitar Hero III at a friends house did I finally buy one for myself and began to jam.  Funny thing is, I’m still not crazy about quite a few of the songs.  My brain has somewhat managed to block out some songs as I am too busy concentrating on the notes tracks and hitting my hammer-on’s and off’s more so than I am listening to the lyrics.  However, I will say I have also learned to appreciate some songs that I never would have never even given a chance to outside the gaming experience.

With that in mind, I always wondered if they would make a game using a turntable and I always had visions in my head what a game may look like if I wanted to experience the music I tend to gravitate towards: Dance, House, Rap, Pop.  Imagine my joy when I first learned that Activision announced DJ Hero.  I began to salivate at the thought of doing my own record scratching and mixing break beats and using a crossfader.

Well finally some details on the the gameplay and peripheral have finally surfaced, and now I’m more excited than ever.  I just hope it translates very well, and not a hack job like Konami’s ill-thought-out ‘Rock Revolution’.  Anyway, here’s what we can look forward to:

  • Over 100 songs have been licensed, allowing DJs to create 70 playable tracks.
  • Songs are a mix of two existing tracks, or mash-ups.
  • The red middle button will add a sample to the mix.
  • Controller features an effects knob to inject additional sounds.
  • Hit the crossfade button at the right time to keep the mix correct while you beat match with the colored buttons.
  • Turntable spins all the way around.  At higher difficulties, scratch sections add to difficulty by requiring you to scratch in certain patterns.
  • “Rewind Meter”, when charged up, will allow a player to spin the record backward to relive and replay favorite sections.
  • “Jukebox mode” allows the game to play itself as background music for parties, where players can drop in randomly and leave as well.

Some of the artists confirmed will be: Beastie Boys, Gorillaz, David Bowie, KRS One, Soul Searchers, The Zombies, Rick James, Nirvana, Herbie Hancock (can you say “Rockit”?), Jurrasic 5, Beck, Blondie, and many more.

The game is schedule for a fall ’09 release.