Monday 25 February 2008

There was music in the cafes at night

Still playing Guitar Hero III, I finally managed to beat Lou in the hard career (just; I thought he'd got me as the screen faded to black, then suddenly it kicked back in with "FINISH HIM!" Tried a couple more times after that and didn't get close, so I guess that was a particularly flukey combination of me hitting my attacks and him not getting particularly annoying ones at bad times). On with Expert now, where I managed to pass 3s and 7s for the first time, but Before I Forget still does me in on the bridge.

Since Rock Band for the Wii was confirmed a few weeks back, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for possible release dates in Europe (estimates vary from "March" through "2009" to "sometime after the heat death of the universe"), and news on whether the Wii will support downloadable songs. It doesn't seem terribly likely, what with the Wii's limited internal storage, and a distinct lack of other games supporting downloadable content, but I'm really keeping my fingers crossed. The extra songs available for PS3/Xbox 360 Guitar Hero III so far are rather uninspiring, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything there, but there's already some great stuff out for Rock Band with more to come, including the greatest ever song ever in the history of time ever.

In non-plastic-guitar related musical gaming, Audiosurf has been released on Steam. I'd noticed Audiosurf mentioned in a few places before Christmas, signed up for the beta, and played that once or twice but wasn't terribly captivated. There's a demo available on Steam alongside the full retail version, so I gave that a try, and it hadn't changed that much since the beta. It still doesn't really grab me, despite my previously professed love of music games. It's hugely impressive, the way it transforms a piece of music into a "racetrack", a Mahler symphony looks absolutely stunning, but then the colour matching gameplay doesn't quite work for me. When working with multiple colours, I can't really see the correlation between block colour and the "intensity" of the music, so I'm more keeping track of placement and colours than listening to the music. Even in mono mode, the block placement is too random; just occasionally everything really clicks, the track and blocks totally match up in an inspired way, but most of the time the music is a soundtrack than an integral part of the game (even though it created the track). Expecting otherwise would be a bit much; while obviously a somewhat different prospect, it takes a while to produce a decent Guitar Hero/Rock Band/Dance Dance Revolution chart for a single song, and Audiosurf produces a track from anything you throw at it (and I've tried a fair bit) within seconds, but for me it's just missing a final push that would turn it from a neat little diversion into a really addictive game. After saying all that, I still bought it; it's only $10, and innovation like this should be encouraged even if it's not quite the best game ever. Also, it includes the Orange Box soundtrack, and have I mentioned Still Alive being the greatest ever song ever in the history of time ever yet?


Anonymous said...

Aww...I really like Audiosurf. Mind you, I've not got a Guitar Hero capable console for comparison, so it could just be that.

Zoso said...

It's fun and all, I just can't quite see/feel the music in the track layouts and block placement which stops it being a "holistic experience", to be unbearably pretentious about it. Maybe I'm not using the right songs, to the next 40 gigs of the MP3 collection!