By November 27, 2007

Rocked Band

I was super excited when I opened my Rock Band: Special Edition box. The box was huge — weighing in at almost thirty pounds — and jammed to the gills with fun stuff like a drum kit, microphone, and a wired guitar. I put everything together and played a few songs on the guitar before settling down at the drums.

I was stoked at first, but the longer I played Rock Band, the more disappointed I became.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/3840-2/IMG_7329.JPG

The drum kit appears to be well-constructed, at first. There are two sets of retention rings that allow you to adjust the height of the drum kit. There are little plastic calipers that lock the rings into place. Unfortunately they aren’t strong enough and over time my drum kit would collapse down to its default height. When you’re struggling just to keep up on the “medium” difficulty like I do, having the kit drop out from under you is really disconcerting. I considered reinforcing the drums by putting zip ties underneath the retention rings, but that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for other people to adjust the kit.

The biggest problem with my drum set is that my unit’s pads are faulty. Things seem to work well when I strike only the red drum on the left hand side and only when the notes are spaced far apart. If the notes are close together, or if I have to strike the red drum and the adjacent yellow drum (which is often on medium mode), the kit drops about 20% or so of the notes. If the notes are close together AND are red and yellow together, I drop maybe twice that amount. My green pad is just generally flaky, and does not register all of my strikes.

I’ve played lots of other percussion games before, including Taiko Drum Master and Donkey Konga, so I know my rhythm isn’t off. This fellow, who is a FAR better drummer than I am, demonstrates some of the same issues I am experiencing. He notes that there are three drum kit revisions. I probably have the first, weakest, revision.

I have contacted EA games for a replacement drum kit, which should arrive tomorrow via UPS second-day air. Hopefully this will fix my problems, otherwise I’m taking the whole game back to Target for a refund. I have also heard rumors of guitars breaking, either at the strum bar or at the chords.

I wish I had a better initial experience with Rock Band. The game itself is a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed playing it with other people. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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