Ok, once the wife and I got back from the States last night, we played the game for a few hours until about 12:30 am. My first impression wasn't great, unfortunately: Couldn't get the GH3 guitar to work! Played around a bit, but for some reason the game would always prompt for the mic to be plugged in when I tried to work the guitar. About a half hour later, I come to AVS. Ah ha, the GH3 guitars don't work with Rock Band!! I go back into the living room, and tell my wife that there's supposed to be a patch to fix it soon...
...and the company's are aware of the problem. (Turns out the company is aware of the problem....they just don't care.)
But we move on!
Impressive opening graphics. Like the commercial, the band playing on the top of the car and bus. I watch it for a while, until the wife says, Do we really have to watch this sh!t?
(She was eager to play!) All the instruments set up and plugged in quickly. Most importantly, everything paired instantly. Very simple stuff. Full marks, there. We go into quick play....I start with the drums, my mother-in-law picks up the guitar. Both of us miss the first 20 notes! Then I remember the calibration! Took about 5 minutes....pretty straight-forward....and it's a lot better than the calibration tool in GH3.
Back to the song. With the calibration all set, we both get through In Bloom the first time through. I get 90%, my mother-in-law (who has never even played GH before) gets a 60 something! Not bad! The drums are AWESOME. Love love love playing them. They're a bit loud when you hit them, but you really don't have to hit them that hard to register the notes. Once we cranked the music volume up, it wasn't a problem. Oh, before I forget, make sure you go into the audio settings when you first start. The game defaults to stereo, for some reason. You have to click on the 5.1...I thought it sounds a little narrow, the first hour, or so, cuz we were playing in stereo. (I didn't think to look at my sound system with everything else going on.)
The guitar is also very good, I find. Unlike Tigerriot, I really like the strum bar. It's quiet and very precise for my playing. The guitar does feel somewhat less sturdy than the GH3 guitar, but Strats generally do feel a little slinkier than SGs to begin with. In anyway, I like the Strat just fine. Changing the tone/effect is also a nice touch. I'm going to have a lot of fun with it when I get to the Medium level difficulties.
Back to the drums for a second. Where I disagreed with Tigerriot about the guitar, I have to agree with him about the kick drum. My wife was having a very hard time with it. She really had fun with the sticks, but for whatever reason the kick just isn't fun for her. It would have been nice to have had the option to disable it for easy and medium, for if my wife is any indication, it might prevent newcomers from being to able to jump right into the game. She also said it was too hard to push down all the time, and that her leg got tired pretty early on into it. Maybe we just need more exercise! Otherwise, though, the drums have a great feel to them....at least for me...and I'm probably going to play them a lot more than the guitar.
The mic, we both played around with a little. My wife got at least 97%s for all the quick play songs....and I got my first 100% in a game like this. (Singing Wave of Mutilation.) The karaoke part of the game will probably just be for when company comes over. It's fun, but it doesn't feel as immersive as the other parts. At least a fourth person will have something to do.
So far, I'd give the game at least a 9.5/10. My only real complaint is that the band graphics while you're playing are fuzzy. I know it's an art style, but I would have preferred more sharpness there. It just looks outdated. Like you're playing on the Game Cube or something. The fretboards, fortunately, are excellent. I prefer them over GH3....rectangle notes over circles. Seems cleaner.
Sadly, because of the GH3 problem my feeling for the game game-play-wise is somewhat dampened. The only reason why I bought GH3 was so that I'd have an extra guitar for bass when I bought Rock Band! The best laid plans
...Oh, well. I'm sure, despite the general disinterest from Harmonix, that there'll be a patch to fix it soon. All those game returns will prompt it within the week, I'm betting. The problem is that it registers the GH3 guitar as a regular controller, and so it prompts you to plug the mic in. All it needs is something to register it as a extra guitar, and not a sixaxis. Oh yeah, that's another thing....to work the mic, you need to turn on a sixaxis. It took a little playing around to figure that one out. I thought it would just work by plugging it in. Then I realized you would need something to work the menus with. Duh.
Long post. I tend to do that sometimes. Just move along everyone!