Thursday, June 11, 2009

No more elbow pain

For a while now, using my computer meant a lot of pain in my right elbow. My trackball has a nice pad for my wrist, but it elevates the rest of my arm to the point where my elbow doesn't rest comfortably on my desk.

I got a mouse pad with a gel cushion from the bargain bin at Giant today while we were out on our weekly grocery shopping trip. Staples brand, marked down to $5.50. Works perfectly. Sadly, it's not one of those mouse pads with a female anime character's breasts as the cushion, but those would cost considerably more and I'd have to hunt for a specific character.

Since I've finished sightreading Guitar Hero: Metallica on both Guitar and Bass now, I'll post my impressions.

Soundtrack: Awesome. Almost the entire Ride The Lightning album is in the game, with the exception of Ride The Lightning (it's in Rock Band... :( ), Trapped Under Ice (it's in World Tour though), Escape, and Call of Ktulu (lol I guess that makes it only half of the album in the game). They added the 11 minute long Mercyful Fate, which to date is the only song in any Guitar Hero game that you can score a million points on in solo play. The non-Metallica songs are pretty good too.

Engine: Better than World Tour's. They fixed the slider notes so that they have a back-end timing window now (meaning you can hit them late and have it still count). The HO/PO window, while still no different from GH2's, has a subtle change from World Tour. The windows can now overlap, meaning fast HO/PO parts are easier to play.

Graphics: Better than World Tour's. The new addition is the star meter, which tells you what your current star rating is and gives you an idea of how close you are to the next one. Also, in my opinion one of the best graphical cheats ever: Black Highway. The fretboards in this one aren't all that bad, but you can enable this and not have to worry. Also there's a cheat that changes Metallica around between three different costume sets, their modern ones, their 80's ones, and Zombie costumes. Pretty neat.

Charts: There are some weird parts of some of them. Like in Mercyful Fate where the pitch you're playing goes up but you go down a fret from blue to yellow. The section of For Whom The Bell Tolls called Ring To The Sky is charted as hammerons but if you listen to the music each note is clearly being individually picked. The section right before it consists entirely of two note chords and I'm convinced they could not have charted the transitions any more awkwardly. I've FCed the section, but there's always a chance of dropping a chord or two. Also you don't get to play the closing solo :( One's chart is different. Overall it's more accurate, Fast Solo A is charted properly this time, and the song as a whole is both easier to pass and easier to get 5 stars on. I had to work my ass off to get 5 stars on One in GH3, but in GHM it happened sightread.

Letdown: The PS2 version is a shitty port, and as such DOES NOT INCLUDE THE MUSIC EDITOR OR ANY OF THE NEVERSOFT CUSTOM SONGS. This massively disappointed me because I really wanted to play Desimate on bass.

One note that's important: when you start up career mode, before you get a chance to choose a song, you see a cutscene of Metallica walking up onto a stage. Then out of the blue a fretboard appears and you're playing For Whom The Bell Tolls. It's immediately followed up with The Unforgiven. Then you get to see the career mode setlist menu and choose a song from there. Career mode this time works off of the number of stars you've gotten from star ratings on the songs you've played. It's pretty cool, you can move around between the sets playing whatever you want and when you get enough stars the next set gets unlocked. Except that I 5-starred everything starting at the top and working my way down, and opened up the entire setlist before I was about halfway through (75 stars unlocks everything).

As for the one remaining question, "which song is the hardest?" I'd have to say War Ensemble by Slayer. It's the only one that took me more than two tries to pass on Guitar. I passed it sightread on Bass, and I haven't seen it on drums (it's got Expert Plus) or vocals. I've only been playing on Expert.

Guitar Hero 5 (World Tour was GH4) was demoed at E3 and looks pretty neat. They're adding a party mode where you set up a playlist of songs in the game and start it playing. There's the music for your party. But while this is going on, you can pick up a controller, press a button, and start playing. People can drop in and out as they want to, and you can have multiple people playing the same instrument. In the demo they showed two people playing on drums, with one on guitar and one on bass. Four highways on the screen at once. The Expert Plus option was available, so it looks like drummers will be getting more of a leg workout. They also added a mechanic for saving band members who've failed (basically keep playing and as long as you play well they'll be revived), and STAR POWER IS FINALLY PLAYER SPECIFIC. Some people have been saying "lol they're copying Rock Band", but what it boils down to is that the community was begging for these two things and they listened. There's some other stuff but those are the important things. Here's a youtube video of the presentation if you're interested.

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