Kicking out the jams

27th August 2009 – 5.35 pm

It is inevitable that I will be a rock god one day, even if it means slumming it on the drums instead of playing a proper instrument. You will still all end up bowing before me, as my progress at hard difficulty drumming in Guitar Hero: World Tour continues, albeit at a pace that is reduced in proportion to the increasing difficulty. Although I still return to familiar gigs I do so mostly for practice, to retain what I have already learnt and managed to achieve, and not because I am unable or unwilling to move to greater challenges. Indeed, returning to the earlier gigs in the game reveals the progress I have made, patterns and fills falling in to place instead of having my fumbling limbs flail at random pads and plastic. It is quite rewarding to see what I have accomplished from continued practice.

Although I continue to work my way through the gigs they certainly get more difficult, causing me to stumble. In consecutive gigs, the live tracks Kick Out the Jams and Demolition Man are two of the most difficult so far, I am assuming because they are live and not studio recordings. Some parts seem like a bucket of sticks has been turned upside down on to the kit, the apparently random nature of the pattern rather difficult to emulate. I have to admit that I never fully got the hang of either of these two songs on medium difficulty so it is little surprise to find them more challenging on the harder difficulty setting, and I am happy not to strive for perfection on them before moving on.

The next gig is not terribly interesting, though. Whilst Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast is fun enough to play, making it good for a practice session, Monsoon is really quite dull. It's not bad to play, and again I manage to score 100% quite soon, as I do for the more upbeat Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast, but I find the rock ballad style to be uninspiring, promising much but delivering little. The other songs in the gig don't encourage me to return to trudge through Monsoon, so I progress to the next gig, which begins with the far more interesting American Woman, which has some challenging patterns requiring good limb independence for most of the track.

The tricky patterns of kick and ride in American Woman causes me quite a few problems, scoring only 80% on my first attempt. It is time to return to the practice studio to play the song slowly quite a few times, getting the basics of the song in place before attempting it again at full speed. On practice, at one level slower than full speed, I can get around 97% notes hit, and when I decide it is time to play the song at full speed my practice pays off, as I get 90% and continue to improve. The practice mode of Guitar Hero is a nifty feature and really can help with coordination, giving more time to recognise notes and patterns as well as allowing more conscious thought to be given to movements as personal skill level catches up to the ability required from the songs.

I really enjoy playing American Woman because of its challenge and the sense of achievement I feel being able to play it competently, even if it is still a little simplified from the full drum track. I would play the song as part of its gig more if the last track in the gig, Purple Haze (Live), weren't bugged. The audience track crescendoes but doesn't dissipate once the song ends, requiring the game to be restarted for the audience's applause to clear, which is otherwise distracting in other gigs. But at least I can choose to create my own playlist, to which I can add American Woman along with other favourite tracks if I so desire.

However, as the self-created playlist is temporary I find I don't make full use of the feature, preferring to play the gigs instead. It would be useful if there were a way to store a handful of user-created gigs, so that I could play some favourites quickly and easily each time I loaded the game, rather than having to pluck them all from a long list each time. Even so, I continue to have a lot of fun with Guitar Hero drumming, and will practice further to develop my improving drumming skills.

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