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Pitch Detection

Our very own GuitarHailz (a top 10 vocalist on the ScoreHero boards) took the time to compile what she feels to be a more accurate ranking of the songs based on difficulty. Check out the table with this link here.
One of the complaints most vocalists had in Rock Band regarding phrases with pitch was how harsh the game judged your singing. Many people singing on Expert were forced to abandon their actual singing abilities in favor of being concerned with keeping up pitch. Many times while singing in RB1, vocalists were forced to become robotic and hum most everything and even that didn't guarantee keeping a combo for skilled players. Because of this, it was a nice surprise to hear that the overall view of RB2 Vocals was to make them easier. This allows you to loosen up a bit in terms of actually starting to sing songs, and overall have much more fun with vocals while improving skill at the same time. As stated on the Vocals Engine page, it feels like playing Rock Band 1 on Hard with working talky parts, and I couldn't be happier to say that. While many of the top vocalists have FC'd every song already, it definitely allows for average vocalists to have much more fun singing without having to drop down to lower difficulties.

As noted on the engine page, there's a bit of leeway in terms of how much of the pie is required to be filled in order to keep combo. After extensive (and in many cases, accidental) testing, general consensus was that any phrase awarding above 990 points (times your multiplier) is a guaranteed "Awesome". This means that you can keep your combo, yet still miss out on a few points when the pie is not quite 100% filled. While this is a bit of a pain when trying to achieve top scores, it's more forgiving to those mainly only interested in going for full combos as a very slight "miss" won't break combo.


imageThe talky engine fixing is met with a bit of mixed opinions. Personally, I love how easy (most of) the talkies are now. I've always felt that talkies were supposed to be a guaranteed hit as long as you said anything, and Rock Band 1 let me down quite a lot with that sentiment by forcing me to have obscenely accurate timing or say things that only vaguely resembled the word I was supposed to say. You shouldn't have to figure out what the engine expects to receive, you should listen to song and emulate the music. Rock Band 2 made them far easier by basically stripping the detection to effectively allow anything to fill it up (though you must make some degree of noise). While it technically isn't perfect, since you're not supposed to be able to just get away with whatever you want, it should be widely accepted as an improvement over RB1. However, this raises an interesting question... how are the songs So "What'cha Want" and "One Way or Another" in the same game engine? The first lets you basically do anything and FC the song; the second has a talky phrase that's as broken as any broken talky in RB1 ("broken" meaning abnormally difficult or impossible to hit). It almost seems like different songs have different degrees of talky phrases, making it difficult to tell how easy a talky song is supposed to be.

So in general talkies are much easier, but unfortunately not consistent across all songs.

Song Difficulty

As usual, tiering in terms of vocals hardly means anything. It gives a vague guide as to which songs are easier and which songs are harder, but honestly, the entire difficulty of a song on vocals comes from unfamiliarity with a song and if it is within your vocal range or not. Since this completely differs from person to person, the only way you can fairly tier vocals songs are with the amount of pitch changes and talkies within a song.

Overall, RB2 Vocals are a great improvement over RB1 Vocals. Between being able to actually sing songs and keep combo and singing along to more awesome songs than RB1 offered, vocalists are bound to have a blast. Even if you're not a vocalist and you're just looking for a quick Flawless Singing achievement, you can always play the all talky songs and get it that way. A fantastic gaming experience made even better in this game.

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