Pro Keys Status, March 20, 2011: Roundabout!

Mar 22 2011

After last week, I only had one song left to play on Expert Pro Keys, namely Roundabout; today, I finished it.

I finished Roundabout!

It was one of two songs that I hadn’t successfully played on Expert at all before I started this project; and there’s definitely a reason why it’s the last song in the track listing. When I first gave it a try today, I failed out somewhere around the 20% mark, when I hit some fast arpeggios; I then went into training mode and found that, the last time I’d trained on that piece, I’d successfully completed a grand total of one of the fifteen sections. I did better in training mode this time, but still: there’s a lot of hard stuff in that piece.

Still, I do seem to be getting better: after playing them a few times, I could actually manage the arpeggios in question reliably enough that my health bar increased when I was done with them rather than decreased, and I frequently hit a 4x multiplier at some point in the middle of them. I haven’t gone back and checked, but I’m pretty sure that those arpeggios are noticeably slower than the ones in Antibodies; still, they’re plenty fast, and I also get the feeling that my hand is getting better at maintaining an even rhythm in sections like that, meaning that I’m less scared of fast arpeggios than I used to be.

So I was feeling pretty happy with myself: I made it through the first 40% of the piece, and then a nice easy bit hits, where I can build up overdrive. And then, at around 53% into the piece, I hit another section of arpeggios: these ones were a lot harder than the previous ones, and, adding insult to injury, they hadn’t showed up at all in training mode! I’m not sure why they were omitted from training mode: while it is admittedly the case that you could include almost every measure of this piece in training mode, and at 15 sections, training mode was already long enough, it still seems a bit odd to leave out the hardest section of the entire piece.

I was almost ready to give up when that happened: I’d done well so far, but I was hitting my limit. Still, I figured I’d go through the piece a few times on no fail mode, just to see what it was like. And, with a bit of practice, I could make it to the hard spot with full health and full overdrive quite reliably; unfortunately, even full overdrive wasn’t long enough to make it through the hard section. But, when I turned off no-fail mode and then continued when I failed out, I was tantalizingly close to making it through that section!

And, after giving it a few more tries, it was pretty clear how to proceed. That section in question was difficult, but not evenly so: the early parts were merely super hard (as hard or harder than anything else on the disc!) while the latter parts were almost impossible without quite a bit more detailed study (and I’d have to master them without the help of training mode). So my best strategy was to survive as long as possible without overdrive: if I could make it a third of the way into the section in question before turning on overdrive, I’d have a fighting chance of making it through the whole thing with overdrive. The part after the crazy arpeggios ended was no picnic, either, but it was clearly within my capabilities, and I could use training mode to help me there.

So I went with that; after another couple of playthroughs, I could feel myself getting a bit better, and a few more attempts after that, I made it through the hard section. I was nervous / hyped up enough that I didn’t make it all the way through the piece—like I said, it’s no walk in the park even after that section—but at that point it was clear to me that I could make it through, with the appropriate strategic overdrive usage. (This is the only piece that I have to pick my overdrive spots based on survival rather than points!) And, a lunch break and several more attempts later, I finally succeeded.

At which point I declared victory, rather than trying to refine my score further. I like the piece, and I’m actually really hoping that more Yes appears as DLC, but I’d been playing it over and over again for the last several hours: enough is enough.

So now my tour through the on-disc content is done. I’ve actually slipped a few spots since last time: my score only went up a bit (from 10,620,581 points to 10,654,949 points), but other people have improved more than I have. So I guess 30th place was my high-water mark; I’m happy with that.

I'm at rank 33 with 10,654,959 points

I still plan to spend a little more time with Pro Keys: I haven’t put serious effort into the Billy Joel DLC yet, and apparently we’ll be getting more of his songs next week! There’s probably other keyboard DLC worth playing as well, I’ll give it a spin. But clearly I want to focus on Pro Guitar now: getting done with the Pro Keys on-disc content now is very good timing.

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