Developer: Harmonix Music Systems, Inc
Publisher: Electronic Arts EA / MTV Games
Rating Guide: How I Review Games
Are you ready to melt faces again? Harmonix is back with another helping of rock with Rock Band 3. Is it worth the upgrade from Rock Band 2?
Gameplay, Graphics and Sound
If you’re willing to go the extra mile for Rock Band 3, you’ll find one of the most engaging experiences in a music game to date. The bad part is that if you do go that extra mile, your pockets might not recover. All of the pro instruments, drum kits and other things you could potentially buy for Rock Band 3 aren’t cheap.
However, if you’re like me and you don’t have a bucket of money stashed underneath the couch, then you can still enjoy most of what Rock Band 3 has to offer. That’s the thing with these music games. Yes, you can use your old plastic guitars and still play be they old Rock Band or Guitar Hero instruments. But they always offer just that one thing so that it makes more sense to go out and get the new plastic. I didn’t waiver much though as I used my Rock Band 2 guitars and drums along with simply buying the keyboard. I had to try it!
I thought the addition of the keyboard was great and it works really well. I’m no piano expert but I thought it was pretty damn cool. You can actually play songs note by note if you do the Pro Mode setting. If you’re dedicated, you can learn to play the piano for real albeit a shorter version of it. Adding the keyboard gave Harmonix the ability to add songs that you might not have ordinarily seen in Rock Band. And no, your previous library of tunes aren’t being converted to work with the keyboard. You’ll get a good dose to play in Rock Band 3 though because 63 songs of the 83 in Rock Band 3 work with the keyboard.
The choice is literally yours when you play this game. If you’re using old instruments and not investing in the pro instruments, then you’ll find another good experience. The game has great music to rock out to and you still get to enjoy the improvements in style and presentation. It’s a great compilation of music as always. There are 83 songs to enjoy and quite a few new ways to enjoy them. You can also import your old library of songs and rock them with Pro Mode etc.
Some cool new features included this year were Party Shuffle, persistent drop-in/drop-out letting players take turns without interrupting the flow of play, and the ability to change difficulty mid-song. Another tweak in this year’s game is how they do the “tour” experience. You really get right in to the musical mix by playing setlists and such from the start. You don’t have that same engaging band campaign as before. You do a series of challenges instead. Completing challenges as a band or doing instrument challenges gives you points to level up. When you do this, you unlock new venues, outfits etc. For a game to be called Rock “Band”, I think I had more fun solo.
Not much has changed though moreso than what existed before has been vastly improved. It just feels so much more crisp in presentation and control. The Pro Mode addition really takes the game to another level for those of you interested in learning it. It’ll cost you but I think it’s worth it. I was in a local store and I got to experience it first hand. I sucked but it brought a new wave of rock to the game. The bad thing about it is that most people won’t invest the money to enjoy that particular addition.
Xbox LIVE Extras
Rock Band 3 returns with the same online enjoyment as Rock Band 2. You can co-op songs with friends online, share setlists to play and battle. The one problem online still remains though and that’s making sure you play songs that other people want to play….as well as people wanting to play the same songs over and over. Not much Harmonix can do about that though.
Rock Band 3 is perhaps the best music game I’ve ever played. I was trying my best to stay out of the music genre this year because I have way too much plastic in my living room. But after seeing more and more of Rock Band 3 I decided to try it out. I’m glad I did because the game is pretty damn good.
Rock Band 3 won’t redefine the genre but it definitely takes it to another level with the Pro settings, the Keytar and other ways you can play.