I’ve played every music game out there; have been a fan of the Rock Band series even when most of the world made fun of me and my plastic instruments. But with the release of Rock Band 3 this week, the last laugh is now surely mine. Not only has Rock Band 3 vastly improved the game play from previous offerings, they have revolutionized the way music is enjoyed, learned, and played.
This year’s biggest feature in Rock Band 3 is the addition of Pro mode and the use of instruments, albeit plastic, that teach you how to actually play the song on the screen. If that isn’t cool enough, which it is, the use of real instruments with the game is also an option. A real life Fender Squier Stratocaster rigged with new technology is in the middle of production and hopefully will release within the next few months, blurring the line completely from playing music and enjoying a video game experience while playing music.
The pro drums are a joy and while not as real to life as the Pro Guitar, they are well over 90% of the way there, and with the purchase of an additional pedal to the new Rock Band 3 Wireless drum set you can have a functional hi-hat pedal, blurring that line between game and real life that much further.
The keyboards that come with the game are alright, much rather use the upcoming MIDI adapter and my real keyboard, I find the miniature keyboard that comes with the game is the weakest of the new instruments.
The actual game itself has been reworked, re-organized, and definitely reenergized to make this the ultimate Rock Band experience that has kept me up for the past two days rocking out to the many and expansive road challenges. The career mode has been so reworked that I feel as if I am playing a new game, the game I always wish I was playing when frustrated in Rock Band 2 after playing Ratt’s, Round and Round, for the one billionth time.
Now you always have three options at the venues, you can play the predefined set list, or create two of your own within the parameters of the challenge. One such parameter was a Nirvana Random set list, which picked three random Nirvana songs from our library of songs for the challenge, instead of making us play the predefined set list. This option is very welcomed and makes sense for Harmonix also, takes full advantage of the very expansive downloadable content library, which can be expensive.
If you are a fan of the Rock Band games this is a no-brainer purchase, if you’ve always hated music based video games, I’ll even bet there is something fun in this game for you also.
I give Rock Band 3 a 4.9 / 5!
Graphics – 4.75
Sounds – 5
Songs – 4.5
Online Play – 5
Replay Value – 5
Controls – 5
Video Game Magic* – 5
*Video Game Magic is the video game’s ability to transport you the player into the game experience – usually the effects this has on the human condition are, severe loss of time management, extreme video game jonesing, and an extended altered state of reality.