X-Box 360 / Playstation 3 / Wii
Rock Band 3
Reviewed by Darkphoenix
Round up the roadies: another Rock Band is here. This latest installment brings tons of new features to the table, blurring the line between playing a game, and actually making music.
If you’re a veteran to the franchise, right off the bat you’ll notice that Harmonix is pushing for a more realistic feel in every aspect of this game. From the completely overhauled character customization, right down to new features like PRO Mode and support for real MIDI keyboards, there’s enough new content here to challenge even the most jaded music gamer. As one that definitely falls into that category, I was surprised to see that difficulty settings have been ramped up. On the flipside, carried over from previous games is the “No-Fail” mode, giving you the opportunity to test the various difficulties without constant restarts and shame. Newcomers to the franchise might feel a little intimidated by the sheer magnitude of stuff to do, though in-depth goals are provided to get you started, along with tutorials and drum lessons to familiarize you with your faux-instrument.
If faux-instruments aren’t to your taste, and you want to rock for real, PRO mode has you covered. Provided you have the extra gear (cymbal attachments for the drums, the PRO guitar or the real Squire Stratocaster), you can play songs note-for-note, and the game will teach you how to do it. I wouldn’t recommend this for the faint of heart, nor for those looking to be the next Hendrix overnight, but it provides a very tangible bridge between gaming, and real-life implementation.
Features are nice, but they do little to save a music game if the music sucks, right? Taste is relative; however I was left a little cold by the set list this time around. Classic rock and metal tunes are standard fare, but the inclusion of pop, country, and even a little R&B were a little jarring. Much of this was necessary to appeal to a wider audience, as well as accommodate the new keyboard peripheral. PS3 and 360 owners can import most of the songs from Rock Band 1 and 2 for an extra fee, as well as purchase any of the hundreds of songs available for download on the Rock Band Network. Unfortunately, Wii owners are out of luck-what you see is what you get.
Overall, Rock Band 3 is a fine-tuned evolution of several iterations of the franchise, though I fear the genre is running out of steam. I miss the arcade-feel of the older games; however I can’t help but appreciate the amount of respect shown to both the music, and the musician. It’s a worthy upgrade from Rock Band 2, and a great starting point for those just jumping in. Whether playing by yourself, online, or with a group of buddies, a good time is sure to be had.
Rating on a scale of 1-10
Overall Gameplay: 8