Rock Band 3 Reviews

OmniSonic X
89,173 (46,210)
OmniSonic X
TA Score for this game: 4,013
Posted on 04 November 10 at 14:39, Edited on 26 April 11 at 16:28
This review has 35 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
When Rock Band 2 was released, it fixed most if not all of what was wrong with its predecessor; band leaders were scrapped, the setlist was expanded, and other subtle changes to gameplay were implemented. The game had a perfect formula, and as you can imagine, it was a huge hit. Harmonix followed up with spin-offs focused on The Beatles and Green Day, and even Lego, each with their own degrees of success, but it has been a while since Rock Band had a true sequel. Well, the time has finally come and Rock Band 3 has come to rock down the house once more. So how good is it? Let's find out.


Every game has to start with a concept. So how do you follow up on Rock Band 2? By adding keyboards, of course! Yes, this game finally got a keyboard peripheral, though it costs an extra $70 to get it with the game. The peripheral is supposedly a functional MIDI keyboard, though I don't plan on testing that. But that's not the only addition.

Those familiar with Harmonix should know that its founders believe everyone should experience the joy of playing a musical instrument, even if they're tone deaf and have never played one before. This is the philosophy that created Pro Mode, the most noticeable addition to Rock Band 3. Yes, there are keyboards, but they only have parts in two-thirds of the setlist while Pro is featured in every song. (That two-thirds is still awesome, though.) Pro Mode is determined to change the way people play music games; you play each instrument more like how it should be played, not a cheap, dumbed-down version of it. Pro Guitar actually requires different strings and more frets, Pro Drums uses cymbals as well as the standard input, and Pro Keys uses the whole keyboard (25 keys instead of 5.) There are no Pro Vocals, but Vocal Harmonies from The Beatles: Rock Band are included. Each Pro instrument comes with handy tutorials that teach the techniques necessary for the instrument. You don't have to do Pro on Expert difficulty, either; Pro can be done anywhere from Easy to Expert to get you used to the interface. There are two problems with Pro Mode, however...

One - Sometimes the screen interface gets confusing when using a Pro instrument. The exception is drums, where cymbal hits are the same color as the toms on the kit, but shaped round and blacked out in the center. A clear as day difference, so once you're used to it you'll be hitting those cymbals in no time. But Pro Guitar and Pro Keys sometimes have too much going on at once for their own good. Anyone who's new to Pro Mode will be looking at their hands to make sure they are in the right position, but you can't do that and look at the screen at the same time. I guess you're not supposed to do Pro Mode right off the bat, though; the training mode includes "Learn a Song" as one of its options. As a musician myself, I assure you looking at your hands for months of practice WILL be necessary if you're new to the instrument, and probably even if you're not.
Two - Pro Mode requires a different peripheral for each instrument, and some of them get REALLY expensive. Most Pro Guitars are in the neighborhood of $100, and the ones that actually function like a real guitar are probably triple that. A full Pro Drum kit will cost $130, and just three cymbals costs $40. You can just buy two cymbals for a Rock Band 2 kit for $20 and do Pro Mode like that; the game allows you to enable and disable certain cymbals in the song. Pro Keyboards don't require a different peripheral, which is why I recommend getting them with the game. If you do buy it separate, it's about $80. The worst part is, seeing how you're on an achievement site, there are achievements for Pro instruments that are necessary to complete the game. And there is at least one for EVERY Pro instrument. The lesson? Musicians must suffer for their art, and so must their wallet.


Graphically, Rock Band 3 uses the same engine as Rock Band 2, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. There are a few new venues, new character customization options, and one new filter that plays during creepy sections of songs, but the main graphical update is the main menu interface. And holy crap, is it a huge change from Rock Band 2. Each player now has their own individual menu, with options like no-fail, lefty mode, vocal options, turning drum pad navigation off, etc. But the main game is also navigated differently. Quickplay and Career are now under the option "Play Now," and Career is now called "Road Challenges." Road Challenges put you on the road to earn stars on each song you play, but you can also earn bonuses through spades. To earn spades, you must follow instructions given before each setlist, like activate Overdrive as much as possible, or play accurately when your character is in the spotlight and hand off to the next player. Spades will turn into stars at the end of each gig. They're a little annoying to get, but you don't need them all to get the best grade at the end of the challenge, so do what you will with them.

The new menu interface will throw off a lot of experienced Rock Band players, but like everything else, you get used to it. Calibration works pretty much the same as in Rock Band 2, and no-fail and lefty mode are individually selected at any time. It's an interesting change, but it's necessary to the changes in gameplay that we see.


Pro Mode was already covered, so I don't have to mention it again. Like I said, the new interface will screw around with you, but why is there a new interface? Well, certain modes have been added and some others have been thrown away. Character creation and customization is now selectable under the main menu, instead of the pain of going into Career mode and having a thousand sub-menus. Training is still on the main menu, and includes drum freestyle, Pro training and regular practice. One addition you'll notice quickly is the inclusion of goals. These function similar to achievements but instead of gamerscore, you will add fans for each completed goal. Some goals even coincide with the achievements that give gamerscore, and you can track your progress on these goals. You can view them under the "Career" option in the main menu, which is deceiving; the Career option has no explicit gameplay option, just goals and leaderboards. You can, however, decide to play a goal, which will give you a setlist that earns the goal. This is handy for getting achievements like The Endless Setlist III, or Dave Grohl Band.

So what has been taken out? Only one thing: Competitive gameplay. Yes, there are no Score Duels or Tugs of War to be found. Not local, not online, not anywhere. Harmonix has stated that they wanted the game to be cooperative and not competitive, but I don't see why Score Duels were such a big deal that they had to be taken out. All hopeful keyboarders wanting to face off against their friend in an Expert Score Duel with Cold as Ice can kiss those dreams goodbye. Which actually brings me to the next concern of this review...


Rock Band 3 sounds just as good as Rock Band 2, and here's a good place to mention a subtle menu change. In Rock Band 2, all selections on the main menu were accompanied by a stock sound effect of the entire band doing something. This was a little interesting, but not worth noticing. In Rock Band 3, the sound effect will change according to the instrument that made it; a selection made by the guitar plays a little guitar sound effect, drums get a few hits with each navigation, and keyboards make their presence known as well. But hey, you don't care about that. You care about the setlist, right? Well, let me tell you this: Be cautious. Many of the songs included on the setlist are very strange and are done by artists most people would not openly admit listening to. There are classics added into the mix, including Sister Christian, Cold As Ice, Bohemian Rhapsody, Imagine (pianists, stop touching yourself,) as well as hardcore metal songs like Beast and the Harlot, Caught in a Mosh, and Before I Forget, but the majority of the setlist is devoted to songs like "Last Dance" by the Raveonettes and "The Look" by who-knows-and-who-cares. Don't get me wrong, these are good songs and there will be something for everybody, but the setlist as a whole seems a little bit shaky. If you're worried that the songs seem easier than those in Rock Band 2, don't worry. Llama by Phish and Roundabout by Yes will kick your ass if you're not careful. The difficulty curve for keyboards, however, seems a bit harsh towards the more difficult songs like Antibodies and Roundabout. It's not because I suck; the chords in the second half of Antibodies and the runs EVERYWHERE in Roundabout are downright cruel, even more so than the guitar solo in Rainbow in the Dark. Songs from each Rock Band installment are exportable, so if you've been playing this series for a while, your setlist can only get bigger.

Final Score 5 stars, 9/10
There are 6 comments relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.
Potato Handle
135,649 (66,807)
Potato Handle
TA Score for this game: 3,147
Posted on 20 December 10 at 06:02, Edited on 07 January 11 at 12:17
This review has 15 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
Review/FAQ of the Mustang Pro Guitar Controller, and pro mode implementation.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments section, and I'll answer them as best I can.

A quick bit of background on my musical history, for some perspective; I've been playing guitar for a bit over 2 years, and I've been playing drums for about 13-15 years. I only ever learned basic open chords and power chords before picking up RB3. This review assumes some basic guitar and Rock Band knowledge, however feel free to ask for clarification of any terms in the comments section. I promise I won't bite, hehe.

What is the instrument trainer like? How does it progress?
The trainer starts you out with single notes and the screen notation, and gets you learning basic chords, (Open chords/power chords) soon after. After that comes tricky arpeggios, and solo sections. Tips on how to play each section correctly are given in text at the start of each section.

What is the song trainer like?
I've actually found it pretty useless, at least compared to practice mode. It's identical in functionality to the instrument trainer but often has missing sections (Compared to practice mode) and no text tips. However it does break solo sections down into multiple digestible parts, so I think this is where it will find most of it's use, otherwise practice mode is generally better, albeit a bit more cumbersome. It's also good to use to quickly assess whether or not you think a song is within your abilities.

Is there a bass trainer?
During the guitar trainer you will occasionally play a section on bass, there are no specific bass lessons though.

How do the difficulties progress?
Easy is just single notes, Medium introduces some 2-string chords, usually power chords. Hard will include all but the most tricky chords but with some gaps to make changes, and expert is as you'd expect.

Can you use a pick/plectrum? Is one supplied with the guitar?
Absolutely, you can use one, and the guitar is supplied with two (If you look hard enough, thanks zigs00! laugh). I recommend playing with one, as it's easy to bump and trigger other strings by accident playing fingerstyle, and I personally find it a bit more enjoyable with a pick anyways. Although without the game sound, it sounds like you're playing a glorified washboard, it's totally up to you though.

Do you need to mute strings on pro guitar?
Nope, there is no checks for if you have strings muted, generally if a chord has three or more strings in it, you can bash them all and not lose your combo. Stuff like harmonics (x7x9xx) can be a pain because you can't bash all the strings on those like you would on a real electric guitar, but apart from that, it's pretty lenient.

How do they chart _____ on pro guitar?
Dead notes, chops, mutes, clicks, slides beginning from anywhere, and various other difficult-to-chart bits of guitar wankery are generally charted as mutes, simply requiring you to strum the relevant string(s) with no regard to your fretting hand. Slides are charted, but they will not break your combo if you just jump from one fret to the other, Bends are just typically omitted entirely.

Can you play notes on different strings than what are charted?
Nope, if for example the game says 5th fret on the A string, you cannot play an open D string, or the game will not register it, even though they are the same note.

How do Hammer-ons Pull-offs work on pro guitar?
Probably closer to their plastic instrument counterpart than the real thing. You simply have to press the right fret at the right time, no checks for flicks for pull-offs or velocity for hammer-ons. HOPOs are notated by a regular note with a while trail behind it.

How does the scoring system and overdrive work?
Notes are at 60 points a pop instead of the usual 25. This allows for some simply massive scores for songs covered in barre chords on guitar. Overdrive is activated by tilting as always, which can be extremely awkward, even if you were good at it on the plastic guitar, depending on what your strumming hand is up to, it takes some getting used to. The tilt sensor at least on mine is pretty picky, and you have to get the guitar damn-near vertical before it'll go sometimes. Solo bonuses have been rejigged a bit too, a 40% solo will be an "Okay" solo, and all the other cut-offs are much more lenient.

How does the pro guitar feel to play compared to the real thing?
The first thing I noticed when I sat down was that the guitar weighed almost nothing, which took some getting used to, normally, playing sitting down I unconsciously rely on the guitar's weight to stop it from moving anywhere. That didn't take long to get used to though. The guitar isn't quite full-sized, probably 90% or so, I barely even noticed the difference though.

The "strings" don't have the feedback of a regular guitar, that is they don't vary in size, and obviously if you're holding a chord wrong you can't feel or see what note is buzzing/muted etc.

Apart from that, however it's all pretty intuitive. If you play something a certain way on the real guitar, there's a good chance that playing it the same way will work on the pro guitar. Aside from single notes and two-note chords being a bit too picky, the transition phase between one to the other is very easy.

Given the huge technical complexity of pioneering the implementation of something like a midi guitar into a rhythm game, the Mustang and it's implementation is phenomenal. The only real issues I have with it are the song trainers, and the finickiness of a select few chords. I wouldn't recommend learning guitar just from playing Rock Band on a Mustang, because of the unavoidable differences, but learning the guitar alongside playing RB3 will certainly make your experiences much more fun, and will speed up the learning process a bit too. If you have the money, I highly recommend the Mustang!

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments section, and I'll answer as soon as I can!
There are 5 comments relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.
259,688 (123,496)
TA Score for this game: 3,147
Posted on 14 February 11 at 02:09
This review has 9 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Rock Band 3 is Haromonix's latest installment of the leading music game series. And dont worry, it's not just a re-skin of the previous Rock Band games.

*NOTE* This review is based on a guitarist's point of view. I do not have a drum controller, keys, or any of the pro controllers(yet)

Gameplay: 10/10
The gameplay for Rock Band is great. The time window is much smaller than that of Guitar Hero, but not to the point where its super frustrating.

The gameplay for guitar/bass is much smoother compared to previous Rock Band titles. The notes are a little more rounded than RB2 and the time window seems just a little more open.

The vocals system is much improved from RB2. It feels much smoother since the pitch indicator stays pointing in one direction instead of pointing up or down to signify how you need to adjust your pitch. Although, for some reason the vocal system in Green Day Rock Band seemed smoother. I dont know if it's just by the fact that I love Green Day, or if they actually changed it.

Visuals: 9/10
The ONE thing that keeps the visuals from getting 10/10 is that when you play Bohemian Rhapsody, during the slow intro, the band members dance around. This completely ruins the mood of the song.

Besides the Bohemian Rhapsody thing, the visuals are very nice.
The graphics have gone through a huge overhaul, but they still keep the Rock Band feel to them.

As I mentioned before, the notes on guitar are more rounded.

If you played bass in the previous Rock Bands then you would know that when you reach a 5x multiplier, the track goes blue. Well, on guitar it does the same thing when you get to 4x.

The menu system has also gone through a huge overhaul. When touring through the menus at the bottom of the screen you will see your gamertag above the icon for the instrument you are playing. You now choose all your settings before you even start choosing songs.

Also when you are touring through the menus you will see your band members walking around through different scenes. This is really unnecessary but is pretty cool.

The career mode has changed completely as well. Instead of touring around and going through different cities like in RB2 you will have different objectives you need to complete. I think this is quite a bit of a step back from the world tour mode in RB2. But it isnt as time consuming.

Setlist: 7/10
I tryed my very best to enjoy the setlist of this game. And there are some good songs in the game, dont get me wrong. But, the amount of variety is not very large. The setlist is heavily focused on Classic Rock and Pop Rock. There are a few metal and punk songs in there, but they are completely dominated by the classic and pop rock. This is a huge shame because I was really looking forward to playing more metal songs on pro guitar.

Here is a link to the entire setlist:Rock Band 3 - Entire Setlist Confirmed

Achievements: 6/10
The achievement list for RB3 really is not a very good one. It requires you to buy each and every one of their new controllers. Dont expect to get full 1250 in this game if you dont have a heavy wallet. You will also need to be pretty good at real guitar in order to complete the "More Chord Holding and Arpeggiation" achievement. Also, notice how I said full 1250? Thats right, there are DLC achievements. There are achievements for some of the most popular downloaded songs. But be warned! The achievement for The Perfect Drug must be done on drums. Dont make the same mistake as me and spend money for no reason.

Multiplayer: 9/10
Rock Band's multiplayer is one of the best for parties. Once you break out the Rock band controllers everyone wants a turn. In multiplayer, you play as a standard band and try to accumulate the highest score you can.

Online is the same. However, one thing I did not like about the online is that the host can choose to skip songs. This got really annoying because I would always choose the metal songs and for some reason they ALWAYS got skipped. When choosing songs, each player can choose any number of songs. I have come across many situations where a person would just pick as many songs as they could for no reason. I think the online system is a bit broken. I enjoyed RB2's online system better. And of course, there is still the never ending fight about who gets to play guitar when you play online. I have been in many situations where the other guitarist just wanted to play guitar the whole time. When I asked him if I could play guitar, he just said no. And when both of us chose guitar and it randomized to me, he quit.

Gameplay: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10
Setlist: 7/10
Achievements: 6/10
Online: 9/10
Overall: 41/50

In my honest opinion, Rock Band 3 should have won every game of the year award for 2010. It is simply the most innovative game out there, and there is no denying that it is a major step up in the gaming industry. If you are a fan of music games, this should be a definite buy. If you dont play music games, this is a good place to start.
Please log in to comment on this solution.
A Defiant Sith
248,658 (148,797)
A Defiant Sith
TA Score for this game: 625
Posted on 06 August 11 at 12:05
This review has 5 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
"Rock Band 3: The undisputed king of the band genre."
If you've read my Rock Band 2 review, you know I'm not the biggest fan of Guitar Hero. And I backed the winning horse, it seems, with future Guitar Hero games being cancelled, Rock Band really is the king.

Graphics - 7/10
An improvement over Rock Band 2 in every way. It still won't win any contests, and the later Guitar Hero games still looked better. But Rock Band is a game that relies on the gameplay to win you over. My only real gripe is that for a game about rocking out, including it's fair share of metal, the hair still looks laughably clunky. A minor point really.

Gameplay - 10/10
You know the drill. Play the plastic instrument and hit the coloured notes in time, or sing at the correct pitch. There are some additions this time around, being the Keys and Pro. Keys are keyboards, something which has been asked about for years. Don't worry if you don't have the keyboard controller, as after completing a number of in-game challenges, you can use the guitar controller to play the Keys (although Keys-related achievements will only unlock after you use the correct controller). Pro difficulty addresses a common complaint my many notable musicians, in that it doesn't really teach you how to play the instruments. Well, now you can!

My only complaint is that Keys and Pro are not available for songs released prior to Rock Band 3, apart from very few notable exceptions.

Game modes have changed slightly. You now take part in 'Road Challenges' instead of a World Tour. You go to each venue, and have a choice of setlists to play. The setlists are really cool in that they have criteria to them. There is a pre-made set, but then your choices may be something like 'Random Rock Band 2 Setlist', 'Custom Long Song Setlist', or if you have a lot of songs from a certain band, I commonly get 'Random Judas Priest Setlist'. It gives you some control over what songs you play, and it still adds some fun in the random nature of it all.

Another point I should add, all songs are unlocked from the start, you don't have to unlock any songs!

Sound - 10/10
The game has over 80 songs on disc. You can import songs from Rock Band 1 and 2, and over 3000 downloadable songs. If you don't find a song you love, go play DJ Hero, its the only genre not really touched upon. Personally, I have nearly 300 songs in my 'library'.

The on-disc songs feel a little strained at times. There are some songs that were only really added to show off the new Keys, others are classic 'guitar beginner' songs, such as 'Smoke on the Water'. Other feel like they were only chosen because all the other, more well known/better songs by that band are already available to download.

Longevity - 10/10
Harmonix are smart, they aren't pumping out games every year. They are supporting their game through DLC. You only buy the songs you want to play, instead of buying a new game with some songs you like. This means you can buy this game now, and be safe in the knowledge it will be a few years before a sequel, rather than one year. There are enough songs, and enough enjoyment from the game modes to last you a long time.

Overall - 10/10
Much like my score for Rock Band 2, this is the best game of this genre. Over 3000 songs, gameplay that isn't full of gimmicks and works. This is a really solid game, if you enjoyed any previous Rock Band game, buy this, if you are a Guitar Hero fan, rent this, find out why this is still being supported and Guitar Hero isn't.
There is 1 comment relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.
178,787 (118,323)
TA Score for this game: 1,153
Posted on 19 October 12 at 19:56, Edited on 19 October 12 at 20:03
This review has 5 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Rock Band is probably one of the most popular rhythm and music games around. As what seemed like a clone of Guitar Hero at first. It eventually turned out that Guitar Hero was a clone of Rock Band. Guitar Hero was originally based on Guitars but after Rock Band came out with drums, microphone etc. the developers decided to copy them so that they can compete. Obviously it didn't go to well for them and then they went bust. (RIP).

External image

This Rock Band is the biggest one yet with even more instruments to play with. This time you get to play with Guitar, Bass, Drums, Microphone, Keyboard, Pro Drums, Pro Guitar and Pro Bass. All instruments are fun but a little bit pricey and the new instruments are limited so you can't play every song in the playlist. The Pro instruments like Drums, Guitar, Bass and Keyboard are great additions but the Guitar and Bass feel a little clunky with the string button things.The Keyboard however works like a charm and is surprisingly fun to use. The new instruments take time to get used to but you will get their eventually. Be patient.

The microphone has been improved and allows you to sing with 3 people. Which is great when it comes to singing to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. With this feature you can actually play with 6 people at once which is great news for you party crashers out there.

External image

This review will be music to your ears (and eyes).

The graphics is the least important thing about the game. As long as you can see the notes then you will be fine but I have to say I am impressed with the visuals. The character models are great with really stylish animations. The camera filters are exciting and really brings the party experience to life. Just hope you don't have epilepsy though. No offense.
The visuals are stylish and colourful and the game runs pretty smoothly as well. Occasional frame rate problems here and there though.

I give the graphics score an 8/10.

If this game had terrible audio quality then this game would be a disaster. Don't worry though because Rock Band 3 is the complete opposite of that. In fact the game sounds like a perfect melody to me. The music sounds great and so are the sound effects. The crowd noise is left to minimum volume so I guess that's good If you want to just hear the music. Bare in mind that you can customize the volume of the 3 aspects till you see fit so it's all good.

I give the sound score a 10/10:


This is the best of its kind. The game has a large set list and a large roster of instruments to play with. Playing with friends is just a joy and the game is a pick up and play which means that even the noobs can play along and not spoil the fun. Playing with the instruments is just fun full stop. There are 4 Difficulty's ranging from Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. I play on Expert with all instruments simply because I'm the most awesome guy alive. No joke. The songs are also categorized into difficulty's themselves which is a pretty nice feature. Not that I would need it.

External image

Wooooo party!

There is also a ton of content. There are different modes, Cut scenes and customizations for you characters. Harmonix really do spoil us. And that's not it. There are literally thousands of downloadable songs. I think there are over 3000 songs and maybe coming up to 4000. Because of this the replay value never ends since that there are new songs pretty much every week. Enjoy. Speaking of songs. The set list is great with many songs from every genre. Even John Lennon is on there.

I give the the gameplay score 10/10.

Is it your cup of tea?
If your a music lover then of course it is.
If you love Guitar Hero then this is also right up your ally.
If your a party player then hell yeah.
If your a shooter fan then this might be interesting to you. Something new to try perhaps.

-A fantastic party game.
-Tons of content.
-Nearly all songs are enjoyable.

-Pricey instruments.
-Trying to buy every song.
-Ruined Guitar Hero.

Overall this is a fantastic game for everyone to enjoy. Overall I give this game a whopping 10/10. Lets see if RockSmith can compete. For starters it needs a better name than "RockSmith" like how cheesy is that.
There are 2 comments relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.
93,198 (63,560)
TA Score for this game: 2,024
Posted on 19 February 11 at 07:46
This review has 4 positive votes and 8 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
With Guitar Hero now out of the picture, the music genre basically lives or dies on the Rock Band franchise. While Rock Band 3 certainly makes some big changes to the formula, not all of them are for the better.

The two biggest changes in Rock Band 3 are the addition of the keyboard/vocal harmonies and Pro Mode. First, the new instruments. Vocal harmonies have actually been available since The Beatles: Rock Band but this is the first numbered sequel that has featured this capability. Along with the new Keyboard attachment and some fancy programming from Harmonix, 7 people can now play Rock Band at once (1 on each instrument + 3 singers). the second major change, Pro Mode, allows you to play each instrument the way they are intended to be played. With one of the Pro Mode-enabled guitars, you can now allow the game to teach you how to play real chords on guitar or bass. With the drum cymbal attachments (created for Rock Band 2), you can play full drum lines with 3 cymbals. Finally, pro mode with the new keyboard gives you 2 full octaves of keyboard to play.

Now I know that sounds more like a summary than a review but that's because, in regards to those new features, that's really all I can give. Some people are going to love them and some will hate them. Vocal harmonies are great for singers but if you've been a guitar purist, it won't do a thing for you. The new Keyboard is great if you want to get into pro mode but if you don't, you basically have the guitar without strumming. Pro Mode is great and really works wonders for all the instruments if you have the money to afford them but after paying for the 50 dollar game, 40 dollar guitars, 80-ish dollar drum sets and 20 dollar mics, how many people can afford to buy a 300 dollar guitar, even if it is fully functional as a real guitar? Then, how can people dish out another 80 bucks for a keyboard that they may or may not want to use AND 40 more dollars for 2 more mics? Added up, that's $650 US dollars for everything new, that's almost enough to buy every current gen console new. Still, if you're willing and able to pay that much, you won't be disappointed by those features.

The rest of the game is a bit easier to review for everyone. The main thing you all are probably wondering about is the set list. To be honest, this was the biggest letdown of the game. Sure it's got some great songs but in trying to cater to every instrument, particularly the keyboard this time around, most everyone is left with only a few good songs each. Memorable ones for me were Cold as Ice - Foreigner, The Beast and the Harlot - Avenged Sevenfold, Before I Forget - Slipknot, Centerfold - J. Geils Band, and I Can See for Miles - The Who. Sure everyone's going to like some different songs but the setlist is so eclectic, I have a hard time imagining anyone who's going to like even half of what's offered.

The career mode has now spilled over into everything else so basically, instead of going on a world tour like the last two titles, you can play quickplay, do Road Challenges (which I'll explain in a minute), or do various challenge setlists and all will get you fans as well as cutscenes showing you the supposed growth of your band. Road Challenges are the main career path you'll find here and they basically entail you going on set tours to various cities and playing 2-3 song setlists in each one. The cool thing about this option is that, in each city, before you start playing, it'll give you three options for setlists you can play. Each one gives you the option of playing a pre-made setlist made up of Rock Band 3 songs. If you have imported Rock Band 1, 2, Green Day or DLC songs though, you may also be able to pick a "Custom Classic Rock Setlist" or "Random Green Day Setlist" or any other number of categories. This keeps things interesting throughout the career and allows you to avoid songs you aren't particularly fond of. In the actual songs themselves too, there is one major change, the addition of Spades. When doing Road Challenges, each city will give you a pre-determined goal such as "Use Overdrive as many times as possible" or "When the spotlight is on you, streak for as long as possible". By fulfilling these goals, you will get spades which then turn into stars at the end of the song, giving you the possibility of gaining up to 10 stars per song. If you get enough stars overall throughout any given tour, you will get prizes and achievements. All in all, this system is interesting but it has just as much good as bad. The quickplay effecting your band is quite cool but this will create random cutscenes all the time that are, for some strange reason, unskippable. When you have seen the same scene of your band mates eating pizza 10 times, it starts to get old. Also, the Road Challenges are fun but when playing in a band, the spades system really hurts the camaraderie that helped make Rock Band popular. Particularly, challenges such as the spotlight scenario mentioned above really single out the weakest links in your band. It's quite frustrating knowing you are holding your band back from getting the highest awards and it's frustrating when there is nothing you can do to help when someone else is struggling.

There are other issues as well with the game such as not being nearly as friendly with newbies to the genre. Even on Easy difficulty now, some songs use all five guitar fret buttons regularly, compared to every other music game which will only use the first three on Easy. Also, whoever decided the difficulty of songs had no clue. Personally, I could gold star several 5 star difficulty songs on guitar while I couldn't even pass a 2 star song (Antibodies) all on Expert. It's not a big deal if you remember the outliers but when playing the career mode, these can certainly catch you by surprise.

Ultimately, Rock Band 3 is a mixed package. By this point, most people looking to buy Rock Band 3 have already invested pretty heavily in instruments and DLC songs to fill out their library. If you have these and are just looking for some new achievements or goals to complete while jamming with your friends, Rock Band 3 won't disappoint. If you are serious about Pro Mode and really want to learn how play one of the four instruments available (since nothing Rock Band can do will make you a better singer), Rock Band 3 won't disappoint. However, if you are just starting out and want to jump into the music genre with Rock Band 3, I think you'll be disappointed with the large price point, eclectic set list, unfriendly career mode/Easy difficulty and annoyingly repetitive cutscenes.
There are 3 comments relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.
1,144,997 (514,595)
Posted on 02 November 10 at 14:42
This review has 21 positive votes and 29 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
*Review is from a standpoint of the average gamer with the average budget. That means no keyboard and no pro instruments. If you are looking for facts on those, look elsewhere.*

Rock Band 2 came out in 2008. Can you believe that since then we've seen Guitar Hero Metallica, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, DJ Hero, Guitar Hero Van Halen, AND Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock? What a good time to be a guitar hero huh?

Well, now Rock Band 3 is here, going toe to toe with Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock. Does it still put on a good show, or it is time to get booed off the stage?

Visually, Rock Band 3 doesn't look similar to Rock Band 2, IT IS Rock Band 2, just with a coat of paint. The animations (although still good) are virtually unchanged, and the character creator is still nowhere near as deep as Guitar Hero (though it is noticeably expanded since Rock Band 2). I do like how the cutscenes incorporate your band name, as I LOVE seeing Mc****nuts everywhere.

The filters during the songs are, again, pretty much the same. With the exception of at least one, where the screen goes red and black, kind of like in WET, if you ever played that.

Graphics - 7.5/10

From an audio standpoint, Rock Band 3 is still top tier. All the songs sound great and clear, as to be expected. Again, not that much of an upgrade (if at all) from Rock Band 2, but considering it's about as good as song quality gets, that's not a negative thing.

One complaint though, the crowd doesn't sing along anymore, at least not on the on-disc stuff. Strange design choice.

Audio - 9.5/10

The gameplay itself is where it comes down to (except for the setlist, of course), and it's still very much unchanged, for better or worse. The hammer-ons and pull-offs on the guitar feel WAY too tight (as compared to the 'you could drive a bus through it' timing window of Guitar Hero), but you'll quickly adjust. Drums are pretty much the same as well, as are the vocals, but this time vocal harmonies (as seen in Beatles and Green Day rock band) are implemented.

The straightforward "tour" or "career" mode is GONE. Instead you get several different challenges, which require to 5* certain songs, hit a certain number of hammer ons, or play a bass song with all upstrums. I don't like it as much as the tour mode in Rock Band 2, but it's unquestionably well implemented.

The fact that it incorporates all your downloadable and imported content as well into these challenges (like scoring 85% in Green Grass and High Tides, remember that?) is a noticeable plus.

There is a pseudo-tour mode, where you have to earn "spades" by doing certain tasks on songs, like getting note streaks and activating star pow... I mean OVERDRIVE, but it's all stuff we've seen in Guitar Hero 5.

And speaking of Guitar Hero, Rock Band 3 didn't "copy" or "rip-off" the 'rewind' feature that Warriors of Rock had when you pause the game, it BLATENTLY STOLE IT. Minor thing, but I just had to throw that out there.

And naturally, every song is unlocked from the get go. But that's no surprise to anybody, is it?

Gameplay - 9/10


This may sound quite biased (and believe me, I’m not ashamed to admit it), but the setlist is Rock Band 3 is lacking, in my opinion. Maybe it's because I'm a metalhead, and Warriors of Rock just appeals to me more because of it, or maybe because WAY, WAY too many of the songs have already been seen in Guitar Hero games (particularly World Tour and Smash Hits).

It's far from horrible, but there's way too much (as my friend puts it) "hipster crap" on the disc. There are some standouts of course, like The Doors, Queen, Avenged Sevenfold, Faith No More, Bob Marley and Deep Purple, but then there's also garbage like... well, pretty much everything from the 00's category.

But look here and judge for yourself:

The charting is just fine of each of the songs, and some DO feel better than their Guitar Hero renditions (Du Hast being a good example), but again, these are songs we've seen TOO MANY times before.

Then again, Rock Band has always excelled in the DLC department, and Guitar Hero has been better for on-disc stuff. But in the end it all comes down to personal opinion.

It's all down to who gets the next "big" thing. Green Day? The Beatles? Metallica? PAH. Who's left? What's the band that'll sell TONS and TONS of games?

Who knows. Probably Zeppelin.

Setlist - 7/10


Rock Band 3 does not disappoint. The production values may not be noticeably improved over its predecessor, and the game does seem to be overly reliant and hyped on the new peripherals than anything else, but this band still plays a damn good song, even if we're sick of the genre by now.

But at least it's not as stupid as dance central. That's just asinine.

There are 17 comments relating to this Review | Please log in to comment on this solution.