Rock Band 3 Review

By Adam Ma on November 15, 2011

To call the first two Rock Band games anything short of a huge success would be a blatant and bold-faced lie. The first game set the stage for the group interaction music genre, while the second made drastic improvements on instruments, graphics, interface, and overall changes to the offline campaign. Both made their mark on the industry and at the same time, they set a heavy standard for music-genre competitor Guitar Hero. So where does that leave Rock Band 3? The other games have already set the standard and improved upon it, so it would seem that at a glance there'd be little room left for expansion. In some ways, that kind of logic is absolutely right. But for the dedicated music lover, particularly anyone who as uttered the sentence 'I'm better at real guitar', Rock Band 3 might just be the best music title on the market right now.

Anyone who has had experience with the prior Rock Band games knows exactly what to do, and exactly how to go about doing it. Character creation starts up quickly as players enter in with whatever instrument they plan on using, and the band/character customization options are as detailed as ever. The best news is that quick play/campaign options are extremely quick to get into and feature almost no loading time. In fact, the most extensive task in Rock Band 3 is creating and customizing a character. Everything is done in a snap.

That being said, the core campaign is still exactly the same as it used to be. Players pick a city, pick a venue, and gather more fans for scoring well and meeting bonus objectives such as stringing together notes flawlessly or using overdrive successively. It's a nice mix-up from the second title, which simply had players score well on the songs to earn more points. Now anyone who does exceptionally well can look forward to appropriate bonuses.

Rock Band 3 Pro Instruments

The experience provided by the game will provide will differ depending on what your intentions with Rock Band 3 are. Anyone looking to just add new songs to the playlist should find themselves satiated, as purchasing the songs individually would certainly add up more than the games normal price tag. It's a very well strung together set list, all things considered, as it features some of the most notable songs in the music industry (that weren't featured on the first two game tracks) in addition to some fantastic lesser-known artists. Certainly great for someone who is looking to simply expand upon their current track list.

Alternatively the real lure of Rock Band 3 would be the pro-guitar mode, which is Harmonix's first attempt to actually teach someone how to use the guitar itself. This is where things become tricky, as while the device certainly looks handy, it's impossible to suggest what the results would be like until a few months down the line. The pro-guitar comes independent from the game, is offered in two different versions and they both have two very different price points. It's a lot to risk on any instrument naturally, and while some may absolutely jump at the chance to learn an instrument from the general comfort of their home, everyone's learning curve is different.

To be able to rate immediately the value of the pro-instrument in a few sessions is, for obvious reasons, impossible to do. One would need to sit down and practice with dedication and try their best to adhere to this new electronic form of teaching.

Rock Band 3 Pro Instruments

Keeping this in mind its possible to take this game from one of two angles. Those looking to simply gain a large influx of new tracks to add to their collection, and those looking to properly gain from the chance at learning a new instrument. As a glorified track-pack Rock Band 3 certainly delivers, adding more songs into the life of a series completely based around social enjoyment of music. Not groundbreaking in any way, but certainly not something to be looked down upon. Taken from the perspective of the pro instruments, this could certainly be a worthwhile endeavour provided one is willing to spend the time (and money) on it. Just like any exercise will yield no results, without repetition and genuine prudence, it would be impossible to learn any instrument without expecting a long-term commitment. Anything less would be a complete waste of money.

Final Thoughts

So does Rock Band 3 take a bold step in the right direction for the music industry? Perhaps, though it will be a very long time before we finally see if the results of the pro-guitar actually pays off. In the short term, everyone should find themselves quite pleased with the general listing of new music (and naturally the music promised through DLC in the future). There aren't many new features aside from the pro instruments, but it's worth a purchase from any dedicated music-lover.

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