Just when Red Octane and Harmonix’s continued releases of the single band scoped Guitar Hero and Rock Band games were getting too frustrating to tolerate, Rock Band 3 manages to re-instill the infatuation with musical gaming that many of the franchise’s fans obtained within minutes of spending all of their Christmas money on instruments and plugging in Rock Band’s disc to their Xbox’s for the first time back in 2007. It is not another $60 dollar music disc, but is a new addition that brings many new features and opportunities for players to explore, practice, and master. The largest two of said new attributions that Rock Band 3 offers is the “ Pro Mode” and the new instrument, the keyboard.
The game keeps to the tradition of the first and second installments by offering an expansive amount of musical genres for each musician to invest their interest in. From heavy metal to classic rock, to soft alt; no player will find a shortage of their favorite type of tunes.
Harmonix also added the capability to import a vast number of old downloadable content that players may have bought in Rock Band 1 and 2. There is a few drawbacks to this feature. The biggest of which is that not all of the songs can be imported, only those that were uploaded to the marketplace after they started development on the new game (though that amount could surprise the average player). The other, is that there is no keyboard parts to these songs. Harmonix did attempt to repeal this issue by allowing keyboarding players to play the guitar parts, however it is still somewhat upsetting.
The pro-mode was created as a way for players to ween their previous Rock Band talents into the actual ability to play the instrument of their choice. They do this by either adding onto old instruments (drums), inventing new instruments (guitar/bass), or modifying the play-style of standard instruments (microphone and keyboard). They allow players to learn the notes and placement of individual keys in the new “Lean a song” practice mode. It allows you to slowly take on the difficult parts of a song piece by piece, difficulty by difficulty, and at each players preferred pace. With numerous amounts of tutorials for each instrument, it slowly walks players through the necessary steps to learn the instruments of their preferment.
Aside from the addition of pro-mode, various gameplay tweaks were made to the feel of the game. Taking some cues from the “Beatles” and “Green Day” versions of the game, Rock Band 3 gives players the ability to change game modes during play, the ability to rewind after releasing the pause button, changing how players sign in for play, new options for character creation, and finally the new method of searching for music. All of these somewhat small details enhance the gameplay of the previous titles multiple times over. It also held onto the ability for multiple singers to participate in each song. Allowing for harmonizing vocals.
The cost of buying instruments is many-a-time too much for many buyers. If someone has the old guitars/drum sets, then the simple addition of the keyboard, symbols, additional microphones, new guitar, as well as the new game itself, all can ring in at over $250. So the question on whether its worth its money is much more crucial and heavy than on most other games. The answer lies in whether or not the player is actually interested in musical gaming. This is something that a customer needs to severely consider before purchase.
The game has received a few small tweaks to the tour mode to make it more enjoyable for the masses. Such tweaks are fairly miniscule in comparison to the other additions to the series, but it still provides for addictive gameplay and the fun cooperative feel that the previous games had. Something about gathering a few buddies and taking the band on the road is irresistibly entertaining and is surely something to keep players busy for an extended period of time. The game does the same with its versus and online multiplayer modes, instilling the same sense of playability as the old games.
Last but not least is the new instrument, the keyboard. Although learning something new is somewhat irritating at the start for many players, it is also very, very addictive. The keyboard is a simple, yet affective addition for players to partake in due to its enhancement of every song that it is in. As well as the variety of different noises that the keyboard can contribute. As mentioned earlier, players may also play the parts of the guitar/bass on songs that may be more fun for those instruments opposed to the keyboard or songs that do not offer a keyboard part.
In conclusion, Rock Band 3 does in fact offer a variety of new abilities for players. It successfully upholds the reputation of the music-centric franchise as well as having a few wild-cards up its sleeve. It upholds the reputation of the franchise with style and elegance in a manor that only the game’s own developers could create. Its additions are entertaining and addictive, as well as time consuming, and the replay value of the game is greatly increased because of the aforementioned factors, as well as the simple gameplay tweaks that were introduced. Are you a musical gamer? Then this game is for you.