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Rockband 3 Review – The Tortoise and the Hare

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by Dev van der Bank

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare, with our shelled friend overcoming all odds to take victory from his furry counterpart. Harmonix seems to be using this metaphor to build on its Rock Band franchise by observing and listening to its consumers, slowly chiseling out its next addition to the music game genre, with the end product being something innovative, revitalizing and a whole heap of that delightful sensation we have come to know as fun.

These factors tick all the promising quality boxes as Rockband 3 has come at a point where many people may already be shying away from the music game genre. Lets see then how exactly Rockband 3 has brought a shimmer of hope back into lounge bands all over the world.

The first thing worth mentioning about Rockband 3 is the inclusion of a new instrument, namely the keyboard, while I did not have a keyboard for this review, it is in my opinion a refreshing addition into the plastic peripheral stock pile even though none of your previous songs will have keyboard support. Rockband 3 still makes use of the microphone, guitar and drums that are compatible with any third party instruments you may already own, if you do however not own the new Rockband peripherals you will not be able to play the new Pro Mode which promises to deliver the most authentic real instrument experience. You will literally be playing the songs note for note. I used the Guitar Hero guitar and drums with no issues in Rock Band 3.

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The main story line of Rockband 3 takes place in the Road Challenge area where you will play through a set list at different venues, gaining fans throughout your journey of rock until becoming a band of epic proportions. The Road Challenge works well because you are given 3 set lists per gig to choose from, these range from Custom songs, that allows you to decide which songs you play, a random set list of a particular genre or in some cases a fixed set list that the game has already laid out giving you the option of what you play. In order to progress you need to meet certain fan targets to increase your band rank, some of which are instrument specific, you can also achieve fans by completing certain goals in the career menu. Rockband 3 also has various achievements that will earn you more fans, for example you may have to keep your override meter running for as long as possible or hit sections accurately but to name a few.

The track listing is top notch with its mixture of classic and current songs, Rockband 3 boasts an impressive library of over 80 songs as well as over 1600 songs available for download and the option to import your previous versions of Rockbands music library, giving you endless hours of gameplay. Not much has changed in terms of game play beside the new Pro mode but Rockband 3 still feels as solid as ever.

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Conclusion

Rockband 3 is fun, energetic and at the same time a revamp that the music game genre might just have needed with its inclusion of Pro mode. Jump in with friends, grab your partner or even get your parents on board and enjoy the game for what it is, pure simple fun.

Scoring


Gameplay: 8.5

A solid campaign with drop in and the inclusion of the new Pro Mode brings out the best Harmonix has to offer.

Presentation: 8.0

With its wide variety of stage set ups and effects over the background visuals it’s easy on the eye and each characters will take center stage as they rock out during solos.

Sound: 8.5

A great track listing and large amount of songs available gives any player endless possibilities.

Value: 9.0

As with any music game you are going to be putting many hours into Rockband 3 where the only limits would be the individual players skill.


Overall: 8.7

Rockband 3 has delivered a realistic and believable journey that leads you through the exciting, yet tough, quest to fame with many rewards along the way. The new Pro Mode offers a completely rejuvenated experience making Rockband 3 a definite must have.

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  • Milesh Bhana

    Shouldn’t you have maybe waited till you got the Pro Drums, Pro Guitar or Keyboard before writing this review. I mean all you can really comment on is the tracklist, the rest is the same.

    Without one of those, RB3, is just like RB2 imo. (Except i find the menus for the career mode to be a little irritating)

  • Dev

    You absolutely right about RB3 and RB2 being similar without the use of the new Pro mode but unfortunately we only received the stand alone game :pinch:

  • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

    As Dev said we can only review what we are given or buy for ourselves and with the pile of games waiting for review I couldn’t put this on hold until we had the other pieces.

  • Veen

    Nicely written Dev

  • WeRRieS ZA

    Nice review and yeah basically its RB2 with tweaked graphics and a new menu system with both pros and cons.

    The only thing that makes this game better than GH WOR is the pro mode, which we can’t experience due to the instrument being unavailable in SA (Screw you EA!!!)

    If you haven’t played any of the previous versions and looking to start playing I would recommend GH WOR, due to this fact! For any other RB2 lover, you need to and definitely will get RB3 to expand your setlist and EA knew that, still sucks that we aren’t getting the damn instruments!

  • flmboy

    I disagree completely. It’s not just tweaked graphics and menus. They improved on every single thing in Rockband 3.

    Also if you want the instruments import them.

  • WeRRieS ZA

    Not everyone can afford the new instruments, R2k for a guitar, it’s madness. Ok they tweaked more, but without the instruments it still feels like RB2.0

  • WeRRieS ZA

    Don’t get me wrong, I digg Rockband and my poizn of choice, just wish the instruments were cheaper and available locally! Maybe one day if I some bucks lying around, then I’ll import.

  • Dev

    I also disagree with the high pricing of the instruments, I have forked out enough up until this point, to now still have to buy a new drum kit and guitar is just not worth it. I don’t even want to imagine the added pricing on importing the instruments here :sad:

  • Milesh Bhana

    the problem is that in SA, we never got the RB2 kit, so unless you bought the Beatles kit, you can’t get the Pro-cymbal upgrade. The guitar is rediculously expensive.

    The keyboard is ok-ish on the pricing, still bad, but not as bad (i paid R1K incl postage and import, still waiting for it).

    I’m also very curious how well that MIDI controller works with a real keyboard.

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