Community Review: Rock Band 3

So you've got a copy of Rock Band 3, and if you're lucky you may just have one of the few Keyboard peripherals that managed to wing their way into Australia. But what do you think? Is it a big enough leap from Rock Band 2? Does it go too far? How are you finding the Pro Mode?

When I first popped Rock Band 3 into the disc tray I was confused. What's all this log in stuff? Why does everyone have to go in seperately - and what's with all these playlists?

As someone completely used to navigating the Rock Band 2 menus, I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed at first. There was what seemed to be an overload of completely unnecessary options and, for me, as a Rock Band veteran, I wondered how tough this might be for someone new to the series.

But then it clicked - it was only difficult because I was already used to navigating another set of menus. A newbie would probably have less difficulty, and once I got used to flicking through the extensive options it suddenly struck me just how handy everything was - especially when it came to filtering through my 500-strong music collection.

The playlist creator, the different choices, the filters - everything just works really well and integrates perfectly into the Rock Band 3 experience.

The only disappointment so far is, surprisingly, the Keyboard peripheral. I found that playing the keyboards regularly was a little dull, and playing the Pro Keys was just too overwhelming unless you had any previous keyboarding experience. I have a regular crew that comes round and plays Rock Band at my place and, at the moment, the Keyboard is the least favoured of all the instruments.

Anyway - enough about me. What do you guys think? Have been enjoying Rock Band 3 so far? Let us know in the comments below!


    Try playing the keyboard on expert difficulty, standard mode. It's actually not that much of a jump up from the lower difficulties but I find that generally the added complexity (3-finger chords, and you're playing every note) makes the gameplay a lot more exciting. With guitar I normally play on medium and can do most of the reasonable-difficulty songs on hard, but that's basically the limit for me as i just don't play enough to get better. With the keyboard I had a try of the expert difficulty and found I was getting 85-90% for songs I'd heard before and knew the tune to, first go. It has a lot more repetitive structures and I would generally find that it was just a case of learning those sequences. Once you nail them it feels great.

    That said, there are some songs which you just can't hear the keyboard at all, and that makes playing it pretty frustrating. I think there's also the fact that a lot of the keyboard-capable songs we've got to choose from use the keyboard as more of a rhythm / backing track, so it carries the same sort of boredom in a lot of cases that bass can. When the keyboard is actually carrying part of the tune instead of filling out the sound, it's much more enjoyable.

    I find I am terrible at three-finger chords. There's a disconnect between my eyes and my fingers and I always end up playing two rather than three. Conditioned response from too much medium-difficulty guitar I suspect.

    The goal-oriented Career mode is fantastic as well, it eases you into the game very nicely. The easiest set is a bit crap - the INXS song stands out as being particularly boring on keys - but once you get into the medium sets, everything really feels like it's coming together.

    I think the game's still better with the guitar, but that's not surprising. This is what, the fifth iteration of Harmonix's guitar game engine (GH, GH2, RB, RB2, Beatles, RB3), but it's the first time they've expanded to the keyboard.

    The UI and shell are polished to a high sheen - I love how easy it is to drop in and drop out, change characters/instruments/difficulty levels etc. "Managing" a play session among a group (especially with people that don't play games much) is a lot easier than it used to be.

    Track list is good, though not as much keyboard heavy stuff as I had hoped.

    Oh, and another vote for basically skipping normal keys and going straight to pro mode.

    If you like Rock Band you will like RB3. If you don't like it, or are generally over it, the keyboard probably isn't enough to "light your fire".

    The new filter system for songs is a fantastic improvement over previous games which is invaluable for me seeing as my song list is now over 400.

    The ability to climb the ranks and progress your band outside of challenge mode just playing random songs alone or with friends is great too. A great improvment over having to play the same songs over and over in career mode in RB2.

    The keyboard is crazy hard for me but I'm enjoying playing the thing on the easy for the time being although I do hate the text only tutorials you get vs the graphic and audio tutorials you got in previous games. For someone who has no real experience with keyboard I was relying on the system on RB2 making a comeback to help me through it so that is dissapointing.

    I'm loving it. RB3 feels like every good point of the previous games welded together. Am missing out on the Pro stuff, since we only have the original instruments, but have ordered the keyboard so hopefully that'll be fun.

    The keyboard is a great new addition, but at the moment the amount of great keyboard content is kinda lacking. However, that being said; DLC is what makes this game great. Tuesday's release of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is bound to be a keyboard favourite.

    As far at the new menu system goes, it works a lot better simply due to the fact it works away in the background. Dropping in and out is a breeze.

    I'm not really thrilled about the setlist in RB3 though. There are some real fantastic tunes there but I found that 50% of the stuff on the disk is stuff I wouldn't ever want to play either alone or in a party setting. I wouldn't say it's due to the fact I don't know the material, but the only new song (to me) that grew on me was Last Dance. Everything else is either fantastic stuff I'll play anytime or meh. Again, that's what DLC is for I suppose.

    ive enjoyed RB3 heaps.

    i have had 3 full (ie all 7 instruments) sessions with it now and there are so many little features that make organising that size of a gathering soo much easier.

    that said there are gripes, why cant i have lead, bass, keyboard and vocals. i dont want all instruments mode with only 4 people but i cant do it, it pisses me off, especially because i had no idea you couldnt do it until it wouldnt let us and we spent ages trying to figure out what we were doing wrong.
    there arent enough good keyboard songs, there is only 70 something and most of them have the keyboard used for 10-40% of the song and that is not fun.

    why cant i have 2 bass with the keyboard being the second.

    when we inevitably want to play more than keyboard songs the keyboard needs to go entirely otherwise its too hard to co-ordinate.

    i also agree with the trainer, its not as good as it could have been (damn pro keys is hard)

    but i still love it, if you completely remove keys it is just so much better than RB2.

    I have the Ion drumkit and I have to say - Absolutely loving the pro-mode drums in it! Having that definition between yellow, blue and green symbols opposed to the pads adds an extra realism and sense of achievement when you nail a song :)

    The pitch corrector for vocals is also a nice addition, as is harmonies.

    Oh - and no fail mode rocks for those drinking sessions ;)

    I love RB3 - it plays on it's strengths and adds a great deal more, mostly in simplicity of navigation and the like. Drop in/drop out, great track list, competitive leaderboards - it's perfectly rounded and probably all it needs to be. If Harmonix continues to release DLC as often as they have to date, then I'll keep buying it.

    However, I do understand the view that it is much the same as prior titles. I absolutely love karaoke and tapping on a plastic guitar, but if that's not you... well?

    Still - if you have ever liked it in the past - this is the definitive music game, in my opinion.

    The menu's are decent after getting used to them. Pro drums are AWESOME but I've barely touched the setlist. I'm playing all my downloaded songs still.

    I'm still waiting for my keyboard to arrive so at the moment i'm still using RB3 with equipment packaged with the original Rock Band and to be honest, for that viewpoint alone it's a huge leap forward.

    The game just bleeds polish and genuine enthusiasm for music as opposed to the competition (sweet jesus GH is horrid these days), the choreographed routines in songs are pulled off beutifully and actually manage to throw you into the atmosphere of a gig and the new music videos are gorgeous.

    What also needs to be mentioned is the insane amount of support provided for DLC, RB, RB2 and Lego Rock Band songs, which if it wasn't for the lack of pro and keyboard options could easily fool an outsider and be passed off as on-disc tracks.

    The menus are great and cutdown the clutter, the integration of Bands in quickplay is fantastic and road challenges are a huge improvement over the world tour.

    Also, Opeth add them harmonix OR TASTE MY WRATH

    The biggest sell for me on Rock Band 3 was the introduction of a pro mode. As a lapsed guitarist inegrating relearning guitar into a hobby i love is a double win.

    I went out of my way to get the rock band keyboard as until the fender squier is released i won't be touching pro mode for guitar.

    The addition of keyboard is one of the most esciting parts of the game for me. Anyone that gets the keyboard should go straight to pro mode easy or medium as there is a nice challenge as i found the regular keyboard mode with the same 5 colours as guitar a little stale.

    The interface for dropping instruments in and out of the game is one of the best things to happen to the series and the weekly DLC updates really keep the interest. First with the Doors featuring a lot of keyboard and the week just gone we had some Bon Jovi so the fun never lets up.

    Definitely a must for any serious rythm genre fan!

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