on 28 November 2010
I purchased Rock Band 3 with the Wireless Keyboard and the Pro Drum-kit, as I was a massive fan of the drum sections in Rock Band 1 & 2, and I had a hope that the Wireless Keyboard might be a gateway to actually learning how to play keys / piano. I already own most of the Rock Band & Guitar Hero games, so I used the GH2 Explorer for the guitar sections and the USB microphone from the original Rock Band.
The track list is, for the most part, superb. Songs like 'Free Bird' and 'No One Knows' make a welcome return. Other songs (such as 'Rehab' by Amy Winehouse) seem a bit out-of-place. That said, most of the tracks from Rock Band 1 & 2 are exportable to your hard disk and playable in RB3 (I have done this successfully, there are several forums giving details on how this is actually done). Add those to any DLC you may have already acquired and you'll most likely have a pretty formidable playlist.
The game mechanics are pretty good - you have the Tour type progression and a Career mode that presents a number of challenges to beat, which actually isn't as transparent as it should be - though it makes sense once you've worked with it a little. I started out working through and completing the Road Challenges before I even realized there were Career challenges to beat. There is plenty of content in terms of game play modes, though, so you won't be struggling in looking for things to do.
Even if you are buying the game on its own and using your old peripherals, you could still probably score this game 4 stars out of 5. What makes this a 5 star product for me, however, is the new peripherals - though it's noteworthy that you have to spend a considerable amount of cash to get the most out of RB3.
The Wireless Keyboard is a masterstroke on the part of Harmonix, and I've massively enjoyed using this. It's not easy - especially if you've never used a keyboard (like me) - but once you practice a bit, there are some really great experiences to find. Playing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on Hard Pro Keys or higher - once it clicks - is a fantastic experience. The only downside is that currently, there isn't the range of material for Keyboard yet, but at time of writing there are now sets available from The Doors and John Lennon. Harmonix have always been consistent in releasing DLC, and I sincerely hope that upgrades will be forthcoming for the material already available - as long as it's not TOO expensive, of course.
The Mad Catz Pro Drum-kit includes cymbals and a means for connecting a double-kick pedal (not included with the standard kit). All the songs include mappings for the Pro Drum kits, so you won't have to purchase 'upgrades' like you would for the Pro Guitar or the Keyboard. The Pro Drum-kit does feel more like playing an actual drum-kit than the RB1 version, but it's not an evolution to the series in the way the Keyboard is. If you really enjoyed the drum sessions (as I do) you'll probably get the value from this purchase, but otherwise you'd be better using your RB1 kit. I would also note that my RB3 Pro Drum-kit had to be returned after a few weeks due to one of the cymbals going faulty, though I'm not sure if this is a typical fault at this time.
In summary, if you already own RB1 or RB2 and are thinking of buying RB3, I would wholeheartedly recommend this purchase with the Wireless Keyboard. The Pro Drum-kit is probably a decent buy if you don't own the RB1 or the Beatles Kit already, or you really enjoy the Drum modes. The game itself is easily the best of the trilogy in terms of accessibility, track list and customization, and even as a stand-alone product it presents great value-for-money.
on 18 January 2011
Rockband 3 is here, and brings with it 'Pro' mode and a keyboard, more songs and more fun.
Here's a breakdown of Pro mode for the peripherals that support it;
Pro Drums: Basically, they've added the necessity of HAVING to use cymbals, thus you have to buy a new drumset to accomodate this, unless you own the ION Drum Rocker.
Pro Guitar/ Bass: Completely different to their standard counterparts, you now have to find the right fret and actually strum strings in order to play the songs, I haven't been able to try this mode because I don't have the Pro Guitar for it.
Pro Keys: Essentially what you're doing with Pro Keys is playing the actual synth/ piano parts of a song, on a small-scale (16-key, I believe) keyboard, complete with wammy touchpad and overdrive button. If you do get the keyboard peripheral (which you should!) I would recommend going through the tutorials first, as you really need to know which key is which in Pro mode.
As for songs, I am really impressed with what Harmonix has offered this time, there is a huge amount of variety in songs this time, and, of course, there is the massive DLC store which also includes 'Rock Band Network' songs which allows you to download songs that have been user-created, allowing even MORE songs to be downloading, you might need to invest in a bigger hard drive!! There are also the obligatory 'Ultra-hard' song(s), this time being "Caught in a Mosh", "Beast and the Harlot" and "Llama", this means that there will be some songs that you wont be able to do straight away and will need to practice them.
This is a brilliant example of how Harmonix has made a reputation for having good party games, think about it, which would you rather have at a party (out of RB3 and GH:WOR), one which has a variety of songs that most people will know, or one that basically only includes rock songs? The answer, Rock Band 3 because it has the most songs that people will know and/ or like. If you get a group of friends round, it's all fun, someone wailing on the drums, someone rocking out on guitar/ bass and someone screeching into the mic. Of course, if you want to download songs you'll need your credit card at hand, because you'll likely keep spotting songs you like and 500MS points doesn't go very far when each song is around 160MS points (£1.99ish) of course there are songs that are free, and some that cost 80MS points (£0.75) but they're all worth it. You'll also need a bigger hard drive due to all the songs, my Rock Band 2 data is 4.3Gb, with Rock Band 1 and 3 being less than 1Gb so it soon takes up space.
Overall, I would REALLY recommend this game to anyone who liked the previous two and anyone who has friends round on a regular basis, or if you have parties on a regular basis.
Also, for everyone who keeps putting "daylight robbery" as a tag, IT ONLY COSTS MORE IF YOU BUY THE COMPLETE BAND VERSION, plus, you dont HAVE to buy the new peripherals if you already have the older ones, you aren't missing out on much.
on 29 October 2010
Sorry for the innit, I don't usually speak like that.
For me the main pro is that the medium difficulty is improved over Rock Band 2. I am a pretty rubbish player and find hard and above on guitar just to hard. Medium on RB2 was to slow with to large gaps between notes making it to easy.They seem to have speeded up the chart now which makes it much better. Before there was no difficulty level that both challenged and entertained me. The Guitar Hero games did medium so much better. Another thing about this ones medium difficulty is the placement of cheeky orange notes in the songs. It is the orange note that really screw me up. However they are introduced gradually, the easier/warm up songs have the odd one thrown in and as you progress they throw a few more in. I have just got to the 3rd part of the guitar career and they have started throwing in chords with orange notes arrrghh. However this is actually a good thing as if you are hopeless like me it provides a much better transition between medium and hard than the other RB (and guitar hero) games, almost like on the job training. They actually started throwing in the odd orange notes on the more recent DLC as well.
However there is still room for improvement and sometimes there are still to big gaps between notes on medium level where you can hear guitar being played but no note for you to play. More notes doesn't necessarily make the game harder (the orange notes do that) but they certainly would make some songs flow better.
The interface is nice and the visuals clear and crisp.
I haven't played drums yet but drums are always great fun and I'm not expecting this to be any different.
The track list. To many songs have previously appeared in Guitar Hero. There is an argument that they now have drum and vocal support, well yes but a lot of the older guitar hero songs were redone like this in Guitar Hero greatest hits and yet still appear on here. There are also some quite obscure ones including at least 2 sung in Spanish. Now these games are primarily good for parties and getting a band together is great but getting a vocalist to sing one of the obscure ones or sing in Spanish never ever happens eg Poni Hoax "Antibodies" who on earth is going to sing that?. Some of them are good fun to play on instruments but without a vocalist its not the same. There are literally hundreds of classic rock songs out there that everyone knows or at least partly knows, lets have more of these. I know there is DLC but frankly a lot of that isn't all that suitable for party singing either.
Also some of the songs are quite clearly not made for guitar at all, eg Amy Winehouse Rehab. Absolutely rubbish to play on guitar, on the plus side at least its one that virtually everyone knows to sing along to. I haven't got the keyboard but it does explain why a lot of the songs are rubbish guitar songs as they are more aimed at keyboard players.
I don't own and never will the pro guitar and pro drums because as you will see at the start of this review I am a pretty rubbish player but I do think they are a great idea and I really hope they work as they have been promised (at time of review they don't actually appear to be available)and I can't wait to read how people get on with them.
If you liked RB2 you will like this simple as.
Just one thing to add, having now played James Brown I Feel Good, what on earth were they thinking ????. If you are going to use this song use the single version not this hideous dreadful abortion of the song. I think it's a live version but whatever it is it's awful, absolutely awful.
One more criticism, how hard is it for the people who make these games, Guitar Hero included to make creating your band simple. What I mean is when playing in single player to be able to create a drummer who always plays drums a vocalist who always sings etc. No matter what I do and how many of my own characters I create I always end up with some random bloke in the band who isn't one of my creations and my drummer singing or guitarist drumming etc. Ruins the immersion factor for me.
on 20 March 2011
ROCK BAND 3 continues the run of music rhythm games and adds some new things to it in order to stop it from simply repeating the formula only with different songs. Harmonix chose this path as they observed a decline in popularity of the genre and tried to reinvigorate interest by attempting to recapture what got people into these games in the first place.
Harmonix have not only added a keyboard part to the existing guitar, drum, voice and bass charts, but also brought back the three-part vocal harmonies previously used in "The Beatles: Rock Band" and "Green Day: Rock Band". Also, to really make ROCK BAND 3 stand out from the rest, they have added a new Pro Mode for the instrument parts, which involves a separate set of charts for the four main difficulties (Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert) that more accurately replicates the equivalent real instrument. You need special controllers to use the Pro Modes (available separately) but for those who are unwilling or unable to fork out for these, the core (as in non-Pro) modes you are used to are still available, and you can still play the core Keyboard parts with a guitar controller's fret buttons without the need to strum.
Pro Guitar is, I am afraid to say, a real challenge, as you would expect because the real thing is a challenge. Unless you played guitar before playing this game you will most likely NOT be able to just jump straight into a song. Luckily there is a Train Song option that allows you to get used to parts of the song (such as common riffs, particularly tricky parts of solos etc), and like the Practice mode (which is also there) you can adjust the speed of these and work your way up to full speed. The Train Song mode keeps track of your highest percentage for each section as well as marking which speeds you managed to do the section 100% perfectly.
Pro Bass is arguably not as difficult as Pro Guitar at the best of times, as most of it tends to be on single notes rather than chords, but again, don't expect to just be able to jump straight into a song and expect to do really well at it immediately unless it is particularly easy!
By and large Pro Guitar and Pro Bass perform what is expected of them really well considering the complexities of the instruments they are trying to replicate, although you can lose note streaks if your fingers slip (this can probably be a bit more of an issue with the Fender Mustang controller).
Pro Drums allows for one, two or even three cymbals as well as the familiar four-pad layout from the previous games. When you first use this mode you are asked how many cymbals you have on your kit (if you have a pre-RB3 Rock Band kit that has add-on cymbals it is possible to only have one or two as well as all three, unlike the available dedicated RB3 Pro Drums kit that MadCatz has officially released, which has three as standard), and Pro Drums tracks will be charted accordingly to reflect this. The familiar bar-shaped notes reflect the pads themselves, while the cymbal will be represented by a round cymbal-shaped orb on the highway. Because these round orbs share a colour with the existing pads it can be confusing to start with, but once you have got used to them it is not too bad, and when this mode works it works really well.
Although I have issues with Pro Drums that are more a problem with the MadCatz controller than any fault of the game (like I said before, when it works, it works really well), this player is very impressed with the Pro Keyboard, Pro Bass and Pro Guitar parts, and even the core keyboard is a welcome addition to the mix. RB3 have also made it a lot easier to switch instruments from one player to another via the player's own menus at the bottom of the screen. No longer do you have to sign people out and fiddle about with trying to switch controllers on in a different order; the menus give the option to transfer an instrument controller to a different gamertag, and once this is confirmed even the player light by the Guide button changes accordingly! Brilliant!
Remember in the previous games how you got a drum fill at certain points during a song if your overdrive meter was half-full or more? Well, now you can choose between that or simply getting a specially-highlighted crash cymbal (anyone who has played "The Beatles: Rock Band" will know exactly what I am talking about) by selecting the relevant option via the drum player's bottom menu selection.
One fairly significant weakness from RB2, which became apparent when you paused the game and resumed it and got no countdown or anything before you had to start playing again, has been fixed. Although you don't get a countdown, instead the song backs up a little and gives you a couple of seconds or so before notes start to appear on the highways again. and you continue as normal. Thank you, Harmonix!
Another thankful addition to RB3 is the less pedantic nature of tremolo picking or drum rolls. You do not get penalised if you are just slightly off with the timing of such things, but you do get rewarded if you do manage to pull off the timing perfectly throughout.
The career-type mode (which is a set of road challenges), as well as amassing stars, gives you the ability to amass spades by doing various things within a song as indicated just before the song starts (examples include activating overdrive as many times as possible or keeping a streak going, but there are many more). This mode is kind of fun, and can even include downloadable content and Rock Band Network content.
The quickplay is available, just as it was in the previous games, and all of the songs on the disc are immediately playable from the get-go; no need to unlock them like you did before. All downloadable content that you used in the previous titles (except The Beatles: Rock Band) will also work here, as will the vast majority of the songs that you have exported from earlier titles (two exportable songs from RB1 -- Hier Kommt Alex and Rock 'N' Roll Star -- won't work in RB3 due to licensing restrictions. Initially Black Hole Sun and Dani California were also blocked, but an online update at the end of October 2011 removed this block, so from that date onwards you can play these songs in Rock Band 3). Any DLC released since RB3's release will no longer work in the earlier titles because of the added keyboard and Pro charts changing the song formats. All songs released before RB3 seem to have Pro Drums parts as standard (assuming they had a drum part in the first place!), and some previously available DLC have already gained some Pro Guitar/Bass upgrades and/or backing vocals on XBox Live.
Regarding the inclusion of Pro parts in DLC, all songs that have a keyboard and drum part will have a corresponding Pro Keys and Pro Drums part automatically. Not all songs have Pro Guitar/Bass upgrades (but there are plenty that do, particularly more well-known ones), and, with the exception of a small number of rare exceptions where the Pro Guitar/Bass is included in the basic song download, these upgrades cost a further 80MP on top of the cost you paid for the song (as before, a song usually costs 160MP, and multi-song packs and albums cost less than their individual tracks, but any Pro Guitar/Bass upgrades must be paid for separately if you choose to upgrade a song to include these parts. The extra 80MP is to cover the difficulty in getting authentic representations of the string and fretwork as played by the original guitarist and bassist.
The Get More Songs option, together with nine free downloadable songs made available in January 2011, effectively allows you to export 79 of Rock Band 2's 84 songs via the code on the back of the RB2 manual (even if you've already used that code to get those 20 DLC songs, you are being permitted to use it once more for this export) and 800 Microsoft Points to pay the export fee.
ROCK BAND 3 is a triumph, and an important step forward in the music rhythm genre. The graphics are a significant improvement over that of RB1 and RB2, and the Pro Modes, for those that are interested in taking a step closer to playing the real thing, help to blur the difference between fantasy and reality, although it should be noted that using the Pro Modes will involve an initial financial outlay for compatible controllers. And yes, you CAN have people playing Pro Mode alongside people playing core modes in the same song! In fact, you can have up to seven people performing a song at once, even on the same console!
The setlist is eclectic enough to keep people of all ages interested, while the No Fail mode is still there (which is highly recommended if you are using Pro Modes, at least to start with!) and, unlike RB2, no longer stops you from having XBox Live sessions or gaining achievements (although if the host has No Fail switched off then it will automatically deactivate it on your settings too!).
If I had some complaints, they would be niggling ones like (a) some of the Pro Keys charts make demands that are incredibly tough to accomplish without making a mistake and losing your note streak (such as sweeps up or down the keyboard, or very quick combinations of note changes); (b) I would have preferred it if, for online play, a guitar-controller user would pick either guitar or bass BEFORE looking for other players on Live, as there are the same problems with the two people with such controllers wanting to pick Guitar first, while the other often drops out; and (c) the main menu is confusingly worded in places and takes a little getting used to before you find where everything is.
Harmonix have fully deserved the praise heaped upon this title by critics, and I recommend it thoroughly.
on 1 November 2010
Harmonix have basically taken what was already a very good game in Rock Band 2 and reinvented it into something even better. Rock Band 3 is basically the iPhone 4, its very similar to the iPhone 3G (Rock Band 2), but something is just much, much better without you really knowing why.
They have introduced band objectives (longest streak, longest overdrive etc) to each of the various set lists that you can play - this adds a slightly different dimention to playing as a band as you are all trying to contribute to a bonus score. RB3 also introduces the song stats so each individual can see how they have got on and you can ridicule those in your band who arent pulling their weight.
On the day of release I got together with 7 friends and it was a blast - listening to tone def people trying to sing in a 3 part harmony is YouTube worthy!
I ordered the game originally with the new pro guitar - but that hasnt arrived yet, but even without this, the game is still great fun to play and has new dimensions to previous titles.
At first I wasnt going to bother with the keyboard, I wasnt all that fussed. But after playing 'Bohemian Rapsody' for the first time, there is just no way you can let the keyboard part go! The keyboard is great fun. On normal mode its not a lot different to playing a guitar part, except you dont have to strum and can in effect use both hands to cover just 5 notes. Its when you try playing on PRO mode that the keyboard really comes to life. I cannot play piano, but on EASY PRO MODE it actually introduces you very kindly to the complexities of using all 10 fingers. I am sure with some practice you could become pretty impressive.
If I had to make a minor gripe - it would be the limit to the number of tracks that do support the keyboard. Not all of the RB3 songs have keyboard parts and none of your other downloads or imports have them either. You end up playing more of the dull RB3 songs if someone is on keyboard just so they can take part.
Bring on the Pro Guitar!
on 6 November 2010
I've played pretty much every music game and can safely say that Rock Band 3 is the best one yet.
The first thing that strikes you when you load up the game, is how much cleaner the menu system looks compared to RB and RB2. So you have hundreds of songs in your library (after you've imported from any other Rock band game you have), the new sorting system is much more in depth. You can also rate songs so that when you play a party shuffle, the songs that you don't like are unlikely to appear. The only gripe at this time is that every time you load up the game you will want to change the sorting as it defaults back.
Now we come to the games set-list. It is without doubt the strongest on-disc setlist yet, but in my opinion doesn't have enough guitar based tracks. Free Bird, No one Knows, Here I Go Again are all great. But songs like Rehab and most offer songs in the 2000s feel out of place. In particular the songs choices from the 2000s and 1960s is too weak.
However to make up for this there are currently nearly 2000 songs available for download that will work in Rock Band 3 and more songs are being added every Tuesday. Launch DLC was the greatest hits from The Doors, which will be great to play on keyboard in particular.
I haven't tried any of the new instruments yet however, my GH: World Tour guitar has just stopped working properly so I will be purchasing a RB3 Fender Stratocaster to replace it. The keyboard I will probably purchase later, see what DLC comes out first. Currently, roughly 60 songs out of 509 in my collection have keyboard.
I highly recommend Rock Band 3, whether you want to play on your own or as a group. Its great fun and will last for ages!
on 7 January 2011
I am very frustrated, very, very, very, very frustrated that this game haven't sold more than it have, because this is the THEE Very Best MUSIC GAME OF ALL TIME!
Sell all your copies of guitar hero, and buy this amazingly polished and fun game instead! If you doubt whether you want to buy this game or not, don't doubt anymore! This game is the ultimate party game and not only that it is amazingly fun to play alone too, with the new keyboard and pro instruments you will find yourself sucked right into the music genre again!
Now I have read that there is some people that have had trouble with the game crashing on them, but that haven't been a problem for me, maybe that is because i have installed the game, which isn't necessary because there is no loading times anymore what so ever! (except if you have a lot of downloaded songs, it needs to load the songs every time you boot up the game, but that only takes around 15 seconds if you have downloaded 700 songs(like i have), so if you have none it takes 0 seconds)
The setlist is amazing too,83 tracks total, there is a lot of good songs for just about everyone that loves music with guitar, drums, bass, vocals and keyboard. I just can't find out why harmonix added the song "oh my god" by some woman named - ida maria, it is the absolute worst song i have ever played/listened to!!! But every other song is at least decent. About 30 of the songs on the trackslist are amazing and fun to play. You can also import all of the songs from RockBand 1 and 2 (a fee is required to import the songs to rock band 3), except for the Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden songs.
Oh! And the most important additions to this game is the pro instruments and the keyboard which are all amazing, i recommend you acquire the pro drums because they are compatible with all the songs from the previous games, and they are hellafun to play just like all the other instruments (but just a little bit more fun). I also recommend that you wait for the pro guitar with real strings if you want to buy a pro guitar. Also the keyboard are a BLAST to play and should really be considered by anybody, escpecially those who are new to the music genre, because it is the most accessible instrument for new comers. Ohh, and then there's off course the old instruments and vocal harmonies for every song the game.
OKAY! I don't wanna write anymore, i think you get the point! GO OUT AND BUY THIS GAME!!! GO OUT AND BUY THIS GAME!!! GO OUT AND BUY THIS GAME!!! Now i'm gonna go back to my xbox and continue playing this awesome game!!!
on 24 December 2010
I've got a young son who likes dancing and singing, and he's now at an age where he's reading and taking more of an interest in my xbox and PC, so I was looking at games for him when I came across Lego Rock Band which seemed like a game he can sing along too but could also be expanded for use at parties with guests. He loved it, but I too found myself loving it too and to get better into the game I bought a guitar controller bundled with Guitar Hero 3 (which I haven't played much but it seems ok and I'll revisit that game at some point).
Anyhow, having played Lego Rock Band I decided to get Rock Band 1 (for it's music tracks) and 3 finally followed by RB2, and it's great fun either alone of with friends. I particularly like the ability (a long last!) to alternate between male and female vocalist depending on the gender of the song that I'm playing - I tend to have a female drummer who automatically changes places with my male vocalist if the song requires a female vocalist.
I recently took it along to a party and the game and those playing it quickly became the centre of attention. I hear that drink and song have gone hand in hand for centuries, well the likes of Rock Band with instrument controller bring the whole experience into the 21st century.
If you like parties, and like singing and also have a secret wannabe rock singer/guitar/drummer/keyboard player hiding in you (and let's face it who doesn't), then this game and its like are a must have and will bring the inner rock star in you out.
on 18 February 2015
I have been a fan of games like this, as well as Guitar Hero, ever since GH1 came out in 2005!
I buy a lot of DLC, mainly to drum to so that I can climb the top 1% leader boards. With the help of the 882 songs I currently have in my library, I'm the 235th most experienced drummer on this game for this console and I aim to be number 1!
I've collected all the games and instruments available, bar the pro guitar.
Great for family and friends to play along with as well. My only two wishes are for there to be DLC by other bands my family, friends, and I are into that currently aren't available, and for there to be more hours in the day to play this awesome game!
on 16 December 2011
Having progressed from Beatles Rock Band and Rock Band 1 and 2 this is an absolutely brilliant game. Don't forget to import all your Rock Band 1 and 2 music tracks (I had to purchase a licence for this but you may not). Standard mode is improved from Rock Band 2 with more emphasis on playing the music and achieving difficulty rewards. I still like to play Rock Band 2 using the tour challenge which is more gig orientated.
The new pro mode is interesting. I've only just started using this having imported the Squier Fender pro guitar from USA (as none available in the UK). Or you could buy the Mad Catz Mustang pro guitar. First impressions of playing the Squier; it is quite difficult for a newbie and needs lots of patience and practice. Lots of YouTube videos out there to help though.
This sort of game is excellent value for money because it lasts as long as you want it to. With great music to listen to and lost of personal challenges. What's to get tired of? Perhaps Rock Band 4 will tell us!