Before we go to far, I want to let you all know I am biased. I love Rock Band. I have both previous games as well as the Rock Band 2 drum kit. Heck, I even had the Mad Catz bass at one point (I broke the strum bars, due to using it too much). I did the math, and between Melly, myself and our friends, the game costs me about $.50 an hour.
To make it simple, we play this game a LOT.
Now, I know many of us groaned at the thought of yet another Fake Plastic Rock (FPR) game, seeing as there is a new one every 6 months (or so it seems). But, this time MTV and Harmonix seems to have done it right. Not only is Rock Band (RB) loaded to the brim with amazing tracks (on disk) as well as having access to a bounty of RB songs via the online music store), it also seems to give players the ultimate in rocking out with its “Pro” modes (sadly, I lack the hardware needed to play like a “Pro”).
Rock Band 3 has all of the staples of the series we have come to know and love. The notes are bright and easy to read, even when they are flying at you in a panicked frenzy. The music is a clear as a bell, if you can stay on rhythm and get your fingers to follow the screen. But the one nice touch is that Harmonix has given Rock Band 3 the ability to have up to a 3 part harmony. Group vocals, not just to The Beatles Rock Band any more.
I was able to test this game in what seems to be its intended setting: in a living room full of friends all clutching plastic instruments (myself and a close friend on guitars, Mel and three of her girl friends staring at the screen awaiting lyrics). Well, we found out the whos who and the whats what as the girls attempted to pump out lyrics to songs we all knew as my friend and I strummed away to the stream of flashing colors. What we found was that this game became musical hot potato for the mics. As a song came up that someone liked (or didn’t as was the case at times), the girls would swap out who was signing. I will tell you thins, you might think know your friends but you never truly know them until they are attempting to sing Rammstein’s “Du Hast”. It has to be seen to be believed!
So, what makes this game any different from Rock Band 2? Well, obviously “pro” mode, but not having the pro instruments made it impossible to gauge how fun/unfun it is actually playing the game on an almost-real guitar. However, the big addition we were able to play with was the three-part vocal harmonies that we first saw in Beatles: Rock Band, and that itself is enough of a reason for us to want to buy this game. Another key differentiating feature from it’s predecessor is the set list; while it’s got a little something for everyone, Harmonix really feels like they nailed it between songs spanning from The Who’s “I Can See For Miles” all the way up to Marylin Manson’s “Beautiful People”. As for visuals, not really a lot has changed, but Harmonix did throw in more dynamic camera angles as your playing.
In the end, Harmonix has me hooked. And I believe that I need to invest myself a bit more into the game so I can rock out with Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love” and maybe get dirty with Rammstein. I mean, whats a little more cash for a game that is a sure hit with friends and family? As a diehard fan of the last two Rock Band games, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this absolutely is THE Fake Plastic Rock game you need to have in your gaming inventory.
Editor’s Note: We received a review copy of the software only from Harmonix; we did not get any of the hardware that comes along with the bundle. If you hadn’t figured that out from the write up…