Rock Band 3 - Xbox 360 (Game)
Platform: Xbox 360Edition: GameChange
Price:$26.75+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
I've been playing Rock Band 3 for the past couple of days with my friends. Before I continue, I'll outline my set up. We got the new keyboard, but have not yet bought the cymbals for the drums, and not planning on a pro-guitar until the Squier is released next year. So this is not a review about the touted 'Pro-Mode'.

This is a review for the people who have been waiting for the next evolution of their beloved Rock Band franchise.

At this moment, I'm hesitant to recommend this game too highly over Rock Band 2. Peripheral-wise, the keyboards sound like a great idea on paper. There is sufficient Pro-mode Piano instruction to get you started, and it looked like it could be fun, but the majority of songs we've played so far indicate that there are long pauses of nothing to do when on the keyboards for most songs. In addition, if you are playing with the game's 'random set-lists', you will be limited to songs that support it specifically--which amounts to maybe 60~ of our library of 250 songs. A little annoying to say the least. When making a set-list, you can use the keyboard as a guitar or bass, but it only seems relevant and fun in a few rare songs, like the Gorillaz 'Clint Eastwood'. When playing the game normally, we always have a tendency to avoid picking up the keyboard because it will limit our set-list so tremendously, which absolutely sucks.

Moving on to the gameplay and campaign, it is set up in an interesting, yet disjointed fashion now. Character creation is an absolute blast, and seeing my friends and I strutting through the city looks absolutely awesome! But there are no longer personalities to choose from, and so all characters on stage seem rather...the same? In Rock Band 2 we all laughed as our friend with a mohawk rampaged on stage; now my girlfriend's character may be doing that...or me. Eh. Also, is it just me or do the stages themselves seem more bland? In Rock Band 2 it was always a joy to go to a new venue and see our band's art on the stage somehow, and examine the stage's quirks. The fret-lanes that you play on as well take some time getting used to, and are decidedly more busy, but functional after spending some time on it. Not entirely sure if it is for the better.

The story is the typical 'rags to riches' fare, with a more personal feel to it as cut-scenes you unlock contain your characters in them and are usually pretty humorous. Getting your first van was one of my favorites. Also, instead of choosing venues to play at, you will now go on tours which revolve mostly around America. Your band is hypothetically located around the North-East, and the whole game's tours unveil around that fact. This creates a more linear affair, but also more personal. I like it.

What I don't like are questionable changes and ideas, and for lack of a better word, glitches. For one, Rock Band Stage Kit no longer works with the game. The game also has a tendency to stutter and have frame-rate issues in the middle of songs, which makes it heck on the singer every once in a while(it gives me headaches). The lack of personalities leads to odd sights on stage, where in one scene two people will be singing together, and a split-second camera change later, they will be on opposite sides of the stage. Huh? This omission really cuts down on the immersion when you realize that all of the videos are completely cookie-cutter and in no specific, logical order. The costume pieces(and every other character customization feature outside of body-sculpting) are mostly hand-me-downs from Rock Band 2. Disappointing.

And forget about playing Guitar, Bass, and Keyboards with your friends; you'll have to turn on All-instrument mode if you use this combination at all, and so drums and vocals will be turned on, with the vocals defaulted to easy, no-fail 'karaoke mode'. This was designed around the idea that only 4 players can be logged in at once, so the vocalist is the odd-player out by default...but even if you don't want a vocalist, or don't want a drummer, this is what you will have to use. You also won't be able to play on xbox live with this mode. And did I mention the venue will default to 'trippy music video' since the game doesn't want to render the crowd?

This All-Instrument Mode(AIM) is a complete fail in my mind. You wont even be able to pick your character as the vocalist. There HAS to be a better way to do this.

However, the set list is insanely fun, and you will be doing a double-take on many of the songs you hadn't thought you had heard before. You have. Trust me.

All in all, a fun game, but it has several glaring issues that have me wondering out loud, "What were they thinking!?"
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
Things have changed, it's a fact. And I know some people are not going to like it. Back when I first played Guitar Hero 2, all the way up through playing Rock Band 3 most of tonight with my brother, what I have always loved about all of these games is shredding on a tasty solo. Something entirely self-indulgent, and an obscene amount of fun. That being said, that is not what Rock Band 3 aimed for this time. The emphasis has shifted and is now on the entire band. One could argue as Rock Band was the first to come out with the drums / bass / vocal parts to create the band performance, the emphasis has always been on the band. But for me it always seemed like for the most part the vocals, drums and bass parts were all secondary to most of the songs that really have stand-out guitar parts. The selection of songs is indicative of a change in focus, from being the "guitar" game, to being the "band game." No where is this more obvious than in Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' I was looking forward to playing the two awesome guitar solos in it, but when playing the song, a lot of it has me either sitting through vocal / drum / keyboard sections, or playing very easy note sequences. The songs are more mellowed-out, more easily accessible to those people looking to play as a group. Some people will not like that, but I don't mind so much.

As far as songs go, I was disappointed to a certain extent. While we do get 'Free Bird,' 'The Beast and the Harlot,' and 'No One Knows,' as the other reviewer pointed out, those songs have been in previous Guitar Hero games. There are so many songs that would be so cool on Rock Band, but some of these are just recycled, and I'm not sure why. But since all of my downloaded songs carried over it really wasn't too big a deal. What we are really paying for in this game is the new ways in which songs play out, and the upgraded features the new software offers.

You know that feeling in a sequel where you're having fun, but it's a tentative kind of fun, where you're waiting to see or experience something that they changed from the previous game that you are really not going to like? That's how I felt for the first couple of hours while I was playing tonight. But I have to give Harmonix credit once again. It seems that they left everything that worked in Rock Band 2, and then added features that were lacking from that game. For instance, when playing a set I was always disappointed that the only song you could see your note streak on was the last of them. It's been changed now. Rock Band has taken a page out of Guitar Hero's book here, and made your song stats viewable between songs. They even offer breakdowns of every section of the song, as well as a breakdown of how many points you earned in what ways (ie keeping a streak, overdrive, sustained, etc.). On top of that, when you are playing a song with more than just yourself, it shows you how many points each player got individually, minus the combined overdrive effect, which is neat. And you can rate songs right after you play them, which is a nice feature when you have ~500 songs so sift through.

Solos are slightly different looking, not so much in your face anymore. Instead of the note track glowing glue, the edges of the track glow blue. Most of the time you won't even realize you're playing a solo until you notice it counting your percentage. Same thing with a new addition to overdrive. There are still the white-note sequences that earn you 25% of overdrive, but now there is also a new kind, where the edges of the note track will glow yellow, and for getting those parts perfectly you earn 50% overdrive automatically. I'm ambivalent on that point though. I didn't see as the overdrive needed changing, but it's definitely not something I'm complaining about.

Setlists can now be saved to be played whenever you want, and the filters for organizing or displaying songs has been greatly expanded (Artist, Album, Genre, Decade, Instrument, Pro Mode Difficulty, Keyboard Part, Rating, Alphabetical by song, etc). Some things have been altered a bit, but it takes a learning curve or just a few minutes. As with recent Guitar Hero games, you can now drop in or out of a song or set at any time, as well as change profiles during any menu screen, which is a really nice new addition to the Rock Band repertoire. Another little thing that I noticed was pausing during a song. We've all done it, and it seems to happen unavoidably when we have a streak going, we've all been there. Rock Band 3 has solved the issue, and it's incredibly simple. Guitar Hero: World Tour made it so when you unpause it gives you a few seconds to see what notes are coming, which was cool...but it was a frozen screen, and you had no clear idea of how fast the notes might come at you. With this game, when you unpause the song rewinds a few seconds, and while it doesn't let you replay notes, it scrolls a blank note chart for a few seconds so you can get the feel of the speed, and then you pick up right back where you left off. Awesome new addition to the game.

I think the only negative thing I can say about the game is that I miss the fun facts about bands that would display while the songs were loading. But again Harmonix won't even let me complain about that, because the reason they're gone is because loading times are insanely faster than they used to be. You pick your set, and within a few seconds the song is starting. I don't know how they pulled that off, but it's impressive. In fact, I think the only loading screen I've had so far was the first time I loaded the game, and the game was updating my downloadable songs. A+ for efficiency.

The only REAL complaint I can make is that the Pro Mode guitar controller isn't coming out for a couple more weeks (what's up with that, Madcatz?). But I can say this, I browsed the training tutorials for both Pro Guitar and Keyboard, and they are extensive. It really is an impressive accomplishment, and I'm really looking forward to trying it out when the guitar gets here.

The bottom line really is this: Even if you don't like any of the songs that come with Rock Band 3, you should still buy it to play your old songs with the news features, because it's so worth it.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
Been playing since RB1, and have had the pleasure of experiencing those crazy gotchas with RB1 and RB2.

(1) New tour mode: Got through the first two locations (accessible by train) last night. I've got to say it's much better now, instead of being forced to play a particular song now they give you some options for each location. Each gig will present to you what you would like to choose to play, what I saw was:

- Random set list (but at the top of the screen you could see the two songs that we're selected, instead of waiting until you're about to play to see the songs)
- Random or Select 90s songs (some were random 90s genre songs, or you could select what songs you want to play from that genre).
- Random or Select Classic Rock songs (^^)

(2) Achievements during game play: So, instead of just playing to collect stars you are also collecting spades. In which at one gig we had to get as many overdrives during the song, or another gig we were going for accuracy. Definitely adds to the gameplay I feel.

(3) People can now jump in or out during the song, no more having to start over! This will be put to the test this weekend, our son (17) is having his halloween party this weekend with a bunch of friends.

(4) Song interface is way better and much easier to use.

As we continue to play more I will update my review. If you are Rockband fan, this is a definite must have as you will not be disappointed!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2010
Okay these music games have been floating around for a while now. And between all the different versions, game sequels, cheap knockoffs (PowerGig), instruments, and band games, the genre is more than a little confusing to navigate.

So I will attempt to put it as simply and plainly as possible... this is a triple-A title and the best one on the market, bar none.

Really the best part is that there is no "wrong" way to play it. There are single player goals to achieve. It has the best cooperative multiplayer out there. Online play. Modes for the most casual players all the way up to the hardcore elite. It can be enjoyed as a standalone disc or you can grow your music collection up to 2000 downloadable songs online. It will work with your existing music game hardware or you can endulge the cool new hardware versions which have recently released.

The few criticisms I have seen in reviews are mostly unfounded, or are nitpicking from a hardcore elite with no sense of perspective. This game delivers in spades at a time when the competition is resting on their laurels. I have been following the series since its inception and it has not disappointed me yet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2010
OK, I'm not an expert on the inner workings of the past Rock Band games, nor do I play the instruments. I do vocals. My husband and boys play drums and guitar. It's a great game for the serious players as well as people like us! We like the fact that there is instrument expansion with this latest version. Definitely we will be buying the keyboard and upgraded guitar in the future.

While I appreciate and find the other reviews very interesting and informative, my main interest in this game is just to have family fun. And, Rock Band 3 brought a new level of entertainment to us!

On a side note, my boys (who have been gamers for years) had been trying to get me to play video games with them for some time, but not until Rock Band 2 and the Beatles Rock Band came out did I finally branch out and "tentatively" try the game. Little did I know, I would be sucked into the Rock Band gaming community, forever. After all, girls just wanna have fun!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2010
Ok I have to start this out with saying I play the piano. Not awesomely, but I read sheet music. The fact that I find reading sheet music easier than playing pro keys kind of bothers me. I don't know if it's just that the learning style is different, if the keyboard should be bigger, or what, but that whole element falls flat on me. One thing I wish is that when you hit a sour note on the keyboard, if you got aural cues telling you where you went wrong, as opposed to a generic click. That's sort of a good frame of reference for really playing the piano. (however I will say the piano tutorials actually delve into music theory so a+ there)

It's like HMX had a totally awesome thing going leading up to Beatles Rock Band (which I still think knocked it out of the park) and then squandered it with Green Day Rock Band (seriously?) and then Rock Band 3 which is essentially a really awesome extra long track back with some baffling changes.

The menus are annoying to navigate, you now collect spades as well as stars (I have no idea why) and if you want to get into the pro realm of things you're looking to spend another couple hundred dollars. And while I appreciate HMX wanting to teach people to play real instruments, for real, I kind of feel like I'd rather spend the $300 for the pro guitar on a cheap electric and some lessons.

I feel sort of like, for whatever reason, Rock Band is trying to recapture the more annoying elements of Guitar Hero, with the game telling you when you've got certain length streaks going on, throwing challenges at you, and having sound effects that detract from the music.

It is not a black mark on the franchise, but I feel like there's some of the soul of the earlier releases missing and that makes me sad because I love Harmonix, and have supported them since Frequency and Amplitude.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
The game has a lot of improved features and some minor annoyances.

Pros
- improved band and character creation with lots of options
- computer auto subs female singers for songs where women are lead singers, same with males if you are not lead singer
- enjoy options on setlist in road challenge mode
- good variety of songs
- pro modes
- got rid of the annoying guitar rip from RB 2 every time you chose an option.

Cons
- No crowd singing along when you get the meter maxed
- importing RB1 & RB2 missing songs due to licensing
- road challenge is too short. It doesn't feel as epically big as RB 2 tour mode
- in road challenge you can't see when you are on a solo, probably due to the spade system

Overall, I am glad about the purchase and have no regrets. I didn't get the keyboard as I am waiting to see if the midi adapter will work with my keyboard at home.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
Now, being a huge Beatles fan, BRB will always be one of my favorites, the visuals were just too amazing. However, Harmonix has taken Rock Band 2 and improved it in almost every way with 3. The tour mode is much more animated, showing your band huffing it to gigs on the subway, character creation is more involved with facial adjustments available of every kind. You also unlock clothing now as a reward, not sure if there's a money system since I've only had it for one day.

The other review endlessly complained about the instruments and USB hub availability. Well guess what, all previous Rock Band instruments work, so if you have a problem shelling out for Pro instruments, don't! Also, of course Harmonix would try to shuck their keyboard first, just wait a few weeks and almost any MIDI keyboard will work with the hub.

Next, the songlist. We get a much more even spread of tracks by decade, instead of trying to cram every emo rock track from the 2000s into the game. The limited-time Doors downloads are nice, as well as the Amazon pre-order guitar. In a week you will be able to download John Lennon's Imagine album, which couldn't be a better initial DL package.

The sound seems to be a little better balanced this time, with the option to boost the bass, and the Dobly Digital isn't as brickwalled as last time, giving your speakers a break. Visuals are nice as usual, although I see some recycled backing characters from Rock Band 2.

One note - I've had minor problems calibrating my HDTV to the guitar, done several auto-cal and it gives me a different offset every time. Assuming Harmonix will patch this soon if it's widespread. Overall, a great and engrossing game, my girlfriend and I love to play together, and plan on hosting several Rock Band Nights during the holidays to spread the joy and perhaps initiate a few new converts.

as Ozzy would say - "Rock N Roll!"
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2011
The only reason to purchase this game is to get the additional content. The song list itself probably only has 5 or so songs you want anyway which means you paid over $5 per song to get them. The fact that once RB3 came out there is no new downloadable content offered for RB2 anymore. That's how they get you to buy the new one.

The game itself isn't much different than RB2 from the playing aspect, most songs are unlocked from the get go but some do unlock as you play the quick play. I don't care to tour because wasting time on all the crappy songs is just that, a waste of time.

As for the pro series, the keyboard is a decent addition and forces the song list back to the 70's thru the 90's due to the fact there is very little keyboard in today's music, if you can call it that. The downside is the game is very new and there just isn't enough songs converted or created yet to justify the cost of the keyboad/stand etc. Price needs to come down and would wait about a year for enough songs to make it worth while.

As for the pro Guitar, if you are going to invest the time in learning to play this thing, your better off buying some sheet music and learning to play the real one and play to your cd's. The game is good enough with the old guitar and will hold your attention longer than hating the impossibility of trying to get any good at the new one.

Over all we like to play the game but harmonix would better spend their time on better song lists than making the instruments more life like. If you need new songs you have to buy it, if not, wait until the price drops. Songs devided by price equals?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2010
The keyboard, three-part harmonies, and the inclusion of pro-mode are a game changer in the music gaming genre. I have been disappointed with other music gaming franchises (looking at you guitar hero) and there constant releases with minimal to the gameplay and really wanted a new experience. This version of rockband not only gave me a new experience, it's also helping me really learn to play these instruments. They are bridging the gap between gaming skills and real life music skills which I appreciate. The fact the that the game has a back catalog of over 2000 songs also is nothing to sneeze at. All in all if you have been burned by guitar hero and think this version of rockband is the same you'd be wrong. It offers new experiences with new instruments and modes while keeping everything players have love about the music gaming genre. This is the best music game in the market bar none.
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