Top positive review
43 of 45 people found this helpful
Great Fun and a Good Learning Tool - Highly Recommended
on December 30, 2010
When I was contemplating buying this item I had two main questions on my mind:
1. Would upgrading from the basic five-button RB guitar to this Pro Guitar be worth the significant price tag?
2. If I owned this would I be able to learn how to play guitar from RB3?
1. Like everyone else who ever played guitar/bass on Rock Bandbefore this came out, I have always played with the basic five-button strum bar controller. I most always had fun playing with this controller, occaisonally I would lose myself in the music, and feel like I was actually making the music with an instrument. However, the basic controller always has an arcade game vibe to it - and this would sometimes deminish the experience.
The new Pro Guitar controller definitely takes the Rock Band experience to a whole new level. MadCatz did an excellent job designing the guitar and Harmonix did an excellent job integtrating it seamlessly into gameplay. When you first pick it up, it looks pretty intimidating (which is not suprising, as you've probably just moved from 5 buttons to 6x17 = 102 buttons), but the RB3 Pro Guitar tutorials will get you up and running really quickly. The notation is simple enough - though it can be hard to figure as the notes and chords are coming towards you on the screen, and navigating the thing can be difficult - these things honestly take some getting used to - but if you are thinking about purchasing this item, you are probably up for the challenge. And the payoff is fantastic. Many songs are ridiculously fun on the Pro Guitar. Sometimes it can be really hard to put down because as you get better, the game only gets more fun and more intense, and it is not that hard to get better. What you ultimately get is something that takes time to get acclimated to, but gives you what has to be the most fun and rewarding experience in the rhythm game market.
The best thing Harmonix did with regard to the Pro Guitar is probably the "Learn a Song" mode. You can always jump right in to Quickplay mode, but if you want to get good at a song fast, Learn a Song is the way to go. This mode breaks down the song into the various riffs and progressions you need to know to play the song well. So you pick a difficulty, the game shows you the parts you need to know, you practice them (and the game will give you help if you are having trouble with a certain note/chord - you can also start out at a slower speed and work up to full speed, like in the older games), and then you are ready to shred the song in Quickplay or Career Mode.
The only downside I can think of is the barrier to entry. This thing takes practice - much more practice than the basic controller does. Rock Band is meant to be a party game, and this controller necessarily takes a little party out of the game. The cost of having a more serious peripheral, is... well, you have to be a little more serious about it. So more trips to practice mode; harder to just pick up and play. Friends will be intrigued by the new Rock Band item, but it won't be the hit of the party. The angle for this item is that people practice and get good at it on their own, which clashes with the party game philosophy and may be a turn-off for some.
2. I have never seriously picked up a real guitar, and to the length that you can trust someone who isn't really a guitarist, this will give a beginner the tools they need to play guitar. You learn several components of guitar playing: the terminology, fingering, strumming, notes, chords, arpeggios. And once you work up to it, expert mode is, according to Harmonix, "every note and every chord in a song" (Ref: [...] From what I gather there are a few rare exceptions, done so you could play all the songs on the game on this controller which is a bit smaller than an actual guitar, but I don't think that should discourage anyone.
The reason I say "Mostly" and not "Yes", is that you won't learn tuning - the guitar doesn't need to be tuned. The feel is still different; you are after all pushing buttons and not holding strings. You can't do everything on this that you can on a real guitar, bending strings is an example. So what you will end up with is many of the tools you need to play the real guitar, but you won't be a guitar virtuoso the second you put this controller down and switch to an actual stringed guitar.
Overall a fantastic experience, I definitely recommend it highly.