Rock Band 3 was release earlier this month and it made its way into my Xbox for a little jam session. The folks at Harmonix, the creators of the Rock Band games, made a lot of changes to this latest Rock Band release. The biggest of these changes is the pro series instruments made by Mad Catz, they added support for a new keyboard, drum set and guitar. The down side to these additions to the game — the price. You could end up paying over $300 if you would like to add all three into your collection.
Besides the instruments the game itself has change quite a bit as well. The game is now built around goals, completing goals gives you fans and unlocks goods within the game. Rather than playing gigs to earn money, you are playing gigs to complete goals. Items in the game are gained by completing these goals rather than saving up money earned to buy new clothes or instruments in the game.
Getting through Rock Band 3 is a little different than previous editions, you can play it solely to complete goals or you can go on the road and complete Road Challenges. Completing each goal is as simple as selecting the goal you would like to work on. You are then taken to the songs that you need to play to complete the goal. Doing Road Challenges is similar to the old Rock Band games, you play a gig in a venue and then move on to the next. While playing a gig you get the option to play two pre-set songs or picking from a couple of random set lists. I really liked this feature as I got tired of being forced to play random set lists in the previous versions of Rock Band. I enjoy being able to choose the songs I want to play. But if I was in the mood to choose a random set list you are given the option of what style of music you want to play such as a 70s set list, 80s set list, 90s set list, ect.
Something Rock Band had started doing in their downloadable content was throwing in the blue and orange buttons on the guitar in easy and medium. If you hadn’t played any of the DLC you may be caught off guard but if you’re a seasoned Rock Band player throwing in the orange button shouldn’t set you off too badly. One of the things that I noticed during gameplay that did set me off a little bit was the delay between the time you start the song and the time the name of the song appears. If you choose a random set list you will notice that you could end up starting to play before the name of the song appears on the screen. This is a little annoying as I like to know what song I am playing before I start and it is distracting to look at it while trying to concentrate on the notes.
Overall the game is great, I really like the new format and enjoy playing the gigs. In previous versions of Rock Band I would sometimes fear playing a new gig as I knew I had long random set lists coming up with songs I didn’t particularly feel like playing. They have helped to fix some of that in this new version which makes the game much more enjoyable. The goals system is fun too, not only do you have the challenge of completing the acheivements on the Xbox you also have to complete the goals in the game to gain fans and unlock content.