EA Partners and Harmonix have once again joined forces to produce what has to be the trailblazer of the music game genre with the awesome Rock Band 3.
With more sizzling songs and pumped up power ballads than you could shake a stick at, EA and Harmonix have surely now been crowned the new Kings of the Music Genre with their latest title in the best-selling Rock Band franchise. Join us then as we pull on our leathers and bang our heads to the stunning line up of top quality titles in the music games new leader.
Ever since the launch of another of the music based’ titles a few years ago, the genre has seemingly gone from strength to strength in the sales department. Truth be told, the fact of the matter is that just about every ‘guitar’ based title has been bleeding sales and losing customers, every title that is except from EA’s stunning Rock Band franchise. But with the launch of EA’s third in the series of top-notch titles last year Rock Band 3 has steadily increased its fan base month after month with more and more gamers turning on to the excellent format and far superior peripherals that accompany the musical maestro title.
Rock Band 3 is no exception to this rule and if anything will only further cement its claim to be the new rightful king of the music game genre, and its a claim that is well deserved when you consider the first-rate gaming that runs throughout the title from its opening scenes to the very last credits. Not least is the fact that, after being able to spend a little more time with the title than other reviewers, we are able now to bring you a comprehensive review of the game after being treated to additional content and songs that have only served to strengthen the playlist and make it by far and away the most superior music title on the market right now.
Rock Band 3 adopts the same familiar format that has been the games bedrock and foundation since players were introduced to the title a few years previous. However, there are some notable inclusions and differences that separate the game, not just from its predecessors, but also from its rivals in the genre. The first of which is the much-lauded introduction to the peripherals of the rather excellent Keyboard. As is the norm with all of its peripherals, the Rock Band 3 keyboard is somewhat more sturdy than other manufacturers attempts. It is also far from being a gimmick seeing as how it has been included on a whopping 66 of the 83 tunes that are available to players on the standard edition disc. There is also the option to play the keyboard in the style of some of those 1980’s based pop star great’s such as..er, Nik Kershaw, but whichever way you choose to position the cracking keyboard you will note the comfortable positioning of the buttons and override key.
The modes are still there with the standard and pro settings allowing gamers to test their ‘metal’ as they rock out to some truly epic tunes courtesy of the track list. But one of the great fun features of this years expedition on the Stairway to Heaven has to be the excellent inclusion of a seven gamer band set where, even though the console will only officially recognise four of the seven players as actually scoring on the rounds, there is much more scope for pure unadulterated gaming goodness as you and up to six of your friends can all pick up an instrument and add some great ”harmonix” with a few backing singers. Whoever says that you don’t need real musical talent to rock along to a videogame has obviously never experienced a seven man set-up in Rock Band 3. The ultimate in party game interaction in our opinion. That being said it will make life a whole lot easier and enjoyable when the next generation of consoles burst onto the gaming scene, so that we can have the added benefits of not having hardware constraints that only allow for four players of the seven to be officially recognised. This is not a software problem, it is just the limitation of the current generation of gaming consoles that are holding back the power that has yet to be unleashed from Rock Band 3.
Another great reworking in the game has to be the much improved upon Career Mode that now see’s the player being presented with the new Road Challenge format for progression along the rocky road to super stardom. Players are able to have their challenges customized depending on which additional content they have purchased for their game, as well as being able to play the preset version or just sticking with the customizable list of hits that are on offer to you should you not have yet purchased any of the absolute myriad of DLC that is available for Harmonix awesome title. If the latter is the case then we readily suggest that you purchase the additional content and play through the Career Mode any number of times, adding further additional content after each play through to fatten the experience and bring a staggering amount of replay value to an already stunning title.
Yet one more cracking little upgrade for this year’s Rock Band outing is also the fact that you can now drop in and out of the game at any given time, and it can also be achieved by any player who wishes to adjust their difficulty level, if they are finding a particular track just that little bit too tricky or too easy, and then the same player can just jump right back into the action seamlessly.
The new visuals are also an absolute joy to behold as the new look cut scenes and outstandingly detailed backdrops and venues are all lavish in their content. Gone for good are the basic designs of the old, and instead its in with the stylish and complex settings of the new.
Another highly laudable detail that must be given its fair share of attention and praise has to be the fact that although there are some 83 brilliant tunes that come as standard when you buy the game, there are an absolute wealth of tracks available for you to download, thus heightening your enjoyment of EA’s classy title, not to mention giving it a shelf life longer than most. Now you would think that with that much content being available to you that players would be almost spoilt for choice, and that EA and Harmonix would sit back and rest on their laurels for a little while, as they rightfully bask in the magnificence of their creation, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s where you are wrong. Not only are you able to purchase a whole jukebox worth of terrific talent and additional content, but you are also now able to include to your sets and tracklists from any of the Rock Band titles, and by that we do me any! Lego Rock Band, Rock Band 1 and 2, The Beatles Rock Band, Green Day the list, like the truly epic tracks, just goes on and on. Spoiled for choice? You better believe it!
Graphics: Simply stunning as EA and Harmonix take the franchise and give it a much-needed shake up. The improvements made by the developers are nothing short of revolutionary for the title, as you would not even recognise previous ventures from the way that Rock Band 3 now looks. Everything just looks so much more polished and presentable with the attention to detail being second to none and better than most. Nothing in the way of FRD or glitching hampered our enjoyment of this cracking title. Great stuff. 9
Gameplay: The best music based title on the market by a country mile. Unlike other developers when EA takes a game in hand and to iron out some of the teething trouble or add in new features, they do it with style and they do it well. Rock Band 3 is a perfect example of this as with the dazzling array of new instruments and features the developers have turned the Rock Band franchise from a pretender to the throne to the King of its class. 10
RePlay Value: When you consider how long this game has been out and how long it has taken us to review it, in part due to the fact of the sheer weight of new content that has been released for the game, it is no surprise then that we will tell you that even though we have been playing this game for a dog’s age that we have not come anywhere near to playing every track that is available for the title. Take into account what we said in the review about only adding your DLC sporadically and then beginning your career mode again to enjoy the different take on the gameplay and you will see why Rock Band 3 will still be standing proud against the sands of time long after its rivals are buried up to the neck with scorpions biting at their nostrils. An absolute gaming Tour De Force! 10
Presentation: It seems that every time we review a title from EA we always end up giving the game a cracking score. Coincidence? No, not really. When you consider the fact that EA are pioneers in their craft and leaders of the field then you will understand that there are very few, if any, who can do it with such ease and such class. Their latest edition in the Rock Band franchise is certainly no exception to this rule with its corking gameplay and absolutely stunning set list. 10