Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360Wii

The band just got bigger with the introduction of a keyboard player.

Review Verdict Read Review
9Out of 10
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Rock Band 3 screenshot
Rock Band 3 screenshot

One of my main goals with Rock Band 2 was for Goretopsy, my Rock Band band, to complete the Endless Setlist II in one sitting - 84 songs played back-to-back, and a feat demanding enough to file down the buttons on any half-decent plastic guitar. It was the ultimate challenge that, sadly, I never got the opportunity to experience. Chalk it up to creative differences within the band (read: the rest of Goretopsy couldn't give a toss), though I did attempt it solo once - I got about 40-odd songs in before my 360 crashed. I could never bring myself to attempt it again.

I've been jingling around to music while holding an expensive toy with colourful buttons for five years now. In that half-decade I've managed to get myself a degree, a (very nice - please don't ever fire me) job, gone through multiple relationships and moved house three times. I've also moved slowly up from Easy difficulty to on-and-off Expert, bought six different plastic guitars and racked up a Rock Band DLC collection totalling over 5000 Microsoft Points.

I have never played a real guitar.

Enter Rock Band 3, and Harmonix intends to change all that with its new Pro mode and, assuming I have a magical bottomless wallet, a new keytar peripheral as well. Which means there are now 10 different inputs to take into consideration: Guitar, Bass, Drums and Keys have Pro modes available for each, and Vocals exist as either solo or the three-part Harmonies first seen in last year's The Beatles: Rock Band.

Pro mode is an undoubtedly exciting addition for people seriously into music, but it also requires ridiculously expensive new instruments: a Pro guitar, with 6 actual strings, 17 frets and 102 tiny buttons, has an RRP of £124.99. The keytar has 25 keys and costs £70, and the new drums have three cymbals and an RRP of £120. Alternatively, a yet-to-be-released MIDI adapter will allow you to plug actual, genuine, expensive, real-life MIDI instruments into the game.

What that actually does to the game, well, I can't really tell you about the Pro Guitar and Drums - we couldn't get our hands them, although previous coverage suggests they add a lot to the game for the minuscule percentage who will want to utilise the features. Let's be honest: due to the exorbitant costs involved, it's likely most players are going to just play the game with their existing equipment.

The keytar, however, is a nice touch which really comes to life in Pro mode - its regular option is just a 5-key affair which feels a bit like a weak (though still entertaining) guitar you play at a different angle and without strumming. In Pro mode, however, it's like an actual keyboard - complete with befuddling octaves and too many keys for the human mind to casually process. And it's pretty bloody hard, too, with me only able to hit 43% of the notes (in Easy, no less) on my first attempt.

60 of the 83 songs feature support for the keyboard, which is certainly enough to get started with, though it's a bit of shame none of the existing Rock Band catalogue has been reverse engineered to incorporate the new peripherals. It's also worth noting that obtaining DLC tracks which support Pro mode for guitar will set you back some extra pennies.

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User Comments

Endless's Avatar


Not enough mention of how brilliant the Keytar hardware is imo. It is a real instrument. It even has a line out as well as the midi. and the construction, unlike the shoddy plastic guitars of old, is amazing. I could have easilly bought this in an actual music shop.

Excellent review, though 60 of the 83 have keys parts? really? It feels like less when you're looking for one to play through your back catalog lol. I also won't bother to migrate my rock band 2 songs until they consider adding the option to get keyboard parts for them.
Posted 22:32 on 02 November 2010
bencrosaby's Avatar


Looked into this game but got put off by the party based and 'songs that I've played before' setlist, and that's not to mention the overwhelming cost. I'll stick with Guitar Hero now that Neversoft are gone (despite Warriors of Rock being brilliant) and Vicarious Visions are in.
Posted 19:56 on 02 November 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


With DJ Hero 2 doing so poorly, I wonder how that will reflect on the sales of this?
I hope it does well, after reading the review it bloody deserves to.
Posted 15:51 on 02 November 2010

Game Stats

Rock Band 3
Out of 10
Rock Band 3
  • Pro mode is a very exciting addition
  • Huge array of music available
  • Best rhythm band title on the market
  • Impossibly high cost
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/10/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , Wii
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Music
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 8,407 2
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