PG 1 | PG 2
Truth, I have never played an official “Rock Band” game outside of the two 'Rock Band' band editions. I guess I am more of a Guitar Hero type of guy, well, at least that is what I thought. From the minority, I will be looking at 'Rock Band 3' to see how it stacks up against the competition and differs from its highly successful run of band editions.
'Rock Band 3' starts by asking you to calibrate your instruments before you start to jam. Metaphorically this is like tuning your instrument in real life, fixing the lag between your instrument and the audio/video signal, taking the blame away from the game. For example my audio audio and video was off by 23-28 milliseconds, which might not seem like allot. However, when you're asked to be precise to the second, it counts. Unless you are some kind of punk-rock gamer, you will be missing four easy gamer points and more importantly notes.
Great the next legendary rock band
Once you're tuned up 'Rock Band' prompts you to the next step, to create your own band. So a band was created -- the not-so legendary “Llamas” sporting their very own tattooed inspired logo. The 'Rock Band 3' logo editor goes above expectations, but damn with all the options and excellent art, no Lama's?! Not even under the animals tag - say what?! After you get branded its time to pick the members of your band from several pre-made characters or as 'Rock Band' calls them session musicians (loving 'Moosejaw Boudreau.') Once your band is complete it's onto the game and time to earn your "fans," which are used like a point system in 'Rock Band 3.' Mirroring real life, the more fans, the more milestones you can achieve. Power to the people.
Live the dream
From the main menu you can head into the career mode, play a quick song, train your skills, meddle with the settings and of course, download new songs. The career mode follows the band in the typical rags-to-riches tale, living “the dream” as us less fortunate musicians call it. In the career mode you can select from 'my goals' objective based gameplay that breaks down the game from beginner challenges -- to individual instruments -- up to the new pro instruments. 'My song progress' gives you an entire breakdown by points and 'My rankings' leaderboards you up.
Burn your instrument to the ground
Breaking down the 'goals' section you can start with the basics, which include creating a character, running through entire sets, attempting score challenges in various stages of complexity and achieving certain objectives like the 'Millionaire Club' or for the more expert players, 'Obsessive Compulsive,' which asks you to "hit every note in every song in the game." Better get those chops rolling'
Next we have the 'Road Challenge' section, which is your A-typical career mode. Road challenges put you on the road as the band with the goal to earn more fans at each gig. In each gig you can select from random music that is usually divided into "genres," or you can make your own set list from the available tracks. I preferred the element of surprise, but 'Rock Band 3' gives you lots of flexibility.
There is even a little story here told in cut-scenes as travel venue to venue. You start in your hometown playing in "intimate" clubs and work your way up to the big leagues. It's quite the trip and actually feels somewhat like it does to be on the road with a traveling band (I've been there.) "Earning your stripes" you will progress until you become rock gods, all that without leaving your living room -- sounds like a deal.
Lastly, each instrument has their own dedicated section where you can examine your proficiency across the different difficulty levels while learning all the tricks of the trade, such as "hammer-ons" for the guitar. Amping things up one more level is the expert section called 'Epic Goals.' Here you will find the outrageous task in 'Rock Band' designed for the true die-hards. For an example of an 'Epic Goal' how about 'Hopo-Cidal Maniac' which asks you to play 53.596 hammer-on/pull-offs without strumming on the guitar! Huh, can people do that? There is absolutely enough game to keep you busy for a while... and if you get bored, well there is always the online music store.