Rock Band 3: The Features


The news was on the street early that Rock Band 3 was adding keyboard to its rock instrument arsenal. This is true, and something I am looking forward to rocking in future parties, but there are a lot more changes in Rock Band 3 than just the addition of keyboards.

The addition of the new "Pro Mode" should silence any nay-sayers who were claiming that playing a Rock Band game is nothing like really playing musical instruments and that you don't gain anything valuable from playing them. Rock Band 3's Pro Mode takes the training wheels completely off, and drop-kicks them from the stage. When you're playing Pro Mode, you're actually playing an instrument. Your performance is scored based on midi data captured from the instrument. For those of you who might not be familiar with midi, it's a musical instrument interface standard for digital instruments, or Musical Instrument Digital Interface, to be more specific. Not only that, but the Fender RockBand 3 Squier Stratocaster guitar is a fully functional, full-sized, six-string electric guitar, allowing you to plug up to an amp and play music outside of Rock Band 3 or, in Pro Mode, plug into an amp and the game at the same time so people can hear your actual performance as you play.

Using the feedback and experience gathered from the launch of the various Rock Band products, Rock Band 3 is going to have several improvements over the previous titles and include special features found in some. One good example would be the number of players that can play at the same time. Rock Band 3 incorporates the three-part harmony that was used in The Beatles Rock Band. These are in addition to up to four players on instruments, allowing up to seven players to rock out together. In order to better manage having this many players, the jump-in jump-out idea has been fully fleshed out now, allowing players to join in or drop out without disturbing other players during gameplay - in all modes. Whether that frat guy passes out in the middle of the song or little Jimmy's parents came to pick him up early (hopefully two different parties), it's easy to quickly remove a player and replace them with someone else without stopping the game.

The focus of Rock Band 3 has been turned more towards defining the rock band itself, and the familiar still images or your rock band during loading screens has lead to animated, fully-rendered video sequences of your band, showing behind menus. This helps to define the band's character and it is pretty neat to watch your band strutting down the street in their hometown, looking like they're ready to scrap. There is also a new, linear narrative that your band will explore throughout the game, with key moments and vignettes that illustrate your progression from dive to super stardom, featuring your stylized characters. As your band gains new levels of stardom, the environments will change to reflect those of your gigs.

While you're working on improving your band's skills and scores, you can quickly and easily keep track of how your friends and their bands are doing, with seamless leaderboard integration and a suite of social networking tools built into Rock Band 3, allowing you to interact with friends via Facebook, Twitter and others.

Rock Band 3 will be released simultaneously this holiday season across North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other territories for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Nintendo DS.

RockBand 3
MTV Games