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Ginger Staley

Revolutionizes Music Games

RockBand3 is to the original RockBand like the PlayStation 3 is to the original PlayStation.

The game has made huge strides in perfecting game play since the first music and rhythm game was released in 2007, and the game has lived up to all of its hype.

RockBand3, which was released on Tuesday, Oct. 26, takes what made its predecessors so hugely popular and then made it better.

The graphics, the set lists and the challenges are much more stimulating, yet those new to the game can still find something simple and fun in strumming, drumming or singing along to their favorite rock tunes.

But what sets RockBand3 apart from any other music game in the industry is the introduction of the “Pro” level of difficulty. No more joking that RockBand players are just wannabees with plastic guitars. This is the real deal.

Pro level requires a custom-made Fender Squier Stratocaster metal-stringed guitar or bass.

Both finger movement and strum movements are tracked to accord points. Players can plug their guitars or basses in, learn a song on RockBand3, unplug, and plug directly into an amp.

For children or those who don’t want to develop calluses or tune their strings, a 120-button pro guitar is also available.

This pro guitar simulates a song’s real finger positions and chords, and has six strings for picking and strumming, but does not come with the strenuous physical activity of playing a real guitar.

Another new addition to the instrument repository is a double-octave keyboard that can be played on its side or on its base.

For keyboardists, the “Pro” mode allows players to simply plug in their own full-sized keyboards to play along. Songs on the RockBand3 set list now include difficult keyboard or synthesizer parts.

For players who are bored with the typical guitar, bass, drums and vocals setup, the keyboard is an excellent way to spice things up.

RockBand3 has also corrected some of the more aggravating issues with the previous games.

When a player goes to resume play after a pause, the track will rewind for a few seconds to allow the player to continue without penalty. This makes it much easier for a player to adjust his or her guitar strap, answer a phone or rest a burning forearm muscle without botching up a perfect score.

RockBand3 also eliminates the mandatory playlists and allows players to choose whether or not they want to make their own playlist every time or to go with the predetermined ones recommended by the game.

Another great feature is player statistics. No more wondering who in the band screwed up the perfect score. All percentages, streaks, points and goals met are displayed after each song.

This helps players understand what portions of the songs, whether the first verse or the guitar solo, that they need to improve upon.

If there’s one downfall to the game it’s that not every song has been programmed to be played on the “Pro” level, and Harmonix, the makers of the RockBand lineage, has not given any official statements on whether they plan on retracking any of the older songs from the original RockBand, RockBand2, or older downloads to include the “Pro” mode or the keyboard parts.

Despite this, the game is still a win. Not only does RockBand3 help people learn how to play real music and develop fast sight-reading skills, it’s just downright fun. The visuals are spectacular and the character creation is more detailed than ever.

RockBand3 is, hands down, the best music game on shelves. It has more downloads, more statistics, more instruments, more precision, more challenges within each song, more difficulty levels, more musical variety, more character development and, frankly, more soul.