Rock Band 3

Rock Band 3 Wireless Pro-Drum and Pro-Cymbals Kit So I’ve finally got my own copy of Rock Band 3 (thanks to Perry and Sathana). But I’ve also been playing it previously over at Chad’s and also at Ryan’s place.

Here’s my initial impressions.


I wasn’t actually that impressed with the new song list. There were a few I recognized, but I think it’s gotten to the point where most of the popular songs have already been released and the ones that aren’t either are in the works of being released or the rights holder aren’t cooperating.

Existing Song Upgrades
No one was quite sure how’d upgrades would work, but with the recent release of Bon Jovi’s Greatest Hits 12-track DLC, Harmonix has announced the following:

Hey gang,

Sorry for the confusion surrounding the DLC announcement this week. The information I posted earlier may not have been the most helpful, partially because it wasn’t entirely correct. A lot has happened in the last two hours. The long and short of it is that we’re going to have new RB3 files that add keys and harmonies as well as add-on content that enables Pro Guitar and Pro Bass. The new information is that the add-ons for Pro G/B should be available for both the new RB3 file and your existing file.

To be clearer, this means there will be three files you can download in the future for Legacy DLC songs where Pro Guitar/Pro Bass is being made available:

· The new “RB3 Version” of a song, including traditional GBDV, keys (pro and regular) and harmony vocals
· A “Pro Guitar/Pro Bass” upgrade for that “RB3 Version”, allowing you to have the whole experience
· A “Pro Guitar/Pro Bass” upgrade for legacy “RB2 era DLC”. This will skip Keys and Harmonies being added (those are only in the “RB3 Version”, but allow you to purchase the Pro Guitar/Bass add-on without rebuying the core song file.

To reiterate, if you stick with your RB2 legacy track and want to upgrade to pro guitar/bass – you will not have access to Keys, Pro Keys or harmony vocals. If you want that latter content, you need to purchase the “RB3 Version” of the file.

As for the Bon Jovi tracks coming out next week, you’ll currently only be able to get the Pro Guitar / Bass upgrades for the RB3 Versions of the tracks, but moving forward you should see Pro Guitar/Bass upgrade options for legacy re-releases. We’ll update this thread when we have a timeline for those add-ons. Sorry again for the mix up, and I’ll continue to clarify in this thread as more questions pop up.

In other words, people who purchased the original DLC are screwed if they want to get harmony + keyboard support. They’ll have to rebuy the RB3 version at full retail price of $2, rendering the previously downloaded DLC pretty much useless.


The gameplay had a bunch of enhancements which were greatly appreciated:

  • When someone failed, you can continue playing the song in No Fail mode
  • You can change difficulty in the middle of a song
  • It now shows you the difficulty of your instrument for the chosen song when you’re selecting the difficulty for your instrument
  • All instrument mode allows 7 people to play at the same time: guitar, bass, drum, keys, + 3 vocals
  • Song selection has a lot more filters
  • Song rating/recommendation will allow me to play songs I prefer and never show me songs I dislike
  • All songs are unlocked from the get go. No need to play career mode to unlock songs. I think there are still some Rock Band 2 songs I haven’t unlocked yet
  • When the game is paused or settings are changed in the middle of a song, it rewinds back 5 seconds and lets players prepare themselves
  • Players can easily sign in, drop out, and swap instruments

Changes I think would make the game better:

  • Don’t show or gray out modes that aren’t supported (e.g. Don’t allow me to select Harmony if there’s no harmony part)
  • Show the vocal score even if they’re not “considered” 1 of the 4 players


I was originally excited about the keyboard since I used to play the piano. However, I found the Pro Keys experience very lacking and complicated. Maybe because I’m more used to reading sheet music than little notes scrolling down the screen. I also haven’t gone through the training yet (if they have one), so maybe it’ll get better afterwards…

When I first started playing, I treated the keyboard like a computer keyboard. The screen only shows 10 white keys at a time, so armed with 2 hands and 10 fingers, I placed each digit on a separate white key. Unfortunately this made playing the keyboard very boring and I felt like I was typing instead of playing. I was told to actually use one hand instead of 2, which made a lot more sense as I believe the notes they tell you to play are really chords.

A big difference between this and the plastic guitars is that you can hold down notes on the plastic guitar and they’ll tell you which buttons you’re holding. This won’t count against you as long as you’re not strumming. However that option is not available for the keyboard and being disoriented with where my hands are when I’m always staring at the TV screen, I found myself wishing the screen would tell me which keys my fingers were touching, since it does count against you if you push down a key.


Honestly, the drums is now my favorite instrument. I can’t believe how much more fun adding cymbals would be! Rock Band 3 now supports Pro Drums which actually differentiates between when to hit the cymbals and when to hit the pads. I originally was going to just keep using my original RB1 drum set, but after finding out how much fun cymbals were, I went and purchased the RB3 drum set. $130 was a bit high, but they were just so fun!

The new drum set also supports 2 pedals. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I’m not skilled enough to need to utilize 2 pedals just quite yet.


All songs allows 3 vocalists now in both Solo and Harmony mode, which is pretty cool. What’s even cooler is that 3 people can sing a song in Solo mode on expert and as long as one of the singer is on key for each section, you can ace it. We were getting so many 5 gold stars Friday night.


Not much to say here yet since neither pro guitars have been released yet. The toy one with 102 buttons will be released on 11/16, retailing at $150. The one I want is the real electric guitar that supports Rock Band 3, but unfortunately that’ll be released in March 2011 and even more unfortunately at a retail price of $280.

I don’t know if I want to wait till March before trying Pro Guitar, but do I really want to spend ~$450 for 2 Rock Band 3 guitars?

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