Rock Band 3. What to expect.

We’ve already had one new Rock Band game this year, Green Day: Rock Band, so what changes have been made to the core gameplay for the third installment in the core series?

The third installment in the Core Rock Band series (ie, not a spin-off of any kind) has made room for a few additions to the Rock Band formula. These additions finally differentiate Rock Band and Guitar Hero more than they have been in the past. 2 of these new additions are quite noticeable, lets start with these.

First up we have a new type of plastic controller to hit those colourful notes with. No, it’s no an accordion, sorry to burst your bubble. It’s a Keyboard. Well, Keyboard/Keytar as you can play it in wither positioning without any effect on the gameplay. The keyboard peripheral itself is a half-size, 2 Octave keyboard (someone out there understands) so you won’t have to worry about playing with both hands if you’d prefer to worry about the placement of using one. To hit notes you just press the keys that appear in the coloured sections which are defined onscreen by the song. But, I hear you ask, why have so many keys if it doesn’t matter which you press? Well this is linked to the other major addition to Rock Band 3, Rock Band Pro.

Rock Band Pro is a new mode that Harmonix have come up with to spice up the Rock Band formula. If you are really into Music rhythm games you will know that fans are often criticised that they should learn the actual instrument. Well Harmonix were aware of this, and added Rock Band Pro to teach people to play the instruments. This new mode is compatible with Lead Guitar, Keyboard (that’s where the extra keys come in) and Drums. Now obviously the existing plastic controllers won’t be too compatible with learning its real-life form. Particularly that faithful guitar. Well that is why a new line of instruments have been made for Rock Band Pro, which will still work with the normal Rock Band modes. The Keyboard, as I’ve already explained, will tell you which bits are which colour in traditional RB modes, but in RB Pro you will be given the chords and notes and tasked with hitting them correctly on the peripheral. The Drums have had 3 new symbols added, so now your Drum Kit will effectively be a Drum Kit.

The Guitar was always going to be the most awkward of the three to incorporate into this mode however. Harmonix realised this too. You see, one of the things that put people off Guitar is how the strings feel on the fingers. Harmonix know this doesn’t appeal to all players, and that the strings can be uncomfortable. But they have the solution. 2 types of RB Pro guitars! Yes, in total there are 3 types of guitar compatible with Rock Band. The traditional 5 coloured button guitar, which everyone and their mum knows about. The 2 additions are as follows. The first is a full-scale and fully functioning Guitar which is compatible with your chosen console. Basically you have a real Electric guitar with Console specific buttons added. The other, which is how they get around the strings problem, is a 102 button guitar. It still has the Strings to pluck at the bottom, but for fret placement there is a vast array of buttons on the neck to press. Both of these new guitars are compatible with the already existent Rock Band modes.

Another addition to Rock Band 3 include the harmonies seen in both the Beatles and Green Day Rock Band games. Wherein there are 3 mics and each player sings together in, you guessed it, harmony.

As for the setlist, the Rock Band 3 disc is being shipped with 83 songs, in which many emphasise the use of Keyboard. And Rock Band is still compatible with the back catalogue, meaning by the end of 2010 there will be a total of over 2000 songs to play.

The all new Rock Band 3 experience is expected to ship in Europe on October 29th 2010 and will be available for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.

About Nick Duggan
I'm 19 an I study Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University. I'm a video gamer and also a Yu-Gi-Oh! collector/player. Twitter: @30DiedOnMars

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