Rock Band 3 has greatly expanded on its predecessors; with new sorting features, the added keyboard as an instrument, and the new Pro Mode functionality, there’s lots of new stuff for those who want it, and you can still play all (well . . . almost all. Apparently, along with Metallica , RHCP and another band didn’t get/let their songs transfer. Pssh . Whatever.) of your old downloaded songs the same way if you want to.
New Features: 1) Can rate ALL songs. Kinda nice. 2) Can see the difficulty rating of the song for your instrument even on the screen before play, which we find VERY helpful. 3) New sorting features makes it easier to navigate the song lists . . . which is helpful when you have about 500 songs downloaded. 4) Supposed to be able to change difficulty setting mid-song. Never tried it, so I don’t know. 5) multi -vocals enabled, apparently, haven’t tried it yet, but 6) if you have more than 4 players signed in (one on drums, one on keyboard, one on guitar then another doing bass and vocals, for instance), they don’t count the vocals against you. I guess they’re presuming that the vocalist is also playing another instrument, and shouldn’t be penalized for not being able to look at both tracks at once. Worked well for us.
Keyboard: Anyone else see a Billy Joel pack coming out in the future for this one? The keyboard is a great new addition to Rock Band, albeit difficult for me to pick up. The controller is about half of a full keyboard, which considering the price, it’s not bad. There’s a keyboard trainer built in to the game, and if you want, you can always do the easy mode instead of pro mode. Which brings me to . . .
Pro Mode: Well, if you wanted to learn to actually learn to play the instruments, this is a step towards it: Pro mode is available for instruments to make the experience a little more authentic. Pro mode drums entails an added cymbal set (approx. $40 I think), which is GREATLY improved from its early cymbal set predecessors. Instead of 2, you get 3 cymbals, and you can hook up 2 foot pedals instead of just one ( . . . like I needed another one. But, if you want to do it, it’s there). Pro Mode for Keyboard uses all the keys, not just the five that are set for the normal mode. And if you have a MIDI keyboard, you can apparently use that instead. Then you get the Pro Mode for Guitar, which is going to cost you extra.
The Rock Band 3 song list is fairly good (I think all but one of the songs allows for keyboard play for the RB3 stuff, so that gives you something to play with until there’s more added on).
I think it’s safe to say that one of the best party games just got better.