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Generally favorable reviews- based on 123 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 123

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  1. Oct 26, 2010
    Everyone has talked about how the rhythm gaming genre has been in slow decline for years, but fortunately no on at Harmonix took these claims seriously. Rock Band 3 innovates that game in nearly every way possible and includes nearly all features that fans have requested for years.

    The biggest innovations are the addition of keys and Pro Mode. Keys(a 2.5 octave midi keyboard that can be
    played sitting or as a keytar) adds the last traditional rock instrument to the mix. With keys and harmony vocals(as first seen in The Beatles Rock Band) you can now have up to 7 players simultaneously rocking out. Pro Mode is Harmonix's response to the ever present question, "Why don't you just learn to play real instruments." Playing Pro Mode on Expert, that is exactly what you're doing. You're playing the actual guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard parts.

    While not as flashy, the new song management system is crucial for Rock Band players with hundreds of songs in their collection. Also handy is the ability to save custom playlists. The song selection is a great mix of classic hits, new stuff, and deep cuts. The only cons I can see:
    1. A few songs from RB1 and RB2 won't transfer into the RB3 library.
    2. Gone are crowd-singalongs for RB3 on-disc songs.
    3. To get the full Rock Band experience you need to spend a lot of money to get a pro guitar, keys, drum cymbals, and all the great DLC that is available. All in all this is a landmark game, and the pinnacle of the rhythm gaming genre.
  2. Oct 26, 2010
    Rock Band 3 is a shining example of innovation at work. While the competition has focused on incremental upgrades, Harmonix went all out with their newest game. There are an array of minor changes that can be expected in a sequel, but the true star of the show is the keyboard and pro modes. Keys add an exciting new instrument to the mix and are a blast to play. There are a handful of boring songs, but all in all, it is a refreshing addition to rhythm games.

    Pro mode turns Rock Band 3 into less of a videogame, and more of an instrument to learn how to perform real music. There are extensive tutorials that lay a strong foundation for anyone who is serious about learning to play for real. Due to hardware delays, I have not had a chance to play with the pro guitar, but I am very excited to get my hands on it in the future.

    I know that most people who play rhythm games are not interested in learning how to actually play music, but I must applaud Harmonix for having the boldness and bravery to go forth with the concept. Rock Band 3 transcends videogames and becomes something much more important. In twenty years, you will read an article in Rolling Stone about how a popular musician was inspired from playing Rock Band 3.
  3. Oct 27, 2010
    To be brief, this game is a masterpiece among the video game industry as well as the music. There is so much to do here, from diddling a keyboard on pro mode, confusing your hands on pro drums or just simply singing back-up for one of your friends. If this is were they end the series then they will be ending on a high note. ( Unlike some companies)
  4. Oct 28, 2010
    Flawless rhythm game. Interface is outstanding. Game runs smoothly. Adds keyboards and pro guitar ... if you're into that kind of thing. I'm a little disappointed that you must pay to transfer songs from Rock Band 2 (since I already have paid for that game) but so it goes. Not sure where Harmonix can go from here. This is the evolution of rhythm gaming.
  5. Oct 31, 2010
    While the music genre is arguable falling in the past year, Rock Band 3 has shown that it is still fun to play. The menu system has been given a fresh new look that is much easier to understand and navigate, and the fun of grabbing friends and family to play the tunes you love is still as strong and now easier to get to. The real disappointment is just how similar the game is to its predecessor, Rock Band 2. The gameplay and the visuals are the exact same, not to say that those are bad things though. There are two new additions, keyboard and pro mode. I did not have a chance to use the pro mode, but i did use the keyboard/keytar. It works, but the whammy/overdrive buttons are awkward to use. In all, this game is still fantastic, but its pretty much more of the same thing. But dont we all need more Rock Band? Expand
  6. Nov 2, 2010
    This is the music game that the genre has been waiting for and the possible savior that it needs. Taking the only good part of Guitar Hero (the drop in/drop out) and improving it, then adding keyboards, harnony vocals from The Beatles Rock Band and getting rid of that repetitive World Tour Mode you have the apex of rhythm gaming. I'm not going to mention Pro-Guitar although it's a very interesting idea because I have not played it myself. But even without it this game is a must have if you have any interest in this genre. I will say that Pro Keyboards while supremely difficult are quite well done and fun. This will be a stand out instrument once more DLC featuring this instrument is made available (such as the upcoming Billy Joel stuff).

    They have taken the challenges of Rock Band 2 and worked them into a very endearing set of challenges to make up a tour that should take you about a week. This mode is complete with videos that for the first time feel like they give your band members a personality. These are hysterical the first time you see them and you really start thinking of your characters as a real band. Not only that but everything you do even when you just mess around playing songs in the quickplay mode it counts towards your band progress and unlockable clothing. There were a lot of complaints about the setlist early on mostly because the bands for the 2000's were not really well known, but most of those songs grow on you if you give them a chance. That is the beauty of Harmonix games, they can turn you into fans of new bands and show you that there is more to music than your own jaded point of view. For example you do discover that Amy Winehouse despite her personal problems is talented at what she does or that Metric have a really great sound. I think that all the positive reviews from critics and players alike is proof that this is a great game. I know the genre has suffered from over exposure and the fact that in general a rhythm game is just trying to hit the right buttons to play the song the best you can. However, Harmonix have taken that as far as they could with this edition. There are a few things that could've been better, but they are minor and do not affect the fun such as when you have more than 5 or more players you still only see 4 on the screen or that in all instrument mode which is the mode that is required to have bass, guitar and keyboards on a song the vocals are not scored. But this game is about the fun and easy to use interface. If you have an open mind this game will make you happy.
  7. Oct 31, 2010
    Great Game, but still hase it's bad moments. Music selection is awesome, and the keyboard great, but the presentation isn't as good as Rock Band 2. I also dislike the camera changes and how they don't go very well together. Singing is great. Exporting Rock Band 2 songs is available, but sucks because some songs aren't there. But it's just rock band, so I will have to give it a 9/10
  8. Nov 12, 2010
    Ok Pro mode is the next great step in the music game genre. That said, the game itself is great in every standpoint, except the music list, I felt like the 83 tracks on this game were a little stale. Maybe 10 of the songs were anything i was remotely interested in playing, porting my old music over fixed that problem though. All the minor changes in my mind are what shines the most, dropping in dropping out mid song with no penalty, pausing rewinds the track a few seconds. not having to make money to buy clothes, the list goes on, its a fun experience right out of the box , none of this grinding through the story mode too unlock songs, all around i am enjoying this experience very much. Expand
  9. Sep 13, 2012
    Rock Band 3 is very easily the best music game ever made. Why? The reasons are endless. The new keyboard controller, along with backing vocals, means up to 7 people can play at once. While the keyboard isn't always the centre of attention in most songs (sometimes only making a brief appearance), it is still a fun addition and can actually teach you to play keys. There is also the opportunity to invest in the pro guitar controller, which for the longest time has been the genre's biggest gripe. Why don't you play a real gui..WHAM! It is the next best thing to learn to play bar tutoring. There's thousands of songs to play (which is all fully exported from previous titles) which can range from pop to death metal, from the 50s to now. The range is simply unrivalled anywhere else. And combine that with a smart menu design meaning finding the songs you want isn't a chore, you got a game that is as close to making you feel like you're playing in a band as you can get.

    Whether you're playing alone, with friends, online or offline, real guitar or plastic controller, 4,000 songs or just the 83 on-disc, just know that you absolutely must buy and play it if you have even the slightest interest in music games, music or just gaming in general. The more you put into the game, the more you get out.
  10. May 22, 2011
    The best music game ever made. Harmonix have proved that they can still make fantastic and engrossing music games. My only complaint with this game is that there are way too many songs from older generations. A teenager such as myself, only know about 9 out of the 83 songs. Which is pretty sad, I know. This game on a song list stand point doesn't appeal to teens as much as it did with Rock Band 1 & 2. I also don't like how they stole away the hole "world tour" mode. You don't feel a sense of progression in the mode. Regardless, it is still the best music game in my opinion. It's a lot of fun with tons of modes, customizations and instruments to use. Expand
  11. May 25, 2011
    Harmonix has done a great job. The only thing that keeps it from being a 10 is the game does not remember your previous option settings. If you prefer full chord numbering or breakneck speed, you must reset those options every time you start the game. Pro guitar/bass is great. I am playing it with both the Mustang and the You Rock Guitar and am learning to play real songs! The training sessions are very well done and Harmonix continues to support the game with great weekly DLC. Expand
  12. Nov 21, 2011
    Rock Band 3 is easily one of the best games I have ever played. Harmonix did a fantastic job on this rhythm game. The song playlist is huge; most of my favorite metal bands were on the Rock Band Network. I frequently play this game with my friends instead of Call of Duty and Guitar Hero. Overall a great music game; I really couldn't find that many things wrong with it.
  13. Dec 6, 2011
    Yet another great effort by the guys at Harmonix. While many would argue that the rhythm game market has slowly began to shrink, Harmonix are making a quiet riot (Spot the nod to a certain band?) and a lot of people are starting to take notice. I've been a big fan of Harmonix ever since Rock Band (the original) and an avid player. I personally feel that while Activision sold out with Guitar Hero, Harmonix kept it innovative and fresh. On with the review:

    Gameplay (7/10): Harmonix managed to make the singleplayer of Rock Band 3 better than that of Rock Band 2 and the original. They've trimmed the excess fat and made the game linear without cutting out any of the good parts. It plays well but once you've finished it, it struggles to keep you entertained.

    Graphics (8/10): The graphics for Rock Band games have always been cartoon-y, and in most games people would laugh it off, but the great part about Rock Band is that it doesn't take itself seriously, and for that reason the graphics are good enough to enjoy. They won't hurt your eyes while playing (Although some of the backgrounds have incredible levels of strobe lighting that can be very distracting), but all in all they are sufficient.

    Sound (10/10): This is the reason Rock Band excels in what it does: The quality of every instrument comes through in the tracks, and most of them have been recorded to such an efficient level that its like you're listening to an MP3 track rather than playing it through a game. There is no distortion or problem with any of the tracks, and they are crystal clear in their delivery. Simply amazing.

    Multiplayer (9/10): Increasingly, playing with other people has become the mainstay of Rock Band, and let's face it, why would you play on your own when you can jump online and complete any song you like, story-mode or quickplay, with up to three other players? It makes the whole experience feel more enjoyable and there's few things more gratifying than finishing a song and seeing your band manage 97%+ all on Expert. The Quickplay mode is surprisingly long-lasting and even now (Having the game for over a year) I still enjoy playing online with people across the globe.

    Lasting value (9/10): This game really does have so much to keep every type of player interested. Just want to sing I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones for a bit of nostalgia? Hit Easy mode with the No Fail Mode and wail to your heart's content. Feel like getting some practice in? There's plenty of tutorials for every single instrument to hone your skills and make you the player that you want to be. Just fancy making your character look like a proper rocker? Hundreds of clothing options are open to you to customise to your content. Or are you perhaps the kind of player who won't settle for second best, and wants to 100% every song on Expert? Hiscores for every instrument and every song with detailed tracking give you the choice.

    With constant unlocks to make the game fluently develop, a strong online fanbase and a constant flow of songs for the serious fan, Rock Band will drag you kicking and screaming back again and again. Any small flaws can be overlooked because - Take it from the guy who spent a long time getting to a proud 6th in the world on Stand For Something by Skindred once upon a time - this game is addictive with a capital A.
  14. Jun 20, 2012
    This is SO much better than Guitar Hero. These guys aren't soiling the series by releasing 5 games in one year. Plus, the music is fun to play, and this game really packs a punch. It's also easy to get addicted once you start playing. The songs are good, and so is the downloadable content. Even the venues and backgrounds seem realistic, and the graphics are pretty good, even though that's probably not why someone would play this game. Overall, great set lists (especially downloadable content), good graphics, and really fun. This game gets a 10 out of me. Expand
  15. May 29, 2012
    This game is fun and great songs. You might want this game and get instruments. It is like a family game and the price is right. Also i wanted to see if i could get the rating to go up, but i meant everything i said.
  16. Nov 1, 2013
    This game is truly the game for any rock, metal, prog, alternative, hell, this is the game for music fans in general. First off, the songlist. I think everyone was sold on Been Caught Stealing and Free Bird, but let me go a bit further. There's pop-rock(Paramore), alternative rock(Queens Of the Stone Age), classic metal(Dio), heavy metal(Avenged Sevenfold), emo rock(H.I.M and Slipknot) and classic rock(Jimi Hendrix) among so much more. And if you don't like any of them, buy Rock Band 1 and 2 which had superior setlists and export them.

    ...Wait, why does Hysteria freeze the game? And Countdown to Insanity? Ahem.

    So the game isn't short of flaws. World Tour has been unfortunately replaced by Road Challenges. Play several setlists well with special requirements such as getting perfect sections or keeping Overdrive going to score spades for Bronze, Silver and Gold... things. Medals? They don't look like 'em. This game could've used World Tour. REALLY.

    Another problem is the lack of game modes. As I said, Road Challenges are the main game mode, and Quickplay accompanies it, as you'd expect. But there's... nothing else. You just expand your fanbase by completing 'goals' and once in a while, unlock cutscenes. Unlocked the final cutscene where your band gets tired of it all and fakes their death? Break continuity by immediately playing H.I.M in Heebie Jeebies. Hell, once you've finished the cutscene path, you HAVE finished the game.

    This game is amazingly fun to play it just could've had more to do.

    Graphics 7.5 out of 10: Not anything special, really just RB2 with a bit more polish
    Sound 8.5 out of 10: RB1 was a 10 for this, RB2 a 9.5. Seems like they ran out of good songs halfway through making the game. Amy Winehouse? What?
    Controls 10 out of 10: The pinnacle of control revolutions. Like RB1 and 2. Y'know.
    Gameplay 10 out of 10: Amazingly fun.
    Replay Value 6 out of 10: ...until you've had enough for a day, that is.
    Overall: 8.8 out of 10

Universal acclaim - based on 57 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 57 out of 57
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 57
  3. Negative: 0 out of 57
  1. Jan 18, 2011
    No doubt, Rock Band 3 is the new reference in the musical game gender. With its simple gameplay and accurate in all instruments, its flexible interface and well thought career mode, it dusts off the old Rock Band 2.
  2. Jan 13, 2011
    Rock Band 3 have an amazing track list, an exciting new support for instruments and many challenges and rewards that will keep us busy for months. This is the best iteration in any musical saga to date. A must-have.
  3. Jan 13, 2011
    It's Rock Band as usual, but its newly implemented Pro Mode shows that people who have been unchallenged so far can have their share of fun. Bundled with a whopping 2000 songs waiting for you optionally, this game could be worth a sin.