It was only a few months ago that we were trumpeting Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock as one of the best music games yet. How quickly things change then, as here we are looking at a game that eclipses everything it offered.
The main core of Rock Band 3 is more or less the same, and all of your previous Rock Band and Guitar Hero instruments will still work with this latest instalment of the franchise.
This time though, EA is chucking in support for some slightly different instruments.
There's a new keyboard option, which lets you play using the brand new keytar instrument (sold separately, of course). It's certainly fun to play (if a little tricky getting the hang of it), but since around 20 of the game's 83 songs don't have keyboards and many of the rest only feature them as bit parts, expect to be standing around not doing much during some tracks.
Considering the keyboard costs a whopping £69.99 on its own, it might be wise to leave it for now until more keyboard-based tracks become available.
Meanwhile, the Pro Guitar option lets you play using one of Madcatz's new 102-button guitar controllers. The argument is that it teaches you how to play real guitar by holding the real chords you'd be expected to hold, but we think the idea's just madness, especially considering how expensive the guitar is (well over £100).
Wii Love Rock & Roll
Stick with the normal guitar/bass/drums/vocals combo then, and what's left is a great music game. Gone is the World Tour mode, meaning you'll no longer be forced to play set lists at various locations. This time, the whole game revolves around your band profile.
Thus, whether you're messing around with tracks in Quickplay mode or trying one of the new Road Challenges, (like hitting note streaks and activating Overdrive a set number of times), you'll continue to gain XP and fans for your band, while still feeling like you're progressing. In time, this lets you unlock more costumes, instruments and animations.
What impresses us the most about Rock Band 3 is that it forgets it's a Wii game. All the stuff that other game developers claim is impossible, or too difficult to do on a Wii, is here in perfect working order. Want to play some online multiplayer? Go for it. Fancy downloading a track from a choice of hundreds of downloadable ones? It's all yours. There's even an option to rip the music from Rock Band 2 (as long as you have a copy of the game and some Wii Points spare) and save it onto an SD or SDHC card.
Even better, they're all playable in Road Trip mode and all have their own challenges set for them as if they were part of the full game.
Rock Band 3 is about as complete a music game as you could hope. Do we recommend using the new instruments? Not necessarily. Does not using them limit the game? Absolutely not. Stick with the instruments you have and buy the game without the trimmings, and there's still plenty of new stuff to get stuck into.