I already blew way too much money on the last two rock band games... Damnit why do they have to make me want to do it again! Especially so close to Kinect!!!
We explore the details of Rock Band Pro and all the ways Harmonix's latest rhythm game might turn you on to real music-making.
Harmonix has taken a number of steps over the years to ensure that its Rock Band series is viewed as more than just a video game. But for your average fan, a lot of what makes Rock Band stand out are qualities that exist in the abstract, with terms like "business model" and "distribution platform" used to describe the studio's ventures into downloadable content and publicly available authoring software. With Rock Band 3, due in October, Harmonix once again intends to sidestep the constraints of what constitutes a video game--but this time, the result is something far more tangible to the average fan.
The most attention-grabbing new feature comes in the form of Pro Mode. While it's not entirely incorrect to think of it as a new, advanced difficulty mode--it certainly makes the game more challenging--Pro Mode is more aptly described as an alternate method of seeing and playing songs with its own version of easy through expert levels. It essentially replaces the simplified, color-coded note charts that you've been playing in music games for the past half-decade and turns them into, well, the song itself. Guitar parts show fret numbers, drum sequences distinguish between cymbals and toms; thus, you're pretty much playing the songs.
Standing between you and Pro Mode is a notable hardware investment. Depending on how many instruments you want to use with this new feature, you'll need to pick up some combination of the new keyboard peripheral, the officially licensed cymbal attachments for the drums, and/or one of two new guitars. Mad Catz is working on a Fender Mustang with a grid of buttons covering the fret board, while Harmonix is working on a Fender Squier that uses real strings and some nifty technology to decipher the notes and chords you're playing on the fly. The latter definitely has more appeal when you consider that it also functions as a real guitar if you plug it into an amp. Current Rock Band guitars will play the bulk of the game just fine--but not Pro Mode.
Harmonix has worked with Boston's Berklee College of Music to develop instrument and song trainers to ease players into the experience of playing these more advanced musical parts. Instrument trainers teach you not only how to physically play an instrument, but they also teach the musical theory behind the notations. With enough effort, you should be able to graduate from pecking at keys on a keyboard to knowing a full arsenal of chords when the time comes to try your hand at a real piano. At least, that's Harmonix's aim.
Like the dollar investment, there's going to be a bit of a time investment as well. What we saw of the trainers suggested a tool that's going to take some time to really appreciate. For example, the guitar trainers come with their own new visual language to master. Guitar chords come scrolling down the screen in a cluster of 3D bumps looking almost like the hills and mountains of a topographical map. This is actually a type of visual shorthand so you don't have to process the fret number of every finger you have on the neck--the bumps simply read as higher or lower depending on how far from your anchoring index finger your other fingers are on those frets. You're basically asked to develop a familiarity with this visual language to streamline the process of reading chords.
Elements like that are probably going to be daunting to the average fan. But elements like that are also capable of teaching the average fan to play a real instrument. There's no doubt that Pro Mode isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it's hard to deny that having that feature tucked away inside an honest-to-goodness video game whenever you work up the nerve to try it is pretty cool.
Fortunately, Harmonix still realizes that even as Rock Band 3 adds more in the way of bigger picture features, it's still a video game at heart. To that end, you'll find things like a more advanced character creator (feel free to morph your face around this time); story-focused cutscenes featuring your band; and new Road Challenges that mix up the standard criteria for success in a given song when just five-starring something doesn't interest you anymore. Every mode in the game, including World Tour, Quick Play, and those aforementioned trainers all feed into the same cumulative career score as well. You can expect the full game to be released on October 26.
@belgand42 - i never mentioned the drums, mostly because i agree that the direction they're taking is BEYOND stupidity. anyway, powergigs guitar looks to be the unholy spawn of a guitar hero controller and a childs guitar, and apparently thats what they were going for since it's supposed to still be compatible with the other rhythm games and accessible to players of all shapes and sizes. also hands-on time doesn't mean much to me since you're essentially playing with a work in progress device and not a final product. i'll wait for the review before i take a look at it.
I don't think the Pro Mode is aimed at people who cant play... but for those who can already pickup a real guitar and play I think this is a real treat.
It is a cool add on but if I wanted to play real guitar I would buy a real one. Also, this is the newest add on? Nothing new for you to do as of the game itself that DOESN'T involve online stuff. No story/ career improvement, no solo add on's for those who just want to play by themselves. The game stays the same for those who don't do online play. Believe it or not but some people don't play online.
Least with the controllers, you could plug them into the computer and use them as MIDI instruments. Its just a shame for example, that the keyboard controller doesn't have a mod/pitch wheel for this use OoOo actually, there appears to be a touch sensitive portion which could act as a pitch/mod wheel. Saved!!!
weeelll i had my mind made up already to get RB3 this year but theres no way guitar heros fake rock morphing can beat what RB has to offer...great looking game i cant wait :)
R.I.P. Guitar Hero. I don't think they will be able to get more realistic than a real guitar you can play in the game too.
Can't hardly wait!!!! Will also definitely be purchasing the new ION Drum Rocker Pro components too. Hopefully they've done some better QC on their cymbals by now... the third cymbal will be a great add-on, as well as the quieter and more realistic kicks....! AWESOME.
Hey people, why are you talking about learning or not learning to play a real guitar??? This is just a game, don't you forget that!
I play guitar for real and this new pro mode is intriging but probably not worth the cost of the guitar. Now if it was a high quality guitar that would sound as good as my Gibson plugged up to my amp then maybe... then it would be dual purpose. But to keep costs down I'm sure it will use cheap electronics and wood. I'll stick to 5 colored buttons in the video game realm.
or you could just buy a real guitar, probably for cheaper and just learn to play like everybody else, if the teaching on this game isnt ndone well then it is gunna end up giving people bad habits which just makes it hard to progress whilst learning
the one thing i really hate about this is they have practically ignored the drums, I mean great they added in 3 cymbals wooo. There is ONE thing that they needed to do for the drums, ONE thing, well really 2 but, add a cymbal where the hi-hat should be, and have a second cymbal under it so that it can distinguish an open and closed hi-hat. thats all they needed to do to make the drums more realistic.
I'm getting the Squier, seeing as I've been wanting to buy a guitar for a while now and this lets me play the game and play in real life, Pro mode shouldn't be too hard to get the hang of.
They should make a way that we can plug in real guitars that we already have into the game =P cause it would suck having to buy ANOTHER guitar just so that you can play Pro mode.
@Nosnitsttam I wasn't impressed with Powergig from my hands-on time with it. The guitar and especially the strings felt astoundingly cheap. The biggest issue, however, is how they're handling the drums. By going with something where you have no feedback, have to hold the sticks at a specific and somewhat awkward angle (e.g. no option to use a classic grip, only a very rigid matched grip), and not only don't have any bounce, but have to expend energy to stop the sticks? It seems like they just don't get it. Like they don't actually play music and are trying crazy ideas rather than something more realistic. There's a point to simulating as well as you're able and then another for going off into counterproductive directions.
@BigCNuggit As for official how about "I did it at PAX on the freeplay stage". I'm far more concerned with how they haven't announced whether there will be a pro bass mode. As a bassist this actually interests me far more than the guitar pro mode. Even better is the idea of modding my bass with openchord in order to use it as a controller. Why would I want to buy an official guitar that can also work as a guitar, when I can modify an existing instrument into working for the game?
I've always wanted to be able to play guitar, but I've never had the money for a tutor. I'm very seriously considering buying this.
Have I missed anyone announcing officially that you're good to go on pro mode drums if you have the original Ion set with cymbals??? Because I'm pretty much playing using the cymbals correctly already and I'm not going to spend more money to buy something I already have.
I'll buy the real guitar for sure!!! really nice! =D (I alreayd have one myselft, but never put the effort in learning it, now I don't have any excuses, lol).
Sounds interestingly awesome, but I probably can't afford it to play Pro mode, which would be the only mode of play for me... =/
@MillenialFair99 - check out the fender guitar they made. it looks pretty sweet. also, if you don't like this, you can try powergig, it also has a real guitar as a controller and was able to nab a few artists who shied away from the rhythm games like Eric Clapton. personally i cannot WAIT to try out the pro guitar. i have always wanted to learn but never made the jump. having the game TEACH you as you play sounds like a great way to learn.
I really hate that they're trying to teach "real" guitar. This better work, or they'll lose lots of my respect. Otherwise, I can't wait for the keyboard. :D
So there are two pro guitars? I'll take the Harmonix one to be sure. This is back on my to buy list.
I'm getting the Keyboard Bundle when it comes out or for Christmas my family loves playing Rockband.
wish I could get the pro guitar but it is to much. I'll just wait for the keyboard bundle to come down during christmas time
So very excited to spend exorbitant sums of money on the keyboard, the game and any number of DLC songs post-release. Thank you Harmonix for making the complete music video-game experience :)
- Release Date: Oct 26, 2010 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.