Rock Band is the most advanced, feature-complete, polished game in the music/rhythm genre. If you liked previous music/rhythm titles or want to try one out, this should be at the top of your list. I loved Harmonix’s earlier titles, Frquency/Amplitude and the Guitar Hero games, but this really does push the genre forward.
While this is definitely my favorite, no one game is for everyone, so I listed some alternatives as well.
Reasons Why Rock Band is the best in the Music/Rhythm Genre
High Quality Instrument Controllers. The guitar is much nicer than the GH1/GH2 controller. I haven’t tried out the GH3 controller yet. The mic is nice and the drums are extremely well done (leagues better than Taiko Drum Master)
Three instruments to choose from: Most music games focus on one instrument, this has three: guitar, drums, and vocals (four instruments if you count lead guitar and bass guitar separately).
Great music selection of rock, punk, metal, and alternative.
Excellent for group play. This game is good for solo play, but this really excels if you have a group of two to four people to play with. GH2 had a basic co-op mode, but that was more of a neat side option, while Rock Band really provides a complete group co-op experience. This works great with families.
Most polished presentation. The play-time interface, the intros and background graphics, the menus, the options, the fleshed out career mode, and the tutorials are all top notch. A big step up from GH2.
Coolest play time extras. Did you love “Star Power” from GH1/GH2? This game has a lot more of those types of extras: guitar solos, drumo solos, vocal freestyle sections, “big rock endings”, microphone percussion sections, and a few other extras like that really make the game fun.
Online features and ability to purchase songs.
Supposedly, you can learn to play real drums through the game if you play on expert difficulty. Very nice!!
Reasons Why You Might Be Happier With an Alternative
Rock Band is expensive. At $170, it’s the most expensive game you can get. You get your value with the high quality instruments, I’m personally happy with it, but many gamers simply don’t want to spend that kind of money.
Clutter. The instruments, particularly the drums, take up a lot of space. I know many people who couldn’t tolerate giant toys like this in their living rooms and this game is not for them.
Music Style. This game has a great selection of various styles of rock and rock-variants such as “alternative” and “metal”. However, if you want electronica, or more pop, or jazz, or hip-hop, or classical music, you won’t find that in this game.
Guitar Hero 3: Rock Band does solo-guitar play fairly well, but if that’s really your focus and you really aren’t interested in drums or singing, Guitar Hero is more designed for this mode of play.
SingStar: Rock Band does karaoke well, however SingStar offers a much wider range of music (R&B, electronica), provides authentic artist recordings (not impersonators as in Guitar Hero and Rock Band), real music videos, and is more designed around karaoke play.
Beats: A $5 download for the PSP. This music game lets you use your own music collection rather than having to use special songs made for the game.
Piano (or keyboards). Ideally, you could plug-in real MIDI keyboards into the PS3’s USB ports. I’ve played Synthesia on the PC, but I want something a little bit more polished with a gentler learning curve.