Rhythm games are on the decline. And when something is broken, you change it. Guitar Hero's new customizable guitars is one way to do that. More revolutionary, however, may be Rock Band 3's Pro Mode, which lets you drop the button-mashing in exchange for playing almost-real instruments.
In the game, players get to wax on songs note-for-note, using new sets of controllers that are more life-like than your standard five-button slab of plastic. Three Pro Modes support the updated instruments, namely:
- Pro Drums. It will support an upgraded Rock Band 3 drum kit that includes a double-bass pedal and three new cymbal attachments. The game will also differentiate between toms and cymbals for more accurate play.
- Pro Guitar. This mode will support both the Mad Catz Fender Mustang Pro, which has six nylon-coated strings and 17 frets, and the Fender/Harmonix Rock Band 3 Squier Stratocaster, a functional electric guitar that can plug into the game.
- Pro Keys. For this mode, you will need the new two-octave, 25-key keyboard peripheral, which comes with a handle for keytar-style play.
While I've never been a fan of rhythm games, these new changes do drive up my interest. With the potential to actually teach players how to work with real instruments, it just might be the update that changes the fate of the slumping genre.
The actual Rock Band 3 game will come with 83 new songs and will be compatible with all downloaded songs, along with previous versions of the game. It's expected to be released, along with the new controllers, late in the year.