We’re not the greatest gamers to ever grace the earth with our presence. It’s not likely that we’ll be onstage at an Intel Extreme Masters or Major League Gaming event, crushing the top 0.5% of skilled players in front of a live audience. It’s even less probable that we’ll play in front of a sold-out crowd at convention center concert, or go on tour with roadies in tow. But Rock Band 3, astoundingly, distills both these extravagant fantasies into attainable, and exhilarating, gaming moments.
We have been cheered on by a room full of people during demonstrations of percussion-based prowess. We did rank among the top spots on the XBLA leaderboards for Pro drums – and by God, we worked hard to earn it. No other game has made us feel like a celebrity in our own home, or given us the thrill of actually performing in front of our peers.
Having poured dozens of hours into the game, there are as many milestones behind as ones that lie ahead. We thought our arms would fall off after mimicking the Foo Fighters drummer for “Everlong” on Expert Pro drums – yet it may be a lifetime before we’re skilled enough to make it to the halfway point of the ridiculous “Llama” by Phish. Heck, it’s been nearly two years since we bought the game, and we’re just now starting to get into the keyboard side of things.
And bystanders become participants in their own right. There may not be an onscreen point indicator for belting out lyrics from the sidelines, but it doesn’t feel any less enjoyable than it does for the singer holding the microphone. Cheering on your buddy during an impressive solo is just as much a part of the game as playing – as is dishing out some good-natured mockery when your drunken friend warbles their way through Freddie Mercury’s vocals in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The energy that Rock Band 3 propagates through partygoers is infectious – only the must curmudgeonly company would refrain from joining the fun.
Rock Band 3 stands at the top of its genre, waiting for a challenger to oppose its reign on the rhythm game throne. The fact that it incorporates all the DLC and songs of the Rock Bands before it renders them obsolete. With Harmonix (and they community they fostered) tirelessly adding DLC to the Rock Band Network, Rock Band 3’s growing library of tracks only accentuates the appeal of its immaculate mechanics. Now, if you’ll excuse us – we’re going to take another crack at finally getting five stars on the Expert Pro drums version of Dream Theater’s “Panic Attack.”
"Why _____ is one of the best games ever made" is a weekly feature that goes through GamesRadar's list of the 100 best games of all time and highlights different titles, explaining why they're on the list, what makes them so amazing, and why we love them so much.