Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
Rock Band 3
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rock Band 3 is a music simulation game that has players taking on the roles of musicians in a rock and roll group. Players will see some typical rock and roll hijinks -- including one cut scene that has the band partying on a roof top and then waking up hung over surrounded by empty glasses and strewn underwear -- but the focus of the game is on having people play music with their friends. The new “pro” mode combined with the game’s new keyboard and pro wireless guitar (both sold separately), all but teaches players how to read music, making this perhaps the most educational -- and also at times the most challenging -- music simulator yet released.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
ROCK BAND 3 moves the popular music game into a whole new realm of simulation, one in which people really learn how to play music. It stops short of actually teaching players how to read music (this is a game after all), but if you pick up the new keyboard controller and wireless pro guitar with an intent to make the most of them, you’ll find yourself spending hours training how to play these remarkably authentic instruments, and will likely come away with a pretty good idea of how to hammer out a few songs on real instruments. Don’t worry, though; you can still enjoy a more casual career mode designed for the franchise’s previously released instruments that includes a simpler way to play the new keyboard. Hundreds of career goals will keep players of all skill levels jamming away for months.
Is it any good?
Rock Band 3 is probably the biggest and most complex rhythm game yet made. The new optional peripherals allow for an authentic experience unlike that of any other music simulation game while career goals -- such as playing groups of songs on a particular difficulty or carrying off a set number of drum rolls -- create a new set of objectives that don’t revolve solely around marching from one venue to the next. Subtler improvements include the ability to drop in or out of songs whenever you like, easily change instruments and avatars between songs, and complete specific in-song missions -- such as pulling off a streak while under the spotlight -- in order to earn spades, a currency that unlocks new clothing and other bonuses. It’s not without its flaws -- the franchise’s graphics, for example, are aging and could do with an overhaul -- but by most meaningful measures it is an extraordinary music game.
Online interaction: This game supports open online communication. Players are at risk of coming into contact with other people using coarse language, uttering racial or sexual slurs, or soliciting personal information.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how listeners perceive the lyrics they hear in songs. At what age do children become aware that some lyrics are designed to shock rather than express a sincere thought or emotion? How are kids affected by lyrics suggestive of violence or sex?
Families can also discuss the sexually suggestive style of dress preferred by many pop female musicians, including the majority of those depicted in this game. Is it simply expected of them to dress in a provocative manner? Can you think of any female pop sensations who do not present themselves as sex symbols?
For kids who love rock and roll
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.