Rock Band 3



Advanced music sim with sexy girls, mild cussing, alcohol.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is about playing and enjoying music. If you play with friends, it’s also about playing music together as part of a team and helping each other out when you get in trouble. Note, though, that the nastier side of the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle bleeds through occasionally in the form of cut scenes that depict drunken musicians as well as some suggestive lyrics.

Positive role models

Players can dress their musicians in questionable, sexually suggestive attire. Plus, one scene shows them partying wildly on the roof of a skyscraper, waking up next to empty glasses and strewn underwear. They exude the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle.

Ease of play

Difficulty is generally in line with that of other music games. Assuming rookies choose the proper skill setting, they should be able to get into the swing of things fairly easily, regardless of whether they choose drums, guitar, keyboard, or vocals. Note, though, that the game’s Pro modes are exceptionally challenging and very nearly on par with the difficulty involved in learning a real musical instrument. The training sessions for these modes last hours and can be frustratingly challenging.


None, other than characters smashing guitars on stage.


Many of the game’s female characters -- both customizable avatars and non-player characters -- wear skimpy clothing, including extremely short skirts and busty tops. Also, a cut scene depicting a roof-top party ends with people waking up on couches with clothing -- including underwear -- scattered around them. Also, some song lyrics refer to love, sex, and even sexual organs, such as Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” which talks about “the size of your steeple.”


Strong profanity has been censored, but there are rare occurrences of lesser curse words, such as Swingin’ Utters’ "This Bastard’s Life.”


This game is a promotional platform for the scores of artists whose music appears in it.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One cut scene shows the band’s musicians holding drinks filled with what one presumes is alcohol. It also shows these same characters waking up hung over the next morning with empty bottles and glasses scattered around them. Plus, the track list includes at least a few songs considered by some to be drug anthems, including The Doors’ “Break on Through.”

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Available online?Available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:October 26, 2010
Genre:Music and Dance
ESRB rating:T for Mild Lyrics, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old February 25, 2011

Tween and up, some dodgy lyrics and scenes, 11+

I love Rock Band 3. It's so fun singing, playing guitar to, playing bass to and drumming to the songs you love. Some sex references in lyrics, some skimpy clothing on both men and women, some minor swear words like p**s, b***ard, d*mn, h*ll and a*s. Words like f**k and b**ch are muted and you can't hear anything. Some minor tobacco, alcohol and drug references. At one point your band drinks alcohol and gets drunk. Rock Band 3 has plenty of songs and since Rock Band 2 they have added the keyboard. This means you can now play guitar, bass, drums, keyboard or sing. You can create your own character and customise them with clothes, tatoos, make up, earrings, piercings, hats and more. Great game but slightly dodgy so only for mature kids.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 17 year old Written byheydude01 December 16, 2010
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written bySpaniard41 August 29, 2011

Not Innappropriate

The game is more about the songs and getting the hang of the guitar and drums. The cussing is in the lyrics of the song, and the girls are in the background as you are playing the song. If you are paying attention to the song you're playing, you won't notice.


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