Much like how a lot of Guitar Hero fans might point to Guitar Hero II as being the best game in the series if not the financial/cultural peak, Rock Band fans will take a similar view to Rock Band 3. Released in October of 2010, Rock Band 3 took the already solid foundation of Rock Band 2 and expanded on it to an incredible amount.
The first addition was vocal harmonies which were functionally identical to the ones implemented in The Beatles and Green Day: Rock Band. Next, there was the keyboard, which was playable in two different setups. You had regular five button mode which charted they keys parts similar to guitar and bass parts, but then you also had Pro mode which allowed you to use the brand new keyboard peripheral to play the actual notes for the song on a two-octave keyboard. Also added was functionality for the drum cymbal expansions, allowing Pro Drums to be played where, once again, the actual drum notes would be played with differentiation for toms and cymbals.
In my opinion, however, the coolest addition was the Pro Guitar, which was a brand new peripheral that doubled as a fully functioning MIDI guitar (a more expensive controller that was an actual Squier Stratocaster was also available if you could actually find it), and was the first real foray in to using video games to teach you guitar (I said REAL, Power Gig.)
Every on-disc song in Rock Band 3 had Pro Guitar functionality, but for DLC songs the Pro upgrade was a separate, $1 purchase, which puts the price in line with the cost of a Rocksmith song. Not every DLC song had them implemented, but they usually made sure to put at least one upgrade out per week, and typically on the songs you’d want to learn like Smells Like Teen Spirit, the entire 2112 suite, or even Through the Fire and Flames!
On the subject of DLC, certain songs released before Rock Band 3 definitely featured great keyboard parts and harmonies, so in an effort to address this, RB3 versions of songs were released. These upgraded versions of the songs mostly kept the charting the same, but added in harmony vocals and keyboard parts. Reception to these releases were… mixed. A lot of criticism was thrown at the fact that they were a full-on new DLC song instead of a free upgrade for people that bought the songs already, and because of this, only Bon Jovi and Queen actually received upgrades in the end.
The addition of keys really helped to shape a lot of the main setlist, with iconic riffs like Break on Through, Centerfold, Walk of Life, and Werewolves of London all being part of the main game. That’s not to say the rest of the band was left out, of course, with songs like Roundabout, Crazy Train, and 25 or 6 to 4 providing ample fun for all instruments! Overall, 83 songs were featured making it in line with its contemporaries.
Of the 83 songs featured in Rock Band 3, 23 are currently playable in Rocksmith Remastered for a total of 27%. This is substantially lower than Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock‘s 39/36%, and on the lower end of the Rock Band spectrum in general.
|Artist||Song||Date in Rocksmith|
|Anthrax||Caught in a Mosh||03/24/2015|
|At the Drive-In||One Armed Scissor||N/A|
|Avenged Sevenfold||Beast and the Harlot||10/30/2012|
|The B-52's||Rock Lobster||N/A|
|The Beach Boys||Good Vibrations (Live)||N/A|
|Big Country||In a Big Country||11/13/2018|
|Blondie||Heart of Glass||N/A|
|Bob Marley and the Wailers||Get Up, Stand Up||N/A|
|The Bronx||False Alarm||N/A|
|Chicago||25 or 6 to 4||10/22/2013|
|The Cure||Just Like Heaven||03/19/2013|
|David Bowie||Space Oddity||01/17/2012|
|Deep Purple||Smoke on the Water||11/15/2011|
|Devo||Whip It *||N/A|
|Dio||Rainbow in the Dark||01/20/2015|
|Dire Straits||Walk of Life||N/A|
|The Doobie Brothers||China Grove||07/22/2014|
|The Doors||Break on Through (To the Other Side)||09/15/2015|
|Echo & The Bunnymen||The Killing Moon||N/A|
|Elton John||Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting||10/24/2017|
|Faith No More||MidLife Crisis||07/28/2015|
|Filter||Hey Man Nice Shot||05/31/2016|
|The Flaming Lips||Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1||N/A|
|Foreigner||Cold As Ice||09/30/2014|
|Golden Earring||Radar Love||01/30/2018|
|Huey Lewis & The News||The Power of Love||N/A|
|Hypernova||Viva la Resistance||N/A|
|Ida Maria||Oh My God||N/A|
|INXS||Need You Tonight||N/A|
|The J. Geils Band||Centerfold||N/A|
|James Brown||I Got You (I Feel Good) *||N/A|
|Jane's Addiction||Been Caught Stealing||02/17/2015|
|The Jimi Hendrix Experience||Crosstown Traffic||N/A|
|Joan Jett & The Blackhearts||I Love Rock 'n Roll||N/A|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||Free Bird||11/01/2011|
|Maná||Oye Mi Amor||N/A|
|Marilyn Manson||The Beautiful People||07/25/2017|
|The Muffs||Outer Space *||N/A|
|Night Ranger||Sister Christian||03/12/2019|
|Ozzy Osbourne||Crazy Train||N/A|
|The Police||Don't Stand So Close to Me||N/A|
|Pretty Girls Make Graves||Something Bigger, Something Brighter||N/A|
|Primus||Jerry Was a Race Car Driver||06/23/2015|
|Queens of the Stone Age||No One Knows||06/02/2015|
|Ramones||I Wanna Be Sedated||N/A|
|The Raveonettes||Last Dance||N/A|
|Rilo Kiley||Portions for Foxes||N/A|
|Riverboat Gamblers||Don't Bury Me I'm Still Not Dead||N/A|
|Slipknot||Before I Forget||N/A|
|Smash Mouth||Walkin' on the Sun||N/A|
|The Smiths||Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before||N/A|
|The Sounds||Living in America||N/A|
|Spacehog||In the Meantime||06/05/2018|
|Steve Miller Band||Fly Like an Eagle||12/05/2017|
|Stone Temple Pilots||Plush||12/22/2015|
|Swingin' Utters||This Bastard's Life||N/A|
|T. Rex||20th Century Boy||11/29/2011|
|Tears for Fears||Everybody Wants to Rule the World||02/28/2017|
|Tegan and Sara||The Con||06/25/2019|
|Them Crooked Vultures||Dead End Friends||N/A|
|Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers||I Need to Know||N/A|
|The Vines||Get Free||04/16/2013|
|Warren Zevon||Werewolves of London||02/26/2019|
|The White Stripes||The Hardest Button to Button||10/14/2014|
|Whitesnake||Here I Go Again||N/A|
|The Who||I Can See for Miles||N/A|
NOTE: While Smoke on the Water is an original recording, the version used in Rocksmith uses an alternate take of the guitar solo.
* Indicates a re-recorded version of the track.
On a personal level, Rock Band 3 is one of my favourite rhythm game setlists of all time. Choosing only 10 that I want to see in Rocksmith is a neigh impossible task, but here’s what I came up with:
At the Drive-In – One Armed Scissor
While the vocals might grate on you slightly there’s a lot of interesting musical ideas from the boys that would become The Mars Volta in this song. ATDI pack when?
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
Somehow, only one Beach Boys song has ever appeared in a rhythm game before. That said, Good Vibrations is a fantastic pick (and my personal favourite Beach Boys track) and depending on how it’s charted, could lead to some great gameplay and tones in Rocksmith!
The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1
A beautiful acoustic guitar part waits for you in this one that would be perfect for the new microphone mode, or really any other mode Rocksmith has. The Flaming Lips are my favourite band by a mile and I’d love to see them finally show up in Rocksmith Remastered!
Golden Earring – Radar Love
An iconic riff and a relentless guitar part make this classic rock gem a perfect Rocksmith choice!
Huey Lewis & The News – The Power of Love
Rocksmith has been on a bit of a run with fantastic 80s movie songs, but they’ve only scratched the surface of what’s there. Maybe the next 80s Mix Pack can kick off with this downright iconic riff and cross another classic soundtrack song off the list. It wouldn’t be the first Back to the Future song we get, after all!
Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People
When I got my PRO Guitar, this was the first song in Rock Band 3 that I was really able to get down perfect. It’s nowhere near a complex song, but as an absolute beginner this is what really helped me wrap my head around chords and I’m sure that people picking up Rocksmith for the first time would be helped by this one too. Plus, we’re sorely lacking in industrial and this would go a ways to fix that!
Metric – Combat Baby
a fun power chord filled song with a few arpeggios, we’d love to see a Metric Song Pack!
Night Ranger – Sister Christian
One of the best 80s ballads ever.
Paramore – Misery Business
Pure high energy pop punk that never turns it down. Come on, Rocksmith! We desperately need more Paramore in the game!
Phish – Llama
If Trey’s guitar part doesn’t kill you Mike Gordon’s bass part certainly will
Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle
Just think of the fantastic tone that this would come with! Combine that with a slick and spacey guitar lead and I can’t think of too many songs that would be more fun to play in Rocksmith.
This game is a fan favourite for many reasons, not the least of which is the fantastic setlist. Plus, the PRO-Guitar/Bass implementation means that pretty much all of these songs have great guitar parts to learn! Which of these songs from Rock Band 3 do you want to see head over to Rocksmith Remastered? Let us know in the comments below.