RB3: Expert Vocal Domination, Thoughts

I finished my main pass through Rock Band 3‘s Expert vocals this week, which turned out pretty well. The totals: all 83 songs gold-starred, 63/83 FCs (100%’s), and 8th place overall at 14 million.

The vocals haven’t changed much since Rock Band 2, either in mechanics or difficulty. The most daunting song, at least initially, is “Good Vibrations,” first because the melody line jumps all over the place, and then the end of the song hopscotches from one background vocal to another. Thankfully, Practice mode is finally available for vocals, so you can load up specific sections and practice them.

After that, the hardest song, in my opinion, is “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but even that isn’t too tough once you get a feel for the crazy vocal break in the middle. Some of the top vocalists believe that the vocal engine is a little stricter this time around, but I haven’t seen any evidence of that, as I suspect it’ll be even easier to finish off my remaining 20 FCs than it was in RB2.

Unfortunately, like the rest of RB3, a few annoying bugs have crept into the mix. Even if you get “Awesome” ratings on every phrase, there’s a glitch where the game will drop a few ticks and you can still end up with a 99%. There’s also a weird problem where the game occasionally stops responding on talkie parts, but exiting to the menu and restarting the song usually clears it up. Not gamebreakers, but a little annoying.

I think I actually find vocals more satisfying than the other instruments. Because it’s the most forgiving in terms of the game grading you, calibration headaches become non-existent. And because you’re actually singing the real melodies and not performing some abstract interpretation on a plastic instrument, it feels more rewarding when you get it right. I wish harmonies were supported over the Internet, because the times I’ve had good singers at my place to do Beatles stuff, it was a ton of fun, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” would be a blast.