(Rock Band for Wii, on the other hand, was not released until June 2008, which was nearly 9 months after the PS3/X360 releases. It was crippled. No online play. No downloadable songs. No create-a-player mode. No earning money and fans. No compatibility with the Guitar Hero guitar. That turned out to be the wrong move, because Guitar Hero III for Wii went on to sell nearly 3 million copies in the U.S., whereas Rock Band for Wii barely managed to sell 1 million.)
Anyway, I purchased Guitar Hero III on Wii at Target for $89.99 on 10/28/2007. Immediately, I fell in love with the concept. It seemed like the perfect amalgam of games and music and of accessibility and complexity. Eventually, I decided that I played the game enough with others to purchase a second guitar for another $59.99 on 3/26/2008.
In January 2008, one of my friends who had a PS3 decided to get Rock Band, and we formed a three-person band. When I got together with those friends for happy hour, we would play Rock Band all evening long ("Run to the Hills"). When I played Wii with other people, then I would introduce them to Guitar Hero III. People of all ages and genders loved it. I continued to play a ton of these Guitar Hero/Rock Band music games throughout the spring and into the summer of 2008.
Unfortunately, one of the band members left (he literally moved away), so Rock Band was put on the shelf, but I still played Guitar Hero on Wii, continuing the momentum after Guitar Hero Aerosmith was released in June 2008. By the way, I thought the guitar parts on Guitar Hero III were more interesting and challenging than the original Rock Band.
With the release of Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour in October 2008, I decided that I would stick with the Guitar Hero franchise on Wii since I had already invested in two guitars. With Guitar Hero: World Tour having the full band experience and downloadable songs, I thought it made sense to stick with a known commodity on Wii. So I purchased it for $189.99 at Toys "R" Us on 10/26/2008.
Around the same time, my friend with the PS3 picked up Rock Band 2 (RB2). One of the cool new things that RB2 offered was the ability to play as a band via online play. That meant that my buddy who had moved could become part of our band again. We played online together from about October 2008 through April 2009.
My experience with Guitar Hero: World Tour (GH:WT), however, was not as satisfying as I expected. I found that RB2 was more slick and polished, seemed to be friendlier toward varied experience levels, and had more fun party songs. Also, some of the cool things about the Rock Band experience, such as individual "rock" meters, saving failed better members, and gaining/losing fans were not in GH:WT. The only advantage of GH:WT was a much better drum set for Wii, with elevated cymbals and Wiimote integration.
Eventually, I read the reviews about how the Wii port of Rock Band 2 -- which arrived two months late in December 2008 -- was actually great. It included all of the features from the PS3/X360 versions, such as online play and downloadable songs. By some miracle, Rock Band 2 Wii actually supported Guitar Hero Wii instruments, too, including the new World Tour drum set. It got me thinking.
Well, when the Circuit City chain of stores went out of business in early 2009, and I was able to get the Wii version of Rock Band 2 for 20% off (i.e., $39.99 instead of $49.99), I decided to pull the trigger on 2/2/2009. And I have never looked back.
I immediately stopped downloading songs for Guitar Hero: World Tour and essentially stopped playing it altogether. Instead, I became addicted to Rock Band 2 for Wii, because I substantially played the majority of the game in the solo band tour mode. That being said, I introduced the game to others whenever possible, and I hosted several Rock Band parties with non-gamers over the succeeding months. So I played a ton of RB2 on Wii throughout the rest of 2009, although I did not play it much on PS3 after April.
At the beginning of 2010, after I had previously switched jobs and got into a new happy hour routine, my friend and I ended up getting back into Rock Band 2 on PS3 again due to a lackluster lineup of new multi-player games. We basically played it throughout the year -- that is, until Rock Band 3 was released.
My buddy and I each worked a half-day on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 in order to pick up Rock Band 3 and play it all day and all night long. I had to wait until the next day to find the Wii version ($59.99 for the game) with the keyboard (purchased separately for $79.99) at GameStop, however.
I thought Rock Band 3 (RB3) was fantastic. It was backwards compatible with the songs downloaded via RB2, and it even allowed you to export 95% of the songs from the RB2 game disc to RB3 -- yes, even the Wii version. The gameplay took the best of Rock Band 2, and it was even more polished and streamlined: Lots more emphasis on awards/trophies and scores. The "band" component was pervasive through the game. Even if you played as single-player or multi-player, the game kept track of individual scores. Great party features were included, too, such as changing difficulty or instruments during the middle of a song -- on-the-fly and without restarting -- and rewinding a song by a few seconds if someone pauses. I would be remiss if I did not mention the new Keyboard (aka "keytar"), which was very cool. I should have played that instrument more.
Rock Band 3 was definitely my game of choice on both Wii and PS3 for the remainder of 2010, throughout ALL of 2011 and 2012, and even into 2013. My friend who had left the area in spring 2008 ended up coming back in spring 2011, so he was even able to rejoin the RB3 band!
Overall, I hope this story illustrates why Rock Band 3 (incl. RB2) is my favorite game of all time. I can't tell you how many thousands of hours I spent playing this series since 2008 -- with my gaming friends, by myself, with family, and even with non-gamers. It provided me with so many fond memories, and it even introduced me to a ton of old and new music. I love it.
As you probably know, all of the downloadable content (DLC) from Rock Band 2 is compatible with Rock Band 3. On the Wii, you will want to have an SD card in your system to store the songs. Rock Band 2 is compatible with a 2GB (or smaller) regular SD card. Rock Band 3, however, will work with an SDHC card up to 32GB -- that is, assuming your Wii system is v4.0 or later, which can be checked in the system options.
Here are the calibration settings that I used: -5ms Audio Offset and +5ms Video Offset.
If you look at the list of songs below that I have purchased, you will notice that it is quite a diverse set list. That's because I downloaded some songs specifically for Rock Band "parties" that I thought friends and family would enjoy. Personally, I love '80s metal/hair bands and 2000s nu metal, emo, and post-grunge -- less so on classic rock from the '70s or alternative/grunge from the '90s.
Within my Rock Band music downloads, I bought 115 songs for Rock Band 2 from February 2009 until October 2010. The remaining songs were purchased via Rock Band 3.