As we inch closer to the release of Rock Band 3 it’s becoming increasingly clear that this game features hundreds of hours of content. This month, we used some extended hands-on time with Harmonix’s latest creation to dive into several new features that fundamentally change the genre, including a brand new tutorial experience and extensive time with the new keyboard peripheral.

First, the basics: Rock Band 3 is compatible with all those expensive music peripherals you already have sitting around the house and your old song library. The small improvements to menu navigation make a huge difference to the experience, especially in party settings. Drum pad menu navigation can be disabled. Players can join and drop during songs and change difficulty mid-music. Band score and individual scores are now listed separately. Filters let you select which type of music you want to appear in your selectable song list, and you can rate songs to determine how often certain music shows up in random setlists. Taken together, these improvements help players customize the game the way they want to play it.

The more substantive change comes in the alterations to career progression. Everything you do in the game now contributes to your progression, no matter the mode. Over 800 goals exist – you can shoot for them purposefully by looking at a list, or you can wait for them to trigger automatically when you complete them during a song. The game still has a storyline following your band during its rise to stardom, but the plot is now modular and updates occur after certain criteria are met. For instance, creating and naming your band triggers a cutscene about the band getting together and agonizing over its name.

Career progression is now built around progressing through goals that unlock as you play in any game mode