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Review - Beatles Rock Band

The Beatles Rock Band

Title: Beatles Rock Band
Publisher/Developer: Harmonix/EA
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox , Wii
Release Date: 09/09/2009
Number of players: Single player, Multiplayer up to 6 players local/online

I’m not sure what to tell you that you may not have already surmised for yourself about this title, especially if you’re already familiar with both products in this particular package. Rock Band started as the natural evolution of a music game, taking Guitar Heroes lead (Pun count: 1) and upping the ante by bringing the whole band back together.


Beatles Rock Band is a marriage of a substantial library of the Beatles classic music together with Rock Band gameplay chronicling the careers of a band whose legend has overshadowed and/or inspired many generations of artists and fans. The game sorts very highly Beatles stylized visuals with are a treat for the eyes. Some of the music videos are so absolutely splendid I had to repeat a song several times just for a peak.

Beatles Rock Band

The initial selection is quite good, though a few crucial songs are missing from the initial lineup. However, Harmonix promises there will be much affordable DLC for this title, indeed All You Need is Love is already available for roughly two bones. So nothing to complain about there in the long run, unless you’re one of those cheap bastards that’s unfamiliar with/sneers at the long and practiced habit of Expansion Packs, or how much cheaper and more selective this variation on the process can be.

As for gameplay, I’m not going to lie. It’s called Beatles Rock Band for a damned good reason. That being it’s Rock Band that’s been invaded by the English. Your standard scrolling tape, guitar mashing, drum thrashing and power chord belting karaoke functions are alive and unchanged, for better or worse. Lyrics scroll by, sing when they hit the right part. Ditto for pounding the skins and strumming the cat gut. Simple, but complex.

Beatles Rock Band

I think the hit timer for the guitar chords is a little merciless as always, but then again I’m a light weight at musical games. I’m such a wussy, in order to create a musical game I can excel at, you’ll have to wait for the upcoming title Kazoo Hero to see me on a score board somewhere.

The typical world tour shenanigans of previous Rock Band titles has been replaced with an adventure through time as you relive The Beatles careers. I’m a little bit concerned that this may muck with the difficulty curve slightly, but overall so far it feels like a strong feature so far.

Beatles Rock Band

The only real drawback to the Beatles Rockband title I can see is, and this may shock a few readers, there are actually a few people out there who don’t like The Beatles. Some of these people tend to offer bizarre explanations such as “I only like the Dark Metal Beatles Remixes” or even “Why didn’t they do more techno”? These people puzzle me, I admit, however this is not to say there are no perfectly legitimate reasons not to care for The Beatles. Some people just aren’t in to anything before the eighties or nineties, or a slew of other reasons. For such folks it’s a good idea to keep a copy of Vanilla Rockband around to keep the party rolling.

The Review

Storyline:

While there is no “story” per se, the game does take you through the tours and recording sessions throughout the career of the Fab Four.

Gameplay:

Could have used some fine tuning on the guitar controls, the timing seems a fraction of a second off on strumming, like you should be able to whack it just a little sooner than you actually can. I don’t know, if they had to make a setting called ‘babies first guitar mode’ as some sort of handicap. Then again, we all know some HDTVs have a bit a lag in the calibration. This could have been the cause.

Music:

It’s The Beatles. This is a score as subjective as your own musical tastes. It could very easily range from 0 to 5 and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No matter how ill informed and simplistic that may be.

Graphics:

Like a trip to another world, gorgeous bubbly, vivid and surreal all at once. The best music title images I’ve seen yet.

The Good:

This may be the irresistible lure you need to get your dad to come over with a six pack and rock out with you that you’ve been looking for. It may lure your mom out of the office to try her hand at drums. And it may also fulfill some lifelong fantasies for them as well. This is a game that can be for everyone. You, your girlfriend, your mom, your dad and given I’m older than I think, maybe even grandma.

The Bad:

Some people might not care for The Beatles. Granted that kind of person is best not invited to a party to begin with, it wouldn’t hurt to have a copy of the original Rockband around too.

The Ugly:

A few people will doubtless scream in fury over the tracklist, but there had to be some cuts. The Beatles wrote, like, almost three hundred songs, people. And there are a few people out there that won’t listen to music which does not espouse the might of Satan, or capping the cops and smacking the bitches who won’t be happy until Rap Band Compton and Deathmetal Band are released.

Overall:

By no means a perfect game, but a damned enjoyable trip back to a time where things were simpler, and musicians could be loved and adored without pierced nipples and drive by shootings. Something a healthy portion of the population can enjoy.

Final Vote: 4/5

Editor’s Note:

While I would have loved to include a review for the new hardware added with The Beatles Rock Band, sadly, at the time of this review, we only had out standard Rock Band instruments for use with the software. Hopefully we will get a chance to revisit this title again later with news of the DLC and a review of the new instruments.

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