In the 1960’s, the world was experiencing Beatlemania. The four member band from Liverpool, The Beatles, went on to become one of the most iconic and successful bands in music history. Its been almost 50 years since The Beatles started their iconic status in the music industry and their music and legacy continues to this day with The Beatles: Rock Band. The creators of Rock Band, Harmonix, accepted the challenge to reinvent and reintroduce the music of The Beatles with this game. This is the first Rock Band game dedicated solely to the music of The Beatles. Harmonix had their plates full with this game, dealing with the legacy of The Beatles and at the same time trying to bring something new to their own Rock Band franchise.
In just the first few seconds after firing up the game, you will be amazed by the intro video to The Beatles: Rock Band. Its truly a great appetizer for the level of research and detail that is to come after the video ends. Once it does, you’ll head over to the Story Mode, choose your designated instrument, and you’ll begin to follow The Beatles decade long career from the beginner days in the Cavern Club, to the sold out concert in New York’s Shea Stadium, and ending it off at the Apple Corps. Rooftops where the last Beatles performance took place. Story mode is nine chapters long and can be completed well under four hours or so, but if you don’t manage to achieve five stars on some songs their is an incentive to replay songs. The game features unlockable photos and videos for managing to get a five star rating on songs, and they’ll even teach you a little something that even hardcore Beatle lovers might not know.
The Beatles: Rock Band plays almost identical to Rock Band 2, for each instrument. The only thing that has changed on drums is the removal of drum fills to activate your overdrive, which happens to be called Beatlemania in this game. When your ready to activate Beatlemania you’ll see a bright green highlighted note, hit it and you’ll enter Beatlemania. On the guitar, nothing has changed, at all, but it didn’t really need changing. Any additional feature on guitar would of just been unrealistic or cheesy, so if its not broken don’t fix it. Now on to the vocals, which does introduce a new gameplay feature, 3-part harmonies. Three of your friends can now all mic up separately and harmonize the words of a song. It may look confusing at first but its pretty easy, you just have to know whose singing in which tone and pitch. With three friends on vocals, one on drums, one on bass, and one on guitar, it introduces something new that can add a whole new fun factor. Although, in my household its quite difficult to get even one person to do vocals, three just seems unlikely even online I couldn’t find a singer. So the feature will probably stay unused until family get togethers or parties.
Graphically, The Beatles: Rock Band is solid, each Beatle actually looks like their real selves. Harmonix didn’t really go for the realistic looking characters where you can see every pore on John Lennon’s face; they look more cartoony. That in no way is a bad thing. Graphics are great but Harmonix really focused on the dreamscape visuals. Songs that aren’t perform in a particular venue are instead showcased by a unique dreamscape belonging to its own song. The visuals during the dreamscapes are incredible, colorful, and entertaining to watch, so you might wanna sit a song out just to see it. The main thing that catches my eye during a dreamscape is how Harmonix got these visuals to work so well with the music, they both compliment each other very well. Any of the dreamscapes in this game would be a great music video for any of the Beatles songs.
Having covered almost everything, lets get down to everything else. The Beatles: Rock Band offers only 45 songs on disc, which is low compared to today’s standard 80 plus songs on disc. Many of The Beatles classics are in the game but some are excluded like “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby'” which will be available as DLC in the coming months. Harmonix did improve the presentation of their song selection screen in this game. Now in the song selection screen you’ll see how many star you’ve gotten on a certain song, your highest score on a song, and what your friends highest score is so you’ll want to keep trying to beat their score. This may not be an impressive addition to most but Rock band users have been waiting for something like this and I’m sure they look forward to it in the next Rock Band installment. Taking The Beatles: Rock Band online is like playing Rock Band 2’s multiplayer but with The Beatles music. Online mode is simply a copy paste of Rock Band 2 and offers nothing really new.
If your a huge Beatles fan, buying this game is a no brainer even if it means buying the $250 bundle, that’s what any die hard Beatle fan would do. If you’ve never really got into The Beatles then maybe you should consider taking another listen by buying this game. Interacting with the music is so much better than just listening to them in your car. Harmonix succeed in presenting The Beatles in a respectable manner that fans of both The Beatles and Rock band will enjoy this game. Harmonix managed to add to The Beatles legacy and might have even helped reintroduce The Beatles music to a new generation, I certainly can say I’m a bigger fan of The Beatles now then I was before this game.