Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 09/09/09 | Genre: Music
What began as an idea with Frequency and Amplitude turned into a phenomenon with Guitar Hero. When corporate greed got in the way, Guitar Hero was left behind and the magic moved on to the Rock Band series. Rock Band continued to improve with Rock Band 2 but it was still missing "something." That magical "something" has been fully realized in the latest release from Harmonix: The Beatles: Rock Band. Like a teenager drooling at the sight of her "boy crush" idol, so too does the Beatles capture the magic and joy of arguably the greatest musicians that have ever graced our planet.
With an early review copy in hand, I took my Rock Band 2 Instruments over to a family gathering. Most of the family there were not gamers and several of them started whispering to themselves when I made several trips to the car to gather a Xbox 360, bag with drums in it, bass guitar, wireless guitar, and three wireless microphones. Setup was completed, the console was turned on, and all onlookers saw the magical introductory sequence of The Beatles Rock Band.
At first, I had to drag people over to play. I chose the quick play option so all songs were unlocked and we began with a easy songs. The nice thing about gathering in this type of environment is when you choose the Easy difficulty setting, no fail mode is automatically on. This ensures all skill types can play without fear of ending the song early. After a few songs, we had all ages fighting to be a part of the action. A 7 year old girl all the way up to an 81 year old grandma were singing, beating on the drums, and strumming on guitars. Most of these players would never pick up a controller and would normally be intimidated by any console.
The Beatles Rock Band comes with 45 songs on the disk. These can be unlocked via story mode or unlocked, from the beginning, in the Quick Play mode. Players can have up to three vocalists, a drummer, a bass, and a guitar player present for an unprecedented number of players at once. If three vocalists are playing, the harmony mode provides a wonderful way for players to each feel like they are playing an equal part of the magical Beatles lyrics.
Harmonix is planning DLC for the game that should eventually include every song that The Beatles produced. Some may be disappointed that only 45 tracks were included on the disk and that some of the hits are missing. When available, these songs will only be available to The Beatles Rock Band. Rock Band and Rock Band 2 will continue to offer a separate DLC catalog.
The Beatles Rock Band continues to refine the already near-perfect gameplay of Rock Band 2. Drummers will find that their star power is activated by playing the song without any additional notes. Other than this and the three part harmony, gameplay remains largely the same. This shows how mature the engine is that Harmonix has developed.
Harmonix has successfully capture the magic of The Beatles by delivering an experience that is easily assessable by all ages, easy to pick up, but hard to master. The Beatles Rock Band is an experience that all gamers should participate in and is easily one of the years best titles on all platforms.
Real Life Ratings
Despite some questionable lyrics that some may find offensive, The Beatles Rock Band is a safe and fun experience for players of all ages. This is one of those rare games that can bring families together and participate in some of the music that has changed our culture forever.