With the release of the highly anticipated Beatles Rock Band on September 9th, the question wasn’t if the game was going to be a success, instead how much success can this game have. As everyone is well aware, the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series have taken the country by storm, so it only seemed logical to have one of the more revolutionary video games ever created pair with the most revolutionary band in history. From the beginning, you are reassured about what kind of game you are about to play: a trippy, colorful, graphically amazing, psychedelic adventure that takes you throughout the Beatles career.
In my opinion, the Beatles Rock Band hosts the best story mode of any game in this genre. Since there are no other bands, you play as the Beatles in different landmark locations throughout their career; ranging from a hole in the wall pub, the Ed Sullivan Show, to Shea Stadium. All Beatles fans know about halfway through the Beatles lifespan, they stopped touring and became a strict album band. The story mode pays homage to this and half way through, you play the rest of the songs in the Abbey Road studio. To avoid this getting boring, during each song, the band enters a “dream like sequence” which ads to the visual dynamics of the game.
As many Beatles’ fans will tell you, the Beatles can be broken up in different times. Some people only like early Beatles while some people like later Beatles. Both groups of people’s needs will be met as they progress through the timeline that is the Beatles in the story mode.
Ironically, the Beatles’ music moves in the same way that the story mode in most of these music genre games do. The earlier music is “easier” and more fun to play while the later music, further in story mode, is much harder and complex. But the newest gameplay addition is the harmonization aspect that can be used with using up to three mics. Although a bit difficult at first, once you can master the harmonization, you will be surprised at how amazing you can sound.
The reward system in this game is based on historical artifacts. In the story mode, a picture is awarded after completing a song with 3 stars or higher, while another picture is given when you receive 5 stars. When you collect a certain amount of pictures, you receive other cool unlockables. These pictures and unlockables offer a view into several points of Beatles history. Although only a very small amount of history, these rewards offer a glimpse that many people would never have seen if it weren’t for the game.
Unfortuntaly, not everybody’s favorite Beatles song will be on the game (there are only 45 songs) but there is already a plan to release THREE full albums: Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Rubber Soul. I think this is a great idea based on the fact that Sgt. Pepper’s alone stands as one of the most influential album in history.
One major plus (or minus depending if you’re watching your funds) is the old style instruments available for purchase. With the package, you receive the basic drum kit (with a Beatles “bass drum” piece), a mic stand with a mic, the game itself, some post cards, and Paul McCartney’s Hofner Bass. You can also purchase (for approx. $100) the Rickenbacker 325 Guitar as well as the Gretsch Duo Jet Guitar. Although the older Rock Band guitars are compatible, I must admit, playing with the old style instruments makes the game a lot more enjoyable.
Overall I think this game is exactly what people expected it to be. A great game that has the ability to, and will, bridge the gap between generations. Go out, get the instruments for the full effect, and you will not regret it one bit.
Overall Rating – 9.5
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