The fab four in white silhouettes on the Beatles Rock Band title screen.

I have never been a huge fan of the Beatles, but I had a feeling that Harmonix’s latest title would be the perfect opportunity to experience the discography of the biggest band ever to pass me by.

And for the first time this may be the music game for the quiet bystanders – Beatles Rock Band is a open invite to anyone that knows a Beatle song.

The Experience

  • This is not just a music game and band IP smashed together. Every moment of the game is a loving recreation the Beatles’ career arc, puncatated with artwork, audio clips, and the fab four themselves, crafted seemlessly into the Rock Band game framework.
  • The classic Rock Band gameplay continues and is every bit as usable and enjoyable as you’d expect, only with added Beatle-esque touches and colours. This helps makes the game immediately accessible to anyone familiar with either the music or Rock Band setup.
  • It does play just like Rock Band, and while this isn’t a negative in itself, fans will notice that the two guitar parts have been replaced with one single track due to a lack of screen space, Harmonix have taken some liberties with the note charting, which leads to an easier Rock band experience.
  • The photos, clips and information unlocked after each song are a great idea which help to cement the experience, but also add extra clutter to the results screens. This is definitely one for the fans, as everyone else will just be eager to get to the next song.

The Visuals

  • The imagery used in the game are stunning, from the cell-shaded and cutout animation style of the intro, to the crisp visuals of the studio melting into the visual dreamscapes inspired by the theme of each song. Even if you don’t like playing music games, the visuals alone are a must-see.
  • For once the graphical prowess of this game is not just for show, each background scene manages to tell a story, while carefully managing the balance between the artistic talent of the band and the many illustrious interpretations of their songs, this is by far the best looking music game of this type, and best of all the glamour is completely appropriate.
  • Just occasionally the beautiful imagery in the background can be a little distracting to those trying to play, however it does give you an incentive to take a break and experience the visual aspect of the game.
  • In the longer term the visuals seem to follow the same pattern on each play, as imaginative as they are initially, this is a downside to not having personalised characters, as previous incarnations of Rock Band make the songs sequences, characters and camera changes slightly more dynamic.

Gameplay

  • The story mode is the definitive way to experience the game, either alone or with others, and it is with others that this game really shines, appreciating the song catalogue with friends or family who enjoy Beatles songs is a real epiphany moment.
  • The new vocal harmonies are a new treat, but they can be tricky to master. It’s a perfect idea for this game though, as it matches the musical expertise of the Beatles with everyones need to sing along.
  • As popular as their music may be, it would have been nice to have more songs available to play on the disc from the get-go. Some notable songs are missing from the tracklist, no doubt to be included later on using DLC, for shame.
  • Other than a slightly different interpretation of the known Rock Band format, there isn’t too much (other than harmonies and extras) to set the game apart from Rock Band 2 – that is except the pleasure of playing along with Beatles songs, but the added touches to UI and practice modes will still delight.

Thumbs up to the fab four

The differences between this Beatles versions of the game and the standard Rock Band aren’t enormous, but what is clear is that this could well be the definitive version of this music title – at least from a creative perspective. Beatles Rock Band takes the format of the last two Rock Band games and adds the visual and thematic icing on the cake. Normal gamers will be impressed, and no doubt fans of the band will be in total awe.

RSS Feed Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates by email to be informed of my next video games update?