Rock Band: The Beatles Review (Xbox360)

Psychedelic and flat-out marvelous, The Beatles: Rock Band is one of the preeminent 2009 titles to hit store shelves. Taking one step in a new direction for the Rock Band franchise – and not to mention, for the first time ever – Harmonix has incorporated the ability to play with six bandmates offline with the addition of two extra microphones for vocal harmonies. That brings the count up to two guitars, one drum set and three microphones that players will need to set up in their living room to get the full experience from The Beatles: Rock Band.

There’s much more to The Beatles: Rock Band than any standard stand-alone music game. First off, the replay value is fantastic due to the concentration on creating a story mode where players follow the journey of The Beatles to stardom. Along the way, players are able to unlock pictures that include a description of the events that occurred in the same time frame, audio clips, story movies, and the eligibility to play through challenges. There are two photos to unlock per song and are done so by achieving either three or five stars through the gameplay. One example would be “A Hard Days Night” where a photo shows Paul McCartney staring at the camera and Ringo Starr hard at work. The description states, “Following a particularly grueling 24 hours, Ringo looked up and declared ‘It’s been a hard day’s night.’ The band loved the phrase and John worked it into his book In His Own Write…”

Directly taken from “Here Comes the Sun.”
The Ed Sullivan Theatre is represented as a venue.

In addition, the audio clips that are unlocked are fantastic with voice-overs from the band themselves. The very first audio clip players will unlock is “The Beatles’ Christmas Record”; a special message The Beatles sent to their exclusive fan club way back. The story movies that are included are ripped right from the story mode itself, along with the intro and outro clips too. In total there are 104 photos to collect, six audio clips to unlock, and 10 movies to be mesmerized by. As anyone can see, Harmonix has made certain that gamers have reasons to keep crawling back to The Beatles: Rock Band.

If gamers haven’t seen the intro movie for the video game, then they are clearly missing out at one of the year’s best productions in design and style. Harmonix has essentially captured the look and feel of The Beatles era – trippy and fabulous during every moment. The background videos are outstanding in comparison to anything that has been done in the genre. Take for example, while playing “Here Comes the Sun”, our favorite foursome starts in the studio recording the song and then transitions into a land where the hills are never ending and an autumn tree provides shade all while the band carelessly plays hidden from the sunlight. In the “Yellow Submarine”, the shaggy-haired friends are placed underneath the water singing one of their more catchy jingles they’ve created. To spell it plain and simple, the production values of The Beatles: Rock Band are astounding – Harmonix’s imagination is clearly one of the better highlights.

The Beatles: Rock Band wouldn’t be anywhere near the magnificent title that it is without the superb soundtrack from the Lads from Liverpool. Including over 40+ songs from their lustrous career, there’s bound to be at least over two dozens of songs that players will easily recognize and call their favorite. If not, Harmonix is lining up downloadable content after release in the form of the entire Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Rubber Soul albums. If gamers use the Xbox 360 as their main gaming console, they are in luck as Harmonix is providing “All You Need Is Love” exclusively to Xbox Live for a limited time.

The game modes aren’t as extraordinary as the technical aspects, but that, by no means, holds the title back. From Quickplay game modes such as Tug of War and Score Duel, to the Story Mode, there are many reasons to stick around and play The Beatles: Rock Band. Although the vocals are still relegated to singing (or humming, if that’s your thing) the right note rather than the correct lyrics, the rest of the gameplay is fantastic. There’s not as much feedback through the speakers of the lead singer as there was in Rock Band 2, so it’s less about karaoke, and more about enjoying the quality songs put forth by the legendary Beatles. Players are able to add in two extra microphones to their band as six players can now play with two microphones set as harmonizers – so the Rock Band experience is even more extravagant than before.

If players are afraid of their musician skills, they can jump into the Training Modes that include: Tutorials, Practice Mode and a Drum Trainer. Players should have no worries about picking up the microphone as they can fine tune their voice to the game with basic vocal training, vocal harmonies instructions and much more. If players are confident in their Rock Band skills, then they are free to upload their chapter challenges to the online leaderboards to show their proficiency with the instruments. The chapter challenges are unlocked through the story mode and allow for continuous play through the songs in each of the eight chapters.

Beatles mania!
“I am the Walrus!”

Online modes specifically are ripped straight from the offline modes. The Score Duel and Tug of War modes have player and ranked matches to compete in. The Story Mode and Quick Play modes are available, so there’s nothing out of the ordinary found with the online components besides being capable of playing with five strangers online, two more than in past Rock Band iterations. If players are afraid of anyone screwing up their marvelous expertise in the instruments, they can turn on the no-fail mode to make sure that the band reaches the end of the song.

If there’s one music-oriented video game to buy this holiday season, it has to be The Beatles: Rock Band. Harmonix and MTV Games have created an exceptional representation of The Fab Four that needs to be lived by all music aficionados.

Top Game Moment: To be honest, the minute the mesmerizing intro starts is when every gamer will suddenly become addicted to The Beatles: Rock Band.

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By Jamie5555 (SI Newbie) on Sep 24, 2009
I really enjoyed this game. Had been waiting AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGES for it to come out, completed it in a day or two. It doesnt get boring in the slightest, Beatles are timeless:)