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Love Me Do- The Beatles: Rock Band

The Beatles: Rock Band Developer: Harmonix, Publisher: MTV Games/EA ESRB: T

In My Life
Like many others, the Beatles are part of my DNA. Despite having never purchased a single recording from the group, I know most of their songs from commercials, films, and the ubiquity of their music on the radio. Others have inherited an appreciation of the Fab Four from parents; their music has demonstrated the power to transcend the generational gap. The group’s influence on popular culture is immeasurable; countless bands have mentioned the influential role the four lads from Liverpool have had on their own music. Few bands deserve their own Rock Band game more than the Beatles.

All My Loving

Despite what must have been a mountain of complications, developer Harmomix has delivered an amazing product. The Beatles: Rock Band is a lovingly rendering tribute that follows the trajectory of the group from early performances at the Cavern to the band’s last songs from Let It Be. Each chapter of the Beatles career is affectionately preceded by a stylish cinematic blending eye-catching animations, prominent photos and music clips that superbly introduces each period of the group’s reign.

With a Little Help From My Friends
Before players can jump into the game’s Quickplay or Story modes, they are carefully led though a series of menus which creates an optional song cache, and detects any latency between their controllers and televisions. While Rock Band regulars will recognize the structure of the title’s core mechanics, there are a handful of subtle differences with the Beatles. Most notables is the game’s inclusion of vocal harmonies. Now, up to three people can attempt vocal polyphony, netting players a healthy helping of Double and even Triple Fab bonus points on applicable songs. Forgoing the blistering guitar solos common to the Rock Band series, maintaining vocal harmonies is the game’s greatest challenge. The title’s other distinction is the elimination of having to perform song repeatedly to progress; The focus of Beatles: Rock Band is on offering a new way to enjoy the timeless music, rather than mere instrument mastery.

Taxman
Beatles: Rock Band single limitation is its parsimonious song list; there are only forty-five songs on the disk. Players longing for perform some of group’s greatest songs- Hey Jude, Yesterday, and A Day in the Life will have to wait for the inevitable release of downloadable content that will be trickling out over the next few months. Although prices are affordable at two dollars per track or $17 for an entire album, not having some of the Beatles signature hits is a bit troubling, especially for purchasers of the game’s $249 bundle.

Lovely Rita
While the tunesmith of the Fab Four is the game’s primary focus, Beatles: Rock Band creates some amazing visuals to complement the music. Each era of the group is devotedly recreated- from the mop-tops and matching suits of the early 60’s to the windswept locks and facial hair on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building. The game’s first stages present the group in iconic settings- the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, and at the Budokan, evoking the distinctive Rock Band look. However, once the Beatles hit the Abbey Road studios, the game takes flight- painting television screen with a palette of vibrant psychedelic imagery. 

Come Together
The game’s abridged track selection notwithstanding, The Beatles: Rock Band is a tenderly crafted creation that is a must-have for any Beatlemaniac. The game’s masterful dedication of authenticity, ranging from archival photos, to studio chatter embedded into loading screens, is remarkable.  The title is one of those infrequent diversions that is compelling enough to make casual admirers want to delve deeper into the quartet’s rich musical history. I can’t help but think that John and George would cordially approve.

                    The Beatles: Rock Band was reviewed on retail Xbox 360 code. Online servers were unavailable for testing. 

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

61 comments

  1. Awesome review. I can’t wait until 9/9/09!!!!

  2. Not a big Beatles fan, but I thinking about getting the game anyway. Your review might of pushed me over the edge.

  3. Did you finish the whole game? How long did it take?

  4. Sounds great. I liked the way you used song titles in the review.

  5. To twist the words of Lennon, this game’s gonna be bigger than Jesus.

  6. Just read Shipwreck’s review on CAG, now this one. I gotta agree with you, that 45 songs is ok, but they should have put a few more hits on there. There’s a lot of filler for the disk.

  7. This game is gonna be huge. My Gamestop had a ton of the boxes that wouldn’t fit in the backroom.

    I saw a kid sitting on one, probably smashing the instruments. (He was fat)

  8. I don’t see any filler at all. What are you talking about?

  9. Dig a Pony
    I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
    I Me Mine
    Something
    Taxman
    Boys

    Know the lyrics to any of these songs?

  10. Electric Relaxation

    Can’t buy me love, but I hope my girlfriend buys me this game.

  11. I don’t think John Lennon would approve of this at all. Just a thought.

  12. Authenticity? Ringo wasn’t there for the some of the studio work. American fans in Japan? C’mon know you’re music, mate!

  13. Actually Yoko Ono made a comment that offer a non-violent music game would be something that John would have liked. This isn’t Gears or War or anything….

  14. Make me wonder why a Led Zep game hasn’t been announced.

  15. Sounds like Rock Band only with the Beatles to me.

  16. If I could only buy one, GH5 or Beatles which would you recommend?

  17. Yep, the Beatles are the only band my parent and I agree on.

  18. Reviews are WAY overrating this one.

  19. Yeah, but unlike the other games, there no cross-playing. DLC is separate, as is the game.

  20. I got mine preordered and paid off. I might take Wednesday off.

  21. Intelligent Zombie

    Here’s comes the Sun, and the tide of Holiday games!

  22. Picking this up along with the remasters this week.

  23. Someone make a Doors game, so I can play as fat Jim and get with chicks in the minigames.

    Cmoncmoncmonnow touchmebaby!

  24. Alternate title: Happiness is a plastic guitar!

  25. For the $249.99 version, they should have included the DLC albums as well.

  26. I bet this will well about 100 times better than DJ hero.

  27. I need to buy another mic before 9/9. Great review.

  28. 45 songs from the Beatles sounds like enough for me to pay the $60.

  29. The game does seem like a fitting tribute to the band. Well written, guys!

  30. Something is an amazing song. A true classic.

  31. I think an even 50 would have ben the tipping point for me.

  32. Why didn’t you review the online part of the game?

  33. I saw a video of the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds song. is that what the game looks like all colorful and crazy?

  34. Seems like you have to at least like the Beatles to enjoy the game. I think I’d rather play a Stones Rock band.

  35. Here’s the full song list:

    * I Saw Her Standing There
    * Boys
    * Do You Want To Know A Secret
    * Twist And Shout
    * I Wanna Be Your Man
    * I Want to Hold Your Hand
    * A Hard Day’s Night
    * Can’t Buy Me Love
    * I Feel Fine
    * Eight Days A Week
    * Ticket To Ride
    * Day Tripper
    * Drive My Car
    * I’m Looking Through You
    * If I Needed Someone
    * Paperback Writer
    * Taxman
    * Yellow Submarine
    * And Your Bird Can Sing
    * Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
    * With a Little Help from My Friends
    * Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    * Getting Better
    * Good Morning Good Morning
    * I Am The Walrus
    * Hello Goodbye
    * Revolution
    * Back In The U.S.S.R.
    * Dear Prudence
    * While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    * Birthday
    * Helter Skelter
    * Hey Bulldog
    * Don’t Let Me Down
    * Come Together
    * Something
    * Octopus’s Garden
    * I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
    * Here Comes The Sun
    * Dig A Pony
    * I Me Mine
    * I’ve Got A Feeling
    * Get Back
    * Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows

  36. WAT? No Elenore Rigby?

  37. I would have liked to see some Flower-like mini games included. That would have been awesome.

  38. Great review, although you could have said “It’s Rock band, but with…The Beatles”

    Still, I’m sold on it.

  39. DE, you’re turning into a hippie on us 😉

  40. Is there a 360 exclusive song? Someone said that.

  41. What’s your favorite Beatles song, DE?

  42. Great review! I’ve been waiting months for the game.

  43. Haha, no he’s turned all JRPG on us.

  44. Like others have said, I’m sorta into the Beatles, so I’m debating whether to get this. I might just get it, so pops and I can actually play a game together.

    He tried GoW2, but said, “I can’t figure out who I am, and what the hell I’m supposed to do”

    Man, I’m surprised that generation ever learned how to drive a car.

  45. Any game that gets a 90 on Metacritic finds a way into my home. Yep, I’m not crazy about the Beatles, but it’ll be more of a party game.

  46. I heard some stores are breaking release date.

  47. Great review. Glad to know it’s worth the money.

  48. I need to buy some point card for this.

  49. I’m waiting for the reviewer who plays the game totally high.

  50. Haha, probably Destructoid or Giant Bomb.

    Bomb may put down the instruments when they get the munchies, though.

  51. Not a big Beatles fan but you make this sound fun.

  52. I bet this will be the top selling game of the year.

  53. I don’t play any music games, but this one may be my first.

  54. Half the songs you used for headers aren’t in the game 🙁

  55. Hooray for games that qualify as family time.

  56. First game I have bought in two months will be this.

  57. nice review of the new beatles game. hoping to pick it up today!

  58. I would have preferred a band from my generation (not that of my parents)!

    I played the game & it was glitchy. Nothing special

  59. Really? What part?

  60. I cant wait for more DLC. I’ve already played most songs three times.

  61. I opine that to receive the credit loans from creditors you ought to have a firm motivation. However, once I’ve got a term loan, just because I was willing to buy a car.