With the passing of Labor Day came, not only the end of summer, but the end of the video game drought that plagued many gamers. It’s been a while since everyone in the gaming community was collectively excited about a game.
And who can blame us?
It’s Rock Band + The Beatles!
How else can anyone spell awesome? Ok, maybe Rock Band + Pearl Jam.
But before I get to the gooey center that is The Beatles: Rock Band, I have to dispel a few myths. This is a standalone game; meaning it’s not in any way shape or form like AC/DC: Rock Band. For anyone that hasn’t had the opportunity of playing AC/DC: Rock Band, just imagine Rock Band 1 or 2 with AC/DC songs to play through. That was AC/DC: Rock Band. The Beatles: Rock Band is entirely different. This content will not be available via DLC (Downloadable Content). So, if you are looking to expand you music library for RB2, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Just had to put it out there!
Now with all the bad news out of the way, I can move onto the good stuff: the game play!
Just like in the previous installations of Rock Band, you’ll be taking your little band on the road but this time around you won’t be given the opportunity to create your own avatar and play your way up through small venues, trying to gain as much fans and money to unlock the bigger venues down the line. Instead you’ll play through the various stages as one of the fab four from The Beatles. Since the band gained popularity rather quickly, you’ll see your band progress to bigger and better venue in a matter of chapters.
The overall game play that we have come to expect from a Rock Band title is still there. There’s a more easily accessible “No Fail” mode that can now be accessed via the instruments menu. “Overdrive” is also here but, to keep with the Beatles theme, it’s been renamed to “BeatleMania”. That’s right, folks! When you enter “Overdrive” you will be causing “BeatleMania” making young ladies scream in every venue! Now ladies, scream!
The really intriguing and most unique addition to the game play is the vocal harmonies. Three people are able to harmonizing and sing along with the band this time around. Something that wasn’t an easy feat since all the harmonies had to be recreated from the original Beatles’ masters. The addition of the vocal harmonies allows a whooping six people are able to play at a single time, on a single Xbox. Pretty sweet!
But the vocal harmonies are not as easy as it may seem. While you are able to sing in any one of the three vocal ranges, the vocal harmonies are pretty difficult. Especially as you progress through the game on the harder difficulties. So, I definitely suggest that you don’t try the vocal harmonies alone. Definitely get a few friends or family members over; I’m sure they are itching to sing with you anyway. They probably even know all of the words.
Additionally there are some nice touches that Harmonix has included for anyone who is interested in learning more about the band. By playing through the story, you unlock various candid photos that contain little tidbits about the band and its members. However, it doesn’t end there; the more photos you unlock the more additional hidden Beatles memorabilia you’ll be allowed to see. You’ll have to play through the entire story in order to see what they are but I can tell you that they are pretty unique and worth taking the time to unlock.
Vocal & Drum Trainer, and Beatles Beats
Yes vocalists, we finally have our own vocal trainer!
In order to assist you with the harder harmonies in the game, vocalist can simply select the song and section and start practicing! This is something that wasn’t available in RB 1 & 2. It becomes incredibly useful as you go into the latter sections of the game where the harmonies aren’t as easy to decipher or you really don’t know the words to a particular song.
And along with the vocal trainer comes the addition of a more educational drum trainer. While some may already be familiar with Rock Band’s drum trainer, The Beatles: Rock Band trainer includes instructional tips with every drum lesson. You can still practice different beats and fills but along with that you will also be given actual musical tips that aide you in becoming a better drummer and, maybe, even a better musician.
But if you’re past the state of practicing basic drumming beats, then tackle some of Ringo Starr’s beats in the “Beatles Beats”. Here you’ll get to practice and play through some of his classic signature drum fills and beats. And since I’m a beginner to the drums, I can honestly say that these beats aren’t easy. Only experienced drummers should try these beats out.
All in all, there’s something for everyone here, not just The Beatles fanatics. Underneath all the groovy and fab graphics, there is substantial game play that we have come to expect from Harmonix. A lot of time and effort went into this game, and it shows. It’s also pretty nice to see how they have been able to take so much input from everyone involved to create a unique experience that stands apart from the previous Rock Band titles.
A definite must have for all Beatles fans and for anyone looking to expand on their drumming and vocal abilities.
Great memorable songs, pretty solid game play, more instructional training modes, a vocal training mode, vocal harmonies, unique unlockables
Nothing new for guitar or bass, the difficulty increases really rapidly