Old Meets New
Rhythmical and musical input games don’t get much bigger than the giants: Rock Band and Guitar Hero once dominated the console game sales charts, as did the peripheral imitation instruments top the sales charts for, well, peripheral items. Everyone was going on and on about their high score in Rock Band or how they have weekly gatherings purely for the purpose of jamming out on fake instruments to songs that play out in a mathematical fashion on the screen for all to know when to trigger inputs on their various instruments. Bands were tripping over themselves to get the chance to have their song appear on the song roster for the game, but when you're a band as big as The Beatles, there shall be no tripping over anyone, or even a mild interest in begging for your band to appear in any form of media.
When you're The Beatles, companies humbly approach you, and considering the reluctance of the surviving members of the most influential band ever to bring their music into the modern age by having their songs re-mastered (which only happened relatively recently), you can only imagine how enthusiastic the remaining Beatles members must have been for them to agree to appear in the interactive music revolution, of which Rock Band was one of the main proponents. Cue The Beatles Rock Band from developer Harmonix Music Systems, and you have one of the greatest music games of all time graced by arguably the best band. Of all time.
The game has been described as sensational by many, though I’m convinced that most of this praise refers mainly to the core of the game, regardless of the band, and the remaining praise is a little because of Beatles-related excitement. After all, it is essentially the same game as it has always been, only entirely Beatles-centric with a storyline mode that follows the foursome of fame from their early days to their successful later years. You’ve obviously got the same old guitar neck/highway in the middle of the screen for the guitarists and the same input structure for the drums and vocals. This is nothing new or revolutionary, though no one is apologising for this, especially not developer Harmonix Music since it has been the staple for the series thus far and just look at the success it has enjoyed.
You’ll be happy to know that difficulty levels for the instruments can be set individually so that the less musically experienced and perhaps the older folks (who will likely be a good part of the target audience) can stand a chance at being part of the band. The ability to stagger difficulty levels means you’ve got the chance for people of mixed ability and aptitude for new-fangled gaming concepts to enjoy the game just as much as hardcore gamers that have way too much time to practice on fake guitars and drum sets.
With a band as popular as the Beatles – and indeed a band with such a varied back-catalogue of songs – the choice of songs is always going to be controversial. You’ve got some the classics such as Come Together and Yellow Submarine, but with every hit comes an obscure track that only hardcore Beatles maniacs will know, and other big hits missing entirely. You can read more about the choice of tracks available in game.
Undoubtedly the best part about the game, and also a feature that redeems any perceived failures of the game (for hardcore Beatles fans at least), is the story mode which brings you from the early years through to the Abbey Road sessions and beyond. It gives you the chance to play through the history of the Beatles from a first-hand perspective, which is an experience that cannot be beaten . This great Beatles Rock Band Game goes into a little more depth about the particulars of the game but for the purposes of this review, I’d like to conclude that this game is an absolute must for Beatles fans that want to delve further into the band’s experience from a first-hand perspective.