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One of the good things about the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series of games is that they have released various games which focus solely on particular artists. In this case, The Beatles. What this means though, is if you don't like that artist then you wont even consider the game whereas the general ones are more likely to appeal to more people. And so, if you do not like The Beatles then there probably isn't going to be much point in buying the game!
First things first though, this game is different to the Guitar Hero games as it is made by a different company who's games are called Rock Band. Personally, I don't think there is any real difference between the two other than the look of the game and the songs you can play! I think there is a difference when you are buying the guitar with it, but that is not relevant here.
As you'll see by the games title, this version of the game focus' solely on The Beatles so you can play along to all of your favourite songs. Speaking of which, there are 45 songs for you to choose from as well as more that can be downloaded. While that is a decent amount of songs, in comparison to Guitar Hero 5's 85 songs then this seems a bit poor. However, you must remember that there probably aren't many bands that can confidently put 45 songs on a game in the knowledge that they are all strong songs. Also, in comparison to the other band specific games, it does quite well - Guitar Hero Metallica only has 28 songs on it. In spite of the relatively good amount of songs I was a bit disappointed at the notable absence of a couple of better known songs such as "Let It Be" or "Help." I'm pretty sure these can be downloaded though.
If you choose to start a career, then you start out as The Beatles in their early days and work your way right through their career playing at The Cavern Club to the Ed Sullivan Show and ending up with their iconic rooftop performance. What also comes across in the games is how much the music changes throughout their career. In each venue, you only play each song once so you can really see the change from more rock and roll music in their early days and through the more illegal substance fuelled days.
As you develop through the career, the games visual's also change with the music. In the early days you would see them playing normally on stage but as you get on in the game the visuals are somewhat psychedelic and represent the song and the mental state of the band at the time! Frustratingly, you don't really get a chance to appreciate the visuals as when you are playing you are solely focused on playing!
As you play through the story mode you also unlock various items of Beatles memorabilia with each item containing a piece of info which has been confirmed by Sir Paul himself. These can include things like old photos or videos of the band.
What's quite nice about the game are the little touches doted around the place. For example, before each venue, you are given a little snippets of the band tuning up in the Abbey Road studios and also laughing and talking with each other about the song you're about to play. I also like the fact that during the game the camera will randomly cut away to the fans and show the kind of hysterical screaming fans associated with Beatlemania.
Now in terms of actual gameplay, there probably isn't much to report! If you have played any of the previous Guitar Hero / Rock Band games then this will not provide you with any real significant difference. Ultimately, it's the same button pressing and strumming along. The only thing I noticed is that it looks like the creators have made a special effort to make the various instruments have a noticeable sound. There is also the ability to have upto three players on the harmonies which is a new and fun way to play the game.
One addition I quite like in the game is the ability to turn an option on called "realistic." With this on, the volume of the crowd is increased to the point where it is very hard to hear the music being played but then this all adds to the atmosphere and difficulty of the game.
Speaking of difficulty, its worth pointing out that this one seems to be easier than the other Guitar Hero / Rock Band games. Normally with these I am comfortable on medium setting and cannot do the hard one but here I don't have a lot of trouble with hard so I would suspect that it is the same for all the settings.
I am personally a bit Beatles fan and so I really liked this game. To be honest I played it much longer than Guitar Hero 5 (which has almost double the amount of songs) and enjoyed it more. It would have been much easier if all the developers did was to put in a few Beatles tracks but instead they have gone the whole hog and made the game more about the history of the band rather than playing a few songs and I thought this really paid off.
There really aren't many negatives about the game either which is great. There are a good choice of songs, the visuals certainly fit the game well and it sounds good. In terms of historical accuracy I suspect there are probably a few things that aren't right but I've no doubt these can be overlooked.
I'm going to be reviewing the game as the "band in a box" version that came with the "value" bundle (ie with the standard rock band controllers, not the fancy Beatles ones).
I've been a fan of music/rhythm games for years, ever since Harmonix made Amplitude on the PS2 - a great, easy to pick up, hard to master game. I was never *too* sold on Guitar Hero and Rock Band, just because I couldn't see myself playing them on my own - whilst they're undisputedly great fun for parties.
I also took issue with the pricing of Rock Band in the UK, making it almost twice as expensive as the same game in the states. This Christmas, however, when HMV had the Beatles rock band, with all the instruments, for under £40, I finally decided that it represented decent value for money and picked one up.
I'll try not to dwell on the hardware, as the review's for the game, but I'll give a few sentences for those that are interested. The first thing to note is that the whole set: guitar, drums, mic and game all come in a single large box. This gives it great presence under a Christmas tree, or is an impressively large gift to give anyone. On opening the box, you'll find all the instruments wrapped up safely inside.
The wired guitar provided comes in two pieces which simply slot together. The drums, also wired, come in several pieces that are pushed together. The wired mic comes ready to plug in. In addition, a USB hub is provided in case you're running short of ports on your 360 - which is a nice touch, but can be a little flakey in my experience.
Anyway, once the instruments are assembled, they're pretty impressive. They all feel nice and weighty, don't look too toy-ish and are relatively resistant to finger prints and other marking. The Fender-style guitar is small enough to stow away easily, but large enough to make you feel like you're playing a guitar, rather than a ukulele. The drums have four pads and a kick pedal - missing the cymbals available on the Guitar Hero drums, but not really suffering for it.
The mic is pretty much like a microphone, really....it's weighty, good looking and seems to work OK - you use a 360 controller along with the mic as there are no buttons on the unit itself (on the guitar and drums, there's a start, back and guide button, as well as a D-pad, so it's pretty easy to navigate whilst on an instrument).
Moving swiftly onto the game itself, the Beatles version of the Rock Band franchise is certainly a good addition - being a fan of the Fab Four myself, I really enjoy all of the standard songs and appreciate the DLC available to bolster your collection.
All of the songs in the game have been tinkered with a little...the resulting tracks are lively in sound and fun to play through. They're all accompanied by animations of the band which are rarely spectacular, but always impressive and well thought through. Some songs in particular ("Day in the Life" springs to mind) also give you a good impression of the skill of the Beatles - with some fairly tricky shifts in tempo. Even the opening montage sounds and looks great.
The downside would be, for me, a couple of minor tweaks they've made to the gameplay - the drum solos that I so Enjoy in Rock Band are missing and some of the sequences aren't quite on time, or at least aren't as intuitive as they might have been.
The career mode is pretty well put together - it takes you through a mini-biography of the Beatles allowing your to track the band from their formation through to mainstream success. The unlocking system works well, encouraging you to play through the career at least once. Throughout the career, the tone is maintained extremely well, with a little psychedelia here and there, but more gritty tones in the lower-budget venues.
On top of the career mode, there's the Band Quick Play you expect from these games these days - allowing you to just turn the console on, quickly chose a song and play. This works brilliantly with a couple of friends in your living room, but surprisingly works almost as well over Xbox Live with friends, or strangers, further afield.
Another cool feature they've bundled in is "Beatles Beats" - a series of progressively difficult rhythms for you to master on the drums. Each one can be slowed down while you get the hang of it, then sped up to full speed when you're ready. As you'd expect on the 360, there are a couple of achievements going for doing well on this mode.
Overall, then, the Beatles Rock Band is a very solid title, strong graphics and sound backed up by a good, if not the best, version of the classic Rock Band interface. The career mode will take a few hours to master, the Beatles Beats around the same again - but it's the Quick Play mode that will keep you coming back for more over and over again - get a couple of friends round and get fabulous.
Rock with The Beatles Rockband or more like Groove that's what i have been doing constantly, i am hooked, i have a new found love for The Beatles,
I have alway's like them in my own little way, the odd song here and there, well you can't really help it the majority of the world know at least one of there song's, But this game has done them justice, i get to grove to the Beatles, Learn about there life getting famous and writing song's and have great fun playing musical instruments to a high standard that i could never do in real life :)
This game takes you on a great journey from there first album and huge performances and even into all the work they did at the infamous Abbey Road, there are between 5 and 6 song's in each set, for every song you complete you have the opertunity to unlcok photo's of the band depending on how well you do in each song depends on how many you unlock, once you unlock a certain amount of photo's you earn rewards and bonus challanges for more, this can all be done at any dificulty levels including "Super Easy" which turns on the ability to never fail a song and just smash buttons to the groove as the game is more based around fun rather than how hard it is to complete, but if its a chalange you want then crank that difficulty to expert and try out some of those high demanding solo's.
The Reward's are spectacular you can get very rare footage of the bands playing gigs, working in the studio etc really just generally having fun and it gives you a real insight into there life, and you really can see why they were so famous, Also throught the game you have minature video clips piecing together a story of there life and music through the year's,
The game itself is like all other rockband games except had a highly colourfull and superbly animated Beatles Theme, with the ability to play and download practically every song they ever created, a truely fantastic experience for all skillsets and music lovers alike,
I would deffinetly recomend this game to all rockband / guitar hero fans and ESPECIALLY to Beatle fans everywhere,
I myself was not a huge fan but i could definetly consider myself on the way, they are truely amaizing and i am so glad a picked this up and gave it ago, just so many catchy songs, and sony real hard solo's to nail on that damn guitar :)
5 stars for the beatles!!!
Now shake it baby!!!!!!
I have had previous rockband games and seen as my other half loves the Beatles I recently purchased this.
Its actually a really good game, and easy to use. It has loads of Beatles songs to choose from, some we'd never even heard. However we did find there were some popular songs which weren't on the game which I believe you are going to be able to purchase via xbox live at a later date. This was a little bit disappointing knowing that after you pay for the game you will have to shell out more to get the complete collection.
You can have quite a few players with this as you can have a base player, a guitarist, a drummer and up to four singers.
I found this particular version of rockband is a chance to get the whole family involved as everyone loves and knows the Beatles songs, young or old.
EVERYBODY knows who The Beatles are. Unless of course you've spent your whole life as the only occupant on a desert island.
What was most likely an attempt before his death by Michael Jackson, owner of the publishing rights, to raise funds, a whole catalogue of their songs has been licensed to the Rock Band franchise bringing the iconic music of The Beatles to a whole new generation.
Played in much the same way as previous Rock Ban and Guitar Hero games. You can choose from a variety of different instruments to play; Guitar, Bass, Vocals or Drums. To get the full effect you really need the full set of instruments. As I have little interest in drums, I've stuck to just playing the guitar. One thing I was pretty disappointed about was in the Guitar Hero series, rather than using a microphone I could use the xbox controller headset. Unfortunately with this game that's not an option.
In total there are 45 songs available to play, including Can't Buy Me Love, Get Back, Eight Days a Week and Yellow Submarine. The songs can either be played in a 'career' type order or you can pick and choose what you want to play. I was a bit disappointed with the scoring system. This is the first Rock Band game I've had, but I have 3 Guitar Hero games and in those, when you get a perfect score, the difference is recognisable between that and a 5 star score. With this game the scoring isn't like this. The scoring is the same for 5 star and perfect. Half the fun is playing the songs over and over again trying to get the perfect score.
The visual effects of the game were quite impressive. Each song has a different background or set in a different location. Some in the studio, one even on a house floating in the sky held up by a hot air balloon! Very trippy!
Also included as part of the game are lots of never seen before footage and audio clips. While these are ok, they don't really hold much appeal for me. I collect them as it's part of the game, but I haven't really looked at them.
My main gripe is that a lot of my favourite Beatles songs have been left out. I understand they can't have them all on, but some relatively unknown songs have been added over some very popular tracks.
As I already have a Guitar Hero controller, I didn't buy the full set as the GH guitar works just as well. If I'd had to buy a new guitar I don't think I'd have bothered.
Available to play as a single or multiplayer.
If you like The Beatles and you like playing Rock Band/Guitar Hero games I would highly recommend this game, it's lots of fun!
The Beatles: Rock Band
Most people who have lived in the 60s/70s era where The Beatles were making music and wowing the world will say that 'The Beatles were incredible for their time' and some may even prefer their music over most modern music these days. Despite their musical prowless, however, the band has mostly been left out in the cold when it comes to rhythm genre these days even with their intense guitar, drums and bass, as well as the fantastic vocal harmonies for some songs. However, to tie in with the release of all the remastered Beatles albums Harmonix has given music fans The Beatles: Rock Band. As The Beatles lends their music to the Rock Band experience, does it live up to not only the high standards of the game's previous outings, but also the Beatles legendary legacy?
The Beatles: Rock Band basically takes the basic template of Rock Band, adds about 45 songs from The Beatles legacy, adds some tweaks and increases the number of band members. There are a lot of songs from The Beatles, and with only 45 of them in the game, some had to be cut. There's the popular and interesting songs like Yellow Submarine, Taxman, Helter Skelter and Octopus's Garden, but there's plenty of songs missing and a couple of odd choices which you'd want to be replaced with the missing songs. But it features plenty of groovy, and some more mellow, tunes. It's a great feeling when you're playing Can't Buy Me Love and you strangly want to start shaking your hips, if only while smacking everyone in the face with the guitar :P
While some may argue that the song list isn't 100% perfect, what Beatles really nails is being a documentary of the band. This is thanks to the fantastic story mode. It takes you through the ten years of The Beatles as you start playing at The Cavern Club in 1963, and as you work your way through the songs you'll play at the Ed Sulivan Show, Shea Stadium and even take some out of mind experiences as the band plays in their recording studio in Abbey Road. You even play the final live gig on top of the Apple Corps Rooftop in 1969. As you play songs, you'll unlock photos and videos with facts about the band, which will be greatly interesting for fans and newcomers alike. It's also accessible as you can play either on the same console, with three people on Xbox Live, or a mix of both with support for Live guests.
The other features from previous games are also here. You can play quickplay again locally, live or both. All songs are unlocked from the get-go meaning you can jump straight into your favourite songs if you wish to. There's also all the training options for newcomers, with some new features included like a drum trainer which helps newer drummers get better as well as some beats for you to learn and a freestyle mode where you can go crazy, hitting whatever notes you want. There's also a training mode for a new feature I'll mention later. Everything works just like it did, and no one wanted it any other way. There's also the no-fail option, meaning anyone can play without having to constantly restart songs, as well as some features like Hyperspeed available in the extras menu.
An early fear for The Beatles: Rock Band was that, considering the band, a lot of the tunes would be too easy for most players. Sure, some of the more mellow tunes are quite easy, but to be honest the difficulty is about as balanced as other music games. The songs which are the hardest for an instrument are quite challenging, considering some of the riffs and solos in the game. The drums are very challenging, with Ringo Starr's constant change of pace and random fills will throw off even some of the best drummers out there. And of course, vocalist is at its fiercest, with the calibre of the vocalists in the band being very high. There's also one new feature which makes singing harder, but much more fun because of it. However the general difficulty of the game is not as hard as, say, Guitar Hero Metallica.
The new feature in the Beatles: Rock Band is the vocal harmonies. Because the band usually had Paul, John and sometimes even Ringo singing, forcing you to sing as only one person would have been foolish. Players can use multiple microphones on the same controller, which is great, though if you're playing in a full band you'll need a USB port to fit all six Rock Band controllers on the console. There's an obvious party element there as it's hilarious trying to watch three people sing a song in unison, but it's also true to the band as a lot of the songs rely on vocal harmonies to deliver their best moments. It's also a feature which will definately be used in future music games, no doubt about that, and it's done so well, who wouldn't?
Unfortunately, while it's an interesting experience, it's not going to be a lasting one. It's a slim set of songs at just over 40, which is less than even Guitar Hero Metallica or Smash Hits. And it's worse considering that Rock Band 2 offered 84, plus tons more via the Rock Band store, which The Beatles Rock Band doesn't support. However, there will be more songs added in the future, with three albums already planned for release on the games unique marketplace. However, while it's been sucessful on Rock Band 2, it's hard to definately keep faith in the future because anything could happen and we'll be stuck with just over 40 songs still. It seems that the game's developers are slightly putting too much faith in people waiting for the future.
What The Beatles: Rock Band nails is the visual aesthetic. The game looks incredible, as while the technological side of the game is polished with no frame rate drops or rough edges, it's the trippy art style used in the recording sessions which really stand out. While playing I Am a Walrus, suddenly everyone turns into animals wrapped in sheeps clothing, which is insane, topped with some trippy background effects and pictures. Even the live performances ooze with atmosphere, as you'll see individual crowd members screaming in the joy of being at a Beatles concert. Whether's it's the studio being submerged in water while playing Octopus's Garden or the studio turning into a beautiful sunset, The Beatles: Rock Band looks amazing when the studio suddenly transforms into a vision of the song. It's definately the best looking music game to date.
I think a major strength of The Beatles: Rock Band is how diverse it feels. With GH: Metallica all the songs were Metal, save for a couple of slower songs. But with The Beatles, they first started out as a young boy band, with a catchy rhythm and a groovy vibe. But as you go away from the live shows into the studio, suddenly the songs become slower like Come Together, or they go downright insane with Helter Skelter. In particular, the last set, which features Dig a Pony, Get Back and The End shows how diverse the game's list is. In career, rather than ordering the songs by difficulty, the game instead follows this pattern, going from groovy to slower which shows a change in pace towards the end of the game. However no matter what kind of song you're playing, the note charts are fantastic and hammer-ons, a questionable element of the Rock Band series, are improved, though still suspect in some cases.
Is The Beatles: Rock Band good, bad or ugly?
While Guitar Hero Metallica offered thrash metal difficulty and some enticing features from the band, The Beatles: Rock Band trumps that game because this carefully weaved thread of the band's legacy is done so well it's hard not to play it again and again. The setlist may be disappointing for some with only 45 songs, which limits its value a bit. And until the DLC is released, you can't yet count on the upcoming music which will hopefully be added to the game. But it's excellent career mode, fantastic dreamscapes, excellent note charts and diverse songs, The Beatles: Rock Band will keep players interested and there's not doubt The Beatles: Rock Band delivers on the Band's legacy created around 40 years ago. If you're a fan, then don't be stupid and buy this game, and even if you are just interested to see how music was created, then this is well worth it.
The Beatles: Rock Band was released on 09/09/09 for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. It is rated 12+ for sex and bad language and can be bought for around £40.
So, doubtless looking for new ways to wring money out of their back catalogue, The Beatles have licensed some of their songs to Rock Band. In order to maximise everyone's profits, an entirely new game had to be developed - a prettier version of Rock Band 2 with extra bits, some limitations, and only 45 songs.
The game is played in the same way as usual Rock Band games - you either play guitar or bass (using a guitar-shaped controller); drums (using a plastic drum kit); or you sing (using a microphone). You play or sing along to what appears on the screen, ultimately being judged on how well your performance matches the original track. Rock Band, once you embrace the fundamental silliness of it, remains the best party game around. You can also play online, either competitively or as part of a band, which works fine.
The only new functionality is the introduction of harmony vocals. This, of course, requires buying new microphones, and is actually quite difficult, especially if you're trying to do the 'yeah yeah yeah' bits while also playing a guitar. There are a few little tweaks to other aspects of the gameplay, which slightly improve what is already a very well made game.
However, it has limited a few other things. It's obviously been decided that the songs are sacrosanct, so waggling the handle thingie no longer bends notes, and the wah-wah and similar effects aren't available. This is annoying - if you're going to release songs in what is effectively a glorified karaoke format, there's no point wrapping them in cellophane. It's similarly irritating that the game isn't compatible with other Rock Band games, so you'll never be able to play the songs with characters you've created, or mingle set lists with Bon Jovi or Billy Idol. The Beatles are iconic, but this tendency to see them as somehow separate from the rest of popular music, like they're a National Trust property or something, is frustrating and twatty.
Still, perhaps to make up for removing the ability to make your own characters, a lot of effort has gone into the visuals of the game. It looks amazing - the design is extraordinarily impressive. It's not pretentious, it doesn't overwhelm the game, but it is lovely and very satisfying. The look and feel of the interface is the same as in regular Rock Band, although it's a lot more pastel and has a gentler visual vibe. Unfortunately they don't seem to have taken colour blindness into account when designing it - I find it difficult to spot notes in the 'red' track when I go into 'Beatlemania' (what used to be called 'overdrive' - a bonus you earn by doing well).
The story mode takes you through The Beatles' career, with authentic looking locations like The Cavern Club and Shea Stadium. Little animated Beatles play the instruments - they're all pleasantly caricatured in a very gentle way (oddly, they all have really big chins except Ringo). There are occasionally shots of girls screaming in the audience. When they get to the second half of their career - when they'd stopped touring and stuck to the studio - we get 'dreamscapes'. The Beatles start playing in the studio, but soon we zoom off into very well-realised psychedelic fantasy lands. The Within You Without You one is particularly good, if kind of distracting when you're playing.
It's a shame that it's so reverential, though. I was kind of hoping we'd get a little Yoko One sitting in the corner during the White Album sessions, eyeballing us like some avant garde version of the ghost from Ring. Plus more drugs and band arguments. And maybe groupies. Yeah, groupies would have been good. And why does the 'dreamscape' for Octopus's Garden not feature an octopus? It seems so obvious...
There are video clips and 'never before seen' photos to unlock, and you get little snippets of genuine studio banter at the beginnings and ends of tracks. I think this stuff is intended as a selling point for the really obsessive collectors. It's nice that it's there, but I've yet to bother to look at all the photos or watch the videos.
Obviously you have to at least vaguely like The Beatles' music to enjoy this. This is presumably not aimed at children (the game's visual style doesn't feel like it's targeting children). The choice of songs is skewed heavily in favour of the later stuff, which is a lot more varied than the early pop songs. (It's also harder for them to isolate individual instrument tracks in the earlier songs.) There's perhaps a bit too much emphasis on songs Ringo sang (I Wanna Be Your Man is no-one's idea of an essential Beatles track), but I guess they had to keep him happy. It's odd that popular numbers like Let It Be, She Loves You or Hey Jude are omitted, though. Help! would have been a good one, too, with the harmony vocals and all.
Even though they aren't your typical Rock Band fare, Harmonix have done a very good job in making the songs into playable tracks. The patterns for each song are impressively different from one another, and they're a lot more difficult than I imagined they'd be (at least on the higher difficulty levels - lower levels are easy enough to not scare off casual players). The songs have sometimes been truncated, to avoid fade-outs, which will doubtless annoy purists. The only one that I found irritating is that Taxman has had its final guitar solo removed. I Want You (She's So Heavy) and Hey Bulldog are probably my favourites to play.
The bad thing about the game is how few songs there are - 45 plus one (so far) available for download. I'd played them all in about four hours. For the £40 I paid, this seems more than a little unreasonable. Downloadable albums will become available in the coming months, but they won't be cheap. Amazingly, this is the first time The Beatles' music has been made available for legal download in any format. This is a shame given how readily they jumped on new technology in their recording days. Still, I guess they were younger/alive then. A game with only half the number of tracks as a regular Rock Band game doesn't make me think any more highly of anyone involved. They're a bunch of Mean Mr Mustards. They care too much for money. They've gained the world but lost their souls. While they live their life of ease, we wonder how we'll manage to make ends meet. And so on.
The game disk alone costs £40 at the moment. You can also buy it with an instrument pack (drum kit, one microphone, one guitar) for an astounding £180, three times more than a regular Rock Band set-up. Replicas of guitars used by the band are also available for about £80 each. Luckily it's compatible with older Rock Band and Guitar Hero controllers.
Although I'm pissed off with the small number of songs and gobsmacked by the price of the full kit, I'm still glad this game exists. There's not a great deal of 60s music in Rock Band format, and this obviously goes a long way to rectifying that. I just hope that this doesn't encourage other 'big name' bands to also insist on non-compatibility with the main game. Rock Band's still the best party game in town. The Beatles might want us to feel privileged to be allowed to pay for the right to play their songs; but this is best enjoyed as a chance to drunkenly roar the lyrics to Paperback Writer while your friends accompany you on plastic guitars.