The Beatles: Rock Band

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2009-10-25


Developer: Harmonix Publisher: MTV Games
Release Date: September 9, 2009 Available On: PS3, Wii and Xbox 360

The single greatest band to ever live. There, I said it. The Beatles are without a doubt, at least in my mind, the pinnacle of music in the modern age. You can say what you want about their talent, status as pop stars or encounters with drugs. There is no denying their impact on not just music but society as a whole. Now nearly 50 years after The Beatles formed as a band their songs have been digitally remastered and made available in the form of a video game for a new generation.

The Rock Band franchise is now in its third year. Not a whole lot has changed to the formula since the first in 2007. The Beatles: Rock Band is still about stringing together combos, scoring as many points as you can on a given song and collecting stars based on your performance. What's different is the band, the story mode and the treasury trove of unlockable content that fans of The Beatles will undoubtedly find pleasure in (such as an edited Christmas album that they released in 1963).

The story mode (which can be played with up to four people) is the heart of the experience, although it is worth noting that the developers made all of the songs unlocked from the start so that people can jump right in to play their favorite songs. The story is told through still photographs and artwork drawn up by the fine folks at Harmonix. It spans the entire career of The Beatles from their start in 1960 through the entire decade.

The order of the songs and where they are played are sequential to The Beatles history. Some of the songs are played on stage, while others are performed in studio. The early works take place at The Cavern Club, followed by an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, opened their second American tour at Shea Stadium and their Japanese debut at Budokan. Their final years were spent at their Abbey Road Studios and the rooftop of the Apple Corps Headquarters is the location of the final chapter of the game.

Aside from the various locations that the band played at, the developers at Harmonix decided to add a little fab flavor. The parts of the game that take place in the studio have “dreamscapes”, where representative images are shown on the screen while the song is playing. For instance, in “Octopus's Garden”, The Beatles are seen walking around in an underwater environment. Likewise, “I Am the Walrus” has a psychedelic feel that I think The Beatles would even admire. The dreamscapes are pure artwork and can be distracting when playing because of how breathtaking they can be. That said, the distraction is welcome, since it is all part of The Beatles experience.

If you are a fan of The Beatles, or at least appreciate their music, there is a good chance that you will enjoy The Beatles: Rock Band. The entire setlist is dedicated exclusively to The Beatles. Only the most obsessed fan would find the $250 Limited Edition set to be a justifiable purchase. Everyone else should be more than happy with the standard version of the game. I highly recommend that you pick up The Beatles: Rock Band. While the 45 song set list is rather short and quick to play through (you could easily beat it in one sitting), the quality of the songs more than makes up for it.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review

Reviewed by Kyle Bell