Finally, a game based on the most popular band of all time! And not only the most popular but also the most critically revered, the most historically significant, and so on… It’s a 3D platformer, right? And, after all the hype, it must be so much more than a simple tie-in like the Aerosmith and Metallica versions of Guitar Hero, right? Ahh, about that hype…
This is clearly and indisputably the Rock Band we’re all familiar with, reskinned with some swanky Beatles animations. Fans might be disappointed that there isn’t a bit more band history, though. You don’t get booed off stage for failing a song, and you don’t wind up playing bum notes if you mess up. Those things would never happen to The Beatles.
Drum patterns are locked down to the originals, as played by Ringo Starr, so you can’t do freestyle fills for bonus points. The interface looks a bit different – slightly smaller – and hitting a streak of notes activates Beatlemania mode, but it’s still Rock Band.
The hook is the music – a handful of tracks from each Beatles album, with the promise of the full albums available as downloadable content in the future. There are plenty to be getting on with on the disc, but if you want to sing Hey Jude or All You Need Is Love, you’ll have to stump up more cash.
It’s slightly easier than other Rock Band games, presumably to cater to the potential for playing an instrument and singing at the same time. Grab a couple of extra USB mics (plus stands) and you can have a go at three-part harmonies, or at least pass them to other people in the room for a six-player Beatles bandalong.
It would be interesting to find out how many people actually use the game to its full potential on a regular basis. Not many, we’ll wager. But the extras aren’t essential, and the game is Rock Band regardless of whether you have the skill, inclination, friends or money to experience the whole shebang.
Sep 24, 2009