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The Beatles: Rock Band review

Is it the greatest music game ever made? Well… that depends on who you ask

The Cave-Dweller

Who you are: We’re not really sure. Maybe you’re, like, a bar owner or something and you’re looking for some game to bring people in on a Saturday night. Or maybe you’re thinking of giving the game as a gift to someone. Or maybe you’re reading this review because you saw the big box at Wal-Mart and thought it was some sort of add-on for Wii Fit. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.

Above: “I don’t see how this is going to help me lose weight”

What you should know about The Beatles: Rock Band: No, the bundle does not contain the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Wii needed to play the game. And no, the bundle does not include a bass and guitar - only one guitar, a microphone and a drum set, which you’ll have to assemble yourself. And no, the bundle does not contain the actual members of The Beatles. We’re being sarcastic, of course, but trust us: some Cave-Dweller somewhere is going to try and start a lawsuit over this crap, and we want to be the first to say we called it.

What we’re getting at, though, is that TB:RB is expensive, and we’re not sure we’d trust our grandparents or bar patrons with it. The $250 price tag for the limited-edition bundle is more than a new Xbox 360 Arcade, and it’s a major investment any way you look at it. You’ll definitely enjoy the game if you can get everything needed to set it up, but it’s a lot of money to pretend to play “I Me Mine” on a plastic toy guitar.

That said, many Cave-Dwellers who tested this game were pleasantly surprised – a common comment we got was, “I had no idea The Beatles wrote this song!” and “Wow, I didn’t realize how interesting their later stuff is!” The Cave-Dweller may actually be the most likely to enjoy TB:RB, if only because he/she is most likely to go in with zero expectations.

“Wait… This WiiStation 360 needs electricity, too?”

We can’t recommend The Beatles: Rock Band to everyone. If you’re indifferent towards The Beatles, you might become a fan once you’re thrust into their beautiful little universe, but if you hate mop-tops with a fiery passion, all the peace and love in the world isn’t going to change your mind. Likewise, the game is not going to appeal to those expecting Metallica-esque difficulty or the good ol’ sex, drugs, and rock and roll approach of the earlier Guitar Hero/Rock Band games.

We’re not giving the game a perfect score, because we can understand why some people might hate it, or feel like it’s a step back from earlier Rock Band games. But if you asked us what we would’ve wanted to change about the experience, we’d be hard-pressed to come up with any significant edits. The joy you can get from playing The Beatles: Rock Band is simply immeasurable… provided, of course, that you’re coming to the game with the right expectations.

Is it better than%26hellip;

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith?Dear God yes. Even though GH: Aerosmith had some neat tunes by artists that inspired the band, the Beatles are, well… The Beatles. And even if they weren’t, the care that’s been put into the presentation and extras in TB:RB obliterates GH: Aerosmith and its eerie ragdoll-Steven Tyler.

? Maaaaaybe. You don’t feel like you are the Beatles, but you do feel connected to them, regardless. Rock Band 2’s campaign is much better, though.

Guitar Hero: Metallica? It’s a subjective call, obviously, but we’ve never met someone with equal affinity for both The Beatles and Metallica. Most people have a preference, and at least TB:RB doesn’t give you as many hand cramps.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Not everyone will love The Beatles: Rock Band, but everyone should love it, because it’s amazing. It’s everything a Beatles fan could want, and even if you’re not a fan, you may find yourself converted after a few songs.

Sep 8, 2009

More Info

GenreOther Games/Compilations
DescriptionThis 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.
Franchise nameRock Band
UK franchise nameRock Band
PlatformWii, Xbox 360, PS3
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating12+
Release date9 September 2009 (US), 9 September 2009 (UK)