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The Beatles: Rock Band Review

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The Beatles: Rock Band Cover Art

The Beatles: Rock Band Cover Art

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.
The Beatles: Rock Band is a video game that allows players to take on the roles of The Beatles band members as they journey through their musical career. The game allows you to play with anywhere from one to six band members. Your band can have a guitarist, bassist, drummer and up to three vocalists. It has a nice range of Beatles tunes from ballads to rockin’ classics, so there is something out there for just about everyone, and it has a lot of appeal as an intergenerational choice. Plus, since you can do anything from guitar to vocals, you don’t need to be a “gamer” to have fun.

Pros

  • Music is familiar to and appeals to a range of people
  • Includes a “no-fail” option so you can play with the whole family, regardless of skill
  • Purchase/Download additional Beatles music to add to game play
  • Can use instruments from other Rock Band, Guitar Hero and similar games
  • Animation is fun to watch and adds to the storyline

Cons

  • May get boring quickly for non-Beatles fans since the music is entirely from The Beatles’ catalog

Getting Started

The Beatles: Rock Band is similar to other games in the genre. As color coded markers scroll down the screen, you press the corresponding button/hit the corresponding drum. As you increase in difficulty, you're challenged to play chords or hit multiple drums in more and more complex patterns. In voice mode you sing along karaoke-style as the words scroll across the screen. Pitch markers help guide you for songs you don't quite know by heart.

There are two primary modes for enjoying The Beatles: Rock Band. There is a story mode, which follows The Beatles through their career as they play in different venues. You unlock photos as you successfully complete each song. There is also a Quick Play mode which allows you to choose individual songs to play. This is a nice way to have a quick jam session, or just get used to playing a particular song.

The Beatles Rock: Band and the T for Teen Rating

The Beatles: Rock Band - "Can't Buy Me Love"

The Beatles: Rock Band - "Can't Buy Me Love"

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.

We already owned a guitar, but we picked up a set of drums so my husband and I could play together while I was suffering from laryngitis. I find the drums easier to play than the guitar, so it was a nice purchase for us anyway. My four-year-old son was in the room when I took out the drums and started playing around. While on my first round of “Yellow Submarine," I noticed him singing along. I gave him a microphone and he was able to play, too. When my husband came home, he grabbed the guitar and we had a family jam session that we all enjoyed. We could each choose the difficulty level that worked for us and with a “no-fail” option, we each just did our best.

Although The Beatles: Rock Band is rated T for Teen, many families may find that it’s appropriate for younger children. The rating is given due to the nature of some of the lyrics, which you can easily filter out in Quick Play mode, and use of tobacco. We have no problem with our 2-and 4- year olds being in the room while we play and actually joining in on some of the songs. The tobacco use isn’t anything worse than they see outside of the mall or any other public building and, honestly, I didn’t notice it at all in Quick Play mode. Most younger children will find the instruments a bit too complex, but the “no-fail” option allows the game to keep going no matter how badly you play.

The Beatles: Rock Band – Just for Fun

It should be noted that playing the Rock Band video games isn’t like playing an actual instrument. They mimic the real thing, and probably help with hand-eye coordination, but the skills aren’t going to translate in any meaningful way. Still, you feel like you’re playing, especially when you’re banging on the drums. On a similar note, the game registers change in pitch as you sing, but you can still be horribly off tune and singing the wrong lyrics and it won’t know the difference. I am hardly a fantastic singer, but was able to score high marks because I knew the songs I was singing and could muddle through. Simply put: don’t buy any of the Rock Band games expecting a music course.

The Bottom Line

The Beatles: Rock Band is a lot of fun if you know and love The Beatles’ music. It’s even more fun as a group and if you don’t have anyone at home to jam with, you can play with others online. This one gets high marks from me for gamers, but also for casual game play, especially across generations. Don’t forget to pick up at least one instrument or microphone to go along with it, though, or you’re out of luck. And remember, even pretend instruments take practice to master. Expect to play a song many times before you’ll be able to play well on advanced levels.

Manufacter Specs

  • Publisher: MTV Games, EA
  • Release Date: September 9, 2009
  • Genre: Music
  • ESRB Rating: T for Teen
  • Platforms: Reviewed on PS3. Also available for Wii and Xbox 360
The Beatles: Rock Band - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles: Rock Band - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Harmonix Music Systems, Inc.
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