- Publisher: EA, MTV Games
- Developer: Harmonix
- Also On: PS3, Wii
- ESRB Rating: “T” for Teen
- Genre: Music/Rhythm
- Pros: Great presentation; dreamscapes; nice song list; great for casual players
- Cons: Ridiculously simple and easy note charts; less than 3 hours of music
The Beatles: Rock Band is a full-band music/rhythm game where you can play guitar, bass, drums, sing, and even harmonize with your friends and family. There are 45 songs (see full song list here) that span the band’s entire career. Each song is played on a special stage that represents either a real world location the band played in (Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, etc.) or a special “dreamscape” inspired by the song itself. Playing the Ed Sullivan Show is amazing, but the dreamscapes are really something special and the best part of the presentation. The career mode takes you through the band’s career in chronological order, and it is a pretty neat little history lesson.
Not so neat is the fact that there is less than 3 hours of music to play here. More songs are coming as DLC (you can download "All You Need Is Love" for $2 today and 100% of the money goes to Doctors Without Borders, so download it), but for $60 it is hard not to expect a little more content than what we got. Secondly, the song list is great, but there are a lot of other great songs that weren’t included. I’m not a huge Beatles fan by any stretch, but even I can think of a bunch of songs off the top of my head that I want to play that aren’t here.
The Beatles: Rock Band is easily the most accessible music/rhythm game yet thanks not only to the familiar list of songs, but the gameplay itself. It is, well, easy as Hell. Great for Dad and Grandma, but not so good for longtime fans of these games. The note charts are simple and repetitive and easy and kind of boring even on expert and I’m not a fan of playing non-guitar parts on guitar (piano, trumpet, other instruments in general) which happens quite often. The songs are good, but playing them isn’t that fun if you are just playing by yourself. Playing guitar and singing at the same time helps a lot in keeping it interesting.
The graphics in Beatles: Rock Band are really something special. The dreamscapes and venues you play in during songs are great, and the characters, while kind of stylized, are still pretty much perfect. Even the menus are polished and great looking.
The sound is as good as you could possibly expect. Basically, these songs haven’t ever sounded better than they do here other than that new remastered albums that were released alongside the game. Everything is clean and clear where it should be, but still kind of static-y and distorted where it should be. It sounds great.
Despite all of the praise and a few criticisms you can give the game, it still ultimately comes down to the simple fact that the Beatles were a great band and the game is good because of that. If you aren’t already a fan, the game will help to make you one. And if you are already a fan, then this is probably the coolest videogame ever. Having more songs would have made it better and you can’t deny that the songs are pretty simple and easy (and kind of boring to play), but they sound good and playing with your friends and family makes for a pretty amazing experience overall. If you are going to play it by yourself I don’t think it is as appealing (just buy the CDs and enjoy the music that way) but if you have friends and family to play with The Beatles: Rock Band is highly recommended for a purchase.