The Beatles: Rock Band
Although music games are a dime a dozen
these days, Harmonix and MTV Games have got together and
have truly taken the Rock Band
franchise to another plane of gaming existence with their impressive and dare
we say it, perfect rendition of The Beatles. Not only does it feel like
its own game but graphically, the game is oozing with Beatles references
and best of all, the track listing contains a healthy dose of their most
Thankfully the music of
The Beatles transcends generations which means this game can be played
by all and enjoyed by all. Although this is a Rock Band title, it is
also compatible with Guitar Hero peripherals which we reviewed the game
on and it worked flawlessly. However, if you want to treat yourself, why
not buy the complete set for great Beatles labeled equipment?
Apart from the
impressive track listing, players can also re-live key moments in The
Beatles in their career from their early touring days in Liverpool to
their final performance on the roof top of the Apple Corps.
From the very
first moments that you put the game disc in, you immediately know that the
developers have put in a hell of a lot of love into the title and if
possible, the game feels and looks like a Beatles game should. I'm sure
the remaining two band members would be mightily impressed, so would
John and George wherever they may be.
Whether you're playing
in Japan or at the Ed Sullivan Studio in the United States, the
characters in the game look like the actual band members, however some of the
more psychedelic songs actually bring the gamer into these bizarre and
highly enjoyable video clips. For example, Octopusís Garden transports
the band to the sea floor with the words of the songs swimming by them.
Classic gaming moment!
In terms of the franchise, Harmonix
and MTV Games even allow up to six players to be
part of the experience which includes three microphones for vocals (one
lead and two for harmonies), two
guitars and the drum set. That my friends is a true jamming session with
good friends and classic rock 'n' roll music. In terms of gameplay, the
title contains the following Story (Career Mode), Quick Play, Tug of War
& Score Duel as the gameplay modes.
Of course Beatles
aficionados will definitely start with the Story Mode in order
to experience the career of The Beatles for themselves which is a great
trip down memory lane. The Story Mode gives the viewer some great
animated cutscenes as they play at iconic places such as the Cavern
Club or the Ed Sullivan Studio.
Other fun activities
include Tug of War and Score Duel which are
great with other players and part of the original franchise. Of course if you play Quick
Play, the majority
of songs are available which is great for those short jam sessions and
you can even create your own track listings to play.
game can support up to six players, the harmonies of the game allow
players to either sing solo or part of the harmonies which are coloured
coded as orange and red for harmonies with blue for lead vocal. This
works quite well and best of all, older gamers should have no issues in
memorizing the songs as they are classics.
Even though the gameplay is taken from Rock Band, fans of Guitar Hero will
have no problems in picking up a guitar and mastering this title in no
time. The colour coded buttons are on identical on both guitars and as long as you strum and press down the correct
colour coded buttons, it will be music to your ears. Of course, incorrect notes or
timing will eventually have you bombing and you'll need to start again,
unless you are playing with another person and if they are good enough,
they can actually save the bad player. When it comes to vocals
and like most karaoke type games on the PlayStation 3, some gamers will
be able to get away with humming, although it's not as fun trying to
sing these classic songs.
The biggest problem with
this game are the graphics!
The graphics are perfect and I often found myself distracted by
something happening in the background while I was waiting for my fellow
band member to catch up. The graphics are quite cartoony, reminiscent of
The Beatles cartoon and it's the little things such as the
attention to detail that often catches your eye. For example, you
may start in a studio at the beginning of the song, however as you play,
you will eventually be transported into The Beatles song which can be
quite surreal at times.
Even the band members
themselves change as you play different songs from different eras such
as no one having facial hair when they first started, however near the
end of their career, the beards are now a fashion accessory. Another
great moment is when your playing on the rooftops of the Apple Corps and
the camera pans to the crowd as citizens and even police gaze up at The
Beatles as they play. Another classic gaming moment.
Lucy in the Sky has you shooting through space or
I am the Walrus has the band dressed up as animals as they sing and
dance, it's quite ingenious and priceless. With detailed characters,
great video work and a bright colour palette, this game would put be a rainbow to shame.
For newcomers, the game does contains some fun tutorials to improve your
vocals, guitar playing or drum playing and is not put in there as an
afterthought. The online mode basically
mirrors the single-player or multiplayer (local) modes and everything
you can do there, you can do online. Add in a ranking system and Rock
Band stars can also upload their feats for others to see and I must
admit that I'm always amazed by some of the experts out there.
The gamer is even rewarded with some fun and interesting unlockables
from the varied career of The Beatles from rare audio clips, photos and
even movies to entice the player on this magical journey. Apart from
unlockable content, the
replay value of the game is up there with the best thanks to local and
online play, however with an almost perfect track listing, there's
little to complain about.
Thankfully Harmonix and
MTV Games have done a great job including
some of the best Beatles song ever made. Of course, I'm being a little
biased but for this old gamer, I enjoyed over 90% of them. Best of all,
additional downloadable content will eventually be available but for
now, some of the songs included are as follows;
Apart from music, it's great to hear the band talking sometimes before and after their
sessions that almost makes these characters come to life. The cheering
of the crowd is brilliant and as opposed to the cheering of today's
concerts, the crowd back in the 60's seems more subdued and polite,
although girls still did faint when they saw their heroes in person.
I must admit that I haven't had this much fun since
Guitar Hero was
released in Australia so many moons ago, however The Beatles: Rock Band
easily usurps all music games for 2009. With perfect gameplay,
spectacular graphics and a track listing that can be enjoyed all,
Harmonix and MTV Games have successfully recreated the virtual "Fab 4"
for the PlayStation 3.