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whatshot The Beatles: Rock Band PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 9.5
Graphics 9.5
Sound 10
Value 10
Developer: EA
Review Date:
October 2009
Andrew Bistak


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 popular tracks.

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.

As the 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;

  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • I Feel Fine
  • Day Tripper
  • Taxman
  • I Am The Walrus
  • Back In The USSR
  • Octopusís Garden
  • Here Comes The S
  • Twist And Shout
  • Do You Want To Know A Secret
  • Can't Buy Me Lover
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Eight Days A Week
  • Paperback Write
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • With a Little Help from My Friends
  • Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows
  • Revolution
  • Birthday
  • Dig A Pony
  • I've Got A Feeling

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.

Final Thoughts?

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.

Highly Recommended!


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