Let’s face it: one’s enjoyment of a game in a popular franchise is always partly dependent on one’s familiarity with said franchise. So as much as we’d like to make a universal statement regarding the enjoyment you’ll get out of The Beatles: Rock Band, doing so does the game a disservice. Perhaps more so than in any other game, The Beatles: Rock Band is going to mean radically different things to different people. The way we see it, there are four different types of people who will play this; which are you?
The category you fall into will dictate what you love and what you hate about The Beatles: Rock Band. We’ve given each one of these types its own section, so you can pick which review is the most relevant to you. Sound good? First up is…
Who you are:
You grew up in the Octopus’ Garden. You Let it Be. You dreamed of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. For whatever reason, you never got into videogames, but when you saw all those posters for The Beatles: Rock Band, you were intrigued. Maybe you thought they were coming out with a new album or something?
What you should know about The Beatles: Rock Band: We’re going to assume for the sake of this review that you don’t hate videogames – otherwise you wouldn’t be at our fine site. But we will assume you don’t know a whole lot about the Rock Band franchise, which is totally OK. The Beatles: Rock Band is about as user-friendly as one could hope for – you grab an instrument, turn the game on, choose Quickplay (the first option on the menu), and you’re ready to pick any of the game’s 45 songs to play.
If you choose to go through the story, you’ll work your way through the band’s history, starting in Liverpool and ending on the roof of the Apple studios. Beautiful, stylized videos bookmark each chapter, and there’s a huge incentive to keep pushing through, not only because the videos are so cool, but also because, let’s face it, The Beatles’ best stuff came later in their career. The animations of the Beatles playing on the Ed Sullivan show are great and all, but when you hit the studio years and the trippy dreamscapes start opening up, it’s a whole new experience. Aside from the fact that the Beatles’ music is arguably better at this point (compare “Revolution” to “Boys”), the game’s visuals become absolutely astounding as you progress. Prepare to fly on a giant balloon with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, take a trip on the Yellow Submarine or become the Walrus. Each song has its own visually distinct music video, and each one is an absolute treat.
Above: Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows is so visually arresting that you may play it over… and over…
When it comes to gameplay, the Beatlemaniac will typically gravitate towards vocals – if you choose to take up the mic, you’ll have the option to either sing the solo part or the harmonies. We recommend picking harmonies – there’s no penalty for jumping off your part to the main line, and from a strategic standpoint, you triple your chances of nailing a line if there are three harmonies to choose from. If you’re a Beatlemaniac, you’re likely not in it to win it – you just want have fun warbling about, singing everyone’s part and doing your best John Lennon impression. We know. Have a good time.
Above: How a Beatlemaniac will treat TB:RB
The unlockable photos and movies are so filled with Beatles love and obscure trivia that the desire to collect them all may become obsessive, yet the only way to unlock all these treasures is to earn five-star ratings on each song. If you’re a Beatlemaniac, you may just find yourself a Rock Band Guru as well by the time you’ve unlocked them all.
“They even got Ringo’s mole right! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”
Next page: the Rock Band Guru and the Giddy Fanboy