The Beatles: Rock Band

What It Is

Who could have guessed that the band my parents (and some of our grandparents) listened to on vinyl records 40 years ago would become one of the most talked about video games of 2009. The Beatles: Rock Band is the latest Rock Band game and gives players the ability to jam along with the Fab Four or, at least, digitally animated versions, through a collection of songs that span the band’s career. Songs include hits from the early small club days in 1963 Liverpool such as “Twist And Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” to that famous final performance on the Apple Corps rooftop of “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Why It’s Fun

For the first time in Rock Band history, The Beatles: Rock Band introduces three-part vocal harmonies to the game play, which allows players to belt-out the bands’ biggest hits together karaoke-style. For those of us that choose not to sing anywhere other than the privacy of our cars, the game also comes with new instrument controllers based on some of the iconic instruments that The Beatles performed with. Instruments include the Rickenbacker 325 and Gretsch Duo Jet guitars played by John Lennon and George Harrison, the Höfner bass played by Paul McCartney and a Ringo Starr inspired Ludwig-branded drum set with a classic pearl finish and vintage model Beatles kick drum head.

Those digital animations I mentioned earlier are really good. In fact, these may be the best graphics I’ve seen in a music game so far. You’ll notice way more going on than just The Beatles on a stage because the game includes visual backgrounds that mirror the time periods in which the songs were originally released.

In addition to the game play, players are also treated to actual voice recordings from John, Paul, George and Ringo chatting between takes during studio sessions recorded at Abbey Road more than four decades ago. These recordings have never been released.

Who’s Going To Love It

In a nutshell, Beatles fans are going to love The Beatles: Rock Band. Casual gamers will also enjoy this game thanks to a new element that allows groups to continue playing even if one person isn’t performing well.

This is a game that will engage the entire family, and will probably account for a new generation of kids loving the Beatles’ music.

People who are not fans of the Beatles, and yes, they do exist, will probably only be interested in this game to see what all the hype is about but will quickly loose interest.

What To Be Aware Of

The game disc comes with 45 songs, which isn’t a lot when you consider that Rock Band 2 included more than 80 songs on the disc. Additional songs will become available to download but you will need to make sure your game console is connected to the Internet for any downloads.

The Beatles: Rock Band is sold alone (game only) and with the Limited Edition Premium Bundle ($249.99). The two guitars are not included in the bundle but can be purchased separately for $100 each. You don’t need any of these Beatles branded instruments to play as the game will work with previous Rock Band instruments, Guitar Hero instruments and even third party microphones including SingStar and Lips.

The Beatles: Rock Band is rated “T” for Teen with the descriptors “Mild Lyrics” and “Tobacco Reference” by the ESRB.

Fun Scale

0 out of 5

It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!

Video Game Information

The Beatles: Rock Band
Publisher: MTV Games Electronic Arts
Rated: Teen

System: PS3, Xbox360, Wii
Genre: Music
Players: 1 -4

SRP: $59.99 (game), $249.99 (game plus three instruments), $99.99 (standalone guitars)
Available: Now, at most major retail and toy stores as well as electronic gaming specialty shops and many online e-commerce sites.
Launch Date: September 9, 2009
Date of Review: September 9, 2009

*Rating determined by the ESRB


What do you think about The Beatles: Rock Band?

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