Wednesday, September 16, 2009


The Beatles: Rock Band arrived in the mail yesterday. Very fun, very fun indeed—who DOESN'T like the Beatles? I can't think of anyone. This game is Beautifully crafted. The opening sequence starts with an homage to the opening sequence of A Hard Days Night done in a very stylized 2D cartoon reminiscent of 60's era T.V. animation and then highlights the bands albums in a beautiful blend of 3D renditions of that iconic artwork.

Game play is mostly the same as in previous Rock Band implementations with a few small changes: Overdrive has been thematically changed to "Beatlemania" and there is even an option that can be turned on that scales the Crowd Noise up to more realistic levels when Beatlemania is engaged. During Sustained notes the whammy bar can be used as in previous Rock Band games to collect extra Beatlemania, but unlike previous iterations of the game it does not warp the audio. Similarly when you are doing badly the aural cue of a mis-strummed guitar string has been toned down to almost nothing and booing crowds have been removed altogether.

Because the Beatles stopped being a touring band and moved onto being a studio band in the latter part of the Group's history the nature of the game visuals change at that point. Songs generally start depicting the band in studio and as you play the song the studio fades away into what has been dubbed "Dreamscapes." These dreamscapes are visually stunning "music video" style animations reminiscent of The Beatle's Movies (i.e. Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Magical Mystery Tour). These dreamscapes are crafted with a lot of love for the band and I almost failed out a couple times when playing Yellow Submarine because I was trying to watch the dreamscape and play at the same time.

Having played Rock Band, Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Guitar Hero 5, and now The Beatles: Rock Band—I still feel that Guitar Hero is a better Game. The Guitar Hero Philosophy of Musical Rhythm Game trend toward the elements of Game and each installment of the series has sought to improve the playability and fun factor by adding new elements of game that either add challenge for seasoned players, or make it easier to play the game in a party/group setting—which is the ideal way to pretend you're playing in a band. Rock Band's Philosophy of Musical Rhythm Games trend more toward simulation, attempting to simulate the act of playing a real guitar or drums as closely as possible on Plastic Toy Iterations of said instruments—this sometimes results in repetitious gameplay.

Rock band was created by the creators of Guitar Hero after they lost the developmental rights, and Rock Band out Guitar Heroed Guitar Hero. Then Activision who retained the rights to the Gutar Hero Name enlisted the help of subsidiary Neversoft and Out Rock Banded Rock Band with Guitar Hero III. Rock Band 2 came out and was Rock Band with more songs, and very little in the way of competitive game improvements. Guitar Hero World tour and Guitar Hero 5 have continued to add new elements of gameplay and innovation. While The Beatles Rock Band is Extremely Fun and visually stunning, and a lovingly crafted, masterful, and artistic tribute to the Fab Four—as far as gameplay goes it's Rock Band with a retread—functionally the same.

Actually, I forgot—Three Part Harmony has been added to Rock Band: Beatles, but we haven't tried that out yet.

As a Game—Guitar Hero is Better. The Reason to have Rock Band 2 is the Sheer Amount of Music available in the game and as Download-able Content. The reason to have The Beatles: Rock Band is a no brainer—The Beatles. The Beautiful Visuals and the Awesome Sound of the Fab Four Make up for the fact that they haven't really updated the Gameplay since Rock Band (Three Part Harmony Notwithstanding).

1 comment:

  1. Beatles is my favorite from Rock Band, I love it!
    But you're right Guitar Hero is more fun to play! It's still my favorite and 5 is a lot of fun so far.
    I get bored with repetetive strumming of chords, even though it may be realistic.
    I can't wait to try 3-part harmony.