Beatles Rock band is the first single artist release from Harmonix and it is a welcome addition to the Rock Band stable. The game does little to change the mechanics of how Rock Band plays but still delivers a satisfying experience.
The main thing that the game adds to the Rock Band formula is allowing you to sing with up to three people at once. When you’re singing you can either sing the harmony parts or as a solo artist, the game allows you to choose which parts you sing and you can earn points on all of them as you go along. Another addition that is very welcome to those that hope to play it as a party game with people unused to Guitar Hero or Rock Band is that you can turn off failing in the songs, this is a great addition that really allows people to get to grips with the game without feeling like they are letting everybody else that is playing down.
Something that has been very well done and deserves praise are the dream sequences. Because the Beatles didn’t tour for a large part of their career Harmonix really went to town and made full animated music videos for the second half of the game. They range from going under the sea for Octopuses Garden to the highly psychedelic within you and without you. These are so well done that you wish that there was a way of viewing them without the usual Rock Band furniture on the screen.
Another nice touch is the addition of collectable photos, a lot of these are from personal collections and haven’t been seen before also as you collect photos you unlock prizes in the shape of rare out takes and the boys recording of a Christmas single that was only sent out to the members of the fan club. On top of this there are little snippets from the recording studios that play before the songs that really add to the feel of the game.
There are 40ish tracks available in the game and this is the one part of the game that feels a little mean. There are a lot of The Beatles best tracks in here but there are some very high profile songs that are missed out, Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane all fail to make the cut and then you have to compare it to other Rock Band games which have around 80 tracks in and again it looks a bit mean. There is the promise of downloadable content (All you need is love is already available) but you feel that this is a poor substitute for having more content on the disc.
The Beatles Rock Band is a game made with love for its source material. There has been a lot of care to make sure that the game has plenty in for fans and for those who are new to the Beatles. At every step there are small but important touches that draw you into the Beatles world and really help you to understand just how important a band they were. It sets the bar for how games of this sort will be developed from this point onwards. But there is a nagging feeling that a bit more time could have been spent on tidying up the Rock Band experience and that the lack of songs in the game hurt it as the party experience it could have been.