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The Beatles: Rock Band Review

Wii love you, yeah yeah yeah

When EA and developer Harmonix first announced that they were working on a version of Rock Band dedicated to The Beatles, they promised a musical experience like no other, something we'd never seen the likes of before. As it turns out, what we've ended up with is essentially Rock Band's take on the likes of Guitar Hero Metallica: a spruced-up version of the main game focused on one band instead of a variety of artists.

Not that this is a bad thing, of course. See, the advantage The Beatles: Rock Band has over the Aerosmith and Metallica versions of Guitar Hero is that so many more people love the Beatles and will be more than happy to play through 40 or so of the band's greatest hits. The sheer depth of the band's back catalogue also means that there are no filler tracks from other bands added to boost the tracklist as was the case with the Guitar Hero offerings. This is all Beatles from start to finish and fans of the Fab Four will be in for a cracking time.

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Eight Days A Wii

The game's main meat is the Story mode. Here you follow the Beatles' career from their early days playing gigs in the Cavern Club in Liverpool, all the way up to their impromptu session on the roof of the Apple Corps building, with appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in America and sessions in the Abbey Road studios along the way.

Each stage is introduced with a nifty little animated photo album which sets the scene nicely, and you're then presented with a list of songs you need to clear before moving onto the next part of the story. It's all fairly straightforward and keeps things going at a nice pace.

In terms of overall presentation, the game is flawless. The same slick Rock Band menus keep things easy to understand, and when you get into the action itself it's the minor details that make you smile and really set the mood. Before you start your first song on the Ed Sullivan Show you see some Americans watching the programme on TVs in a shop window and during the song, the camera occasionally cuts to screaming girls in the crowd. In between songs up on the roof of the Apple Corps building, you'll hear real recorded footage of the band talking to each other. Tilting your guitar to trigger the usual "Overdrive" mode now triggers "Beatlemania", which makes the girls scream even louder. It's these details that prove this game is a real labour of love, rather than just Rock Band with the generic characters replaced by John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Don't Let Me Down

The only real drawback The Beatles: Rock Band has is the difficulty level. These guys didn't bother with ridiculous Dragonforce-style guitar solos or eight-minute Metallica epics, and as a result long-time Guitar Hero and Rock Band experts looking for a challenge will be disappointed: the hardest song here is Get Back and even then it's not too tricky. Harmonix has put in a rewards system that increases the challenge to some extent so if you clear a song you unlock a rare photo from the Beatles archive, and if you clear it with a five-star rating you unlock another one. If you keep collecting photos you'll start unlocking some genuinely impressive and rare extra features. Stuff like this keeps things interesting and once you've unlocked the first of these extras (a complete recording of the Beatles' Christmas message LP which was sent to members of the band's fan club in the early days) you'll enjoy it so much you'll feel genuinely driven to continue on and five-star every song to see what else you can get.

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Comments

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  1. Hypertech Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 11:16

    Cool... I dont really care about the challenge, I hae guitar hero for that!

  2. GeDe Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 14:00

    Albeit not a GH/RB fan - This is still a great looking game. Shame not all of the Fab Four are here to see this game come out... :(

    How about a Beatles RPG? :P
    Playing through a world in the vein of the animation style of 'Yellow Submarine.'

    Could be like the Mario & Luigi series...? :D

  3. super_chris Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 14:30

    Nice review.

    I can't wait for my copy on Wednesday now.

  4. Googoo12444 Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 16:32

    Im gonna get this but I kinda want metroid prime trilogy though, hmmm decisions decisions......g

  5. solid MKsnaker Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 16:39

    My dad might buy this for... er ...him and I guess I might as well play it too.

  6. Paper Luigi Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 17:32

    Going to get this, hopefully to get my family interested in playing, I'll play as McCarney. :wink:

  7. Prince_Ashitaka Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 18:36

    Going to get this, hopefully to get my family interested in playing, I'll play as McCarney :wink:

    Paul lookalike who works at the travelling fair?

    Anyway, I would get this game if I had money to spend on Wii games. And I'm not even a huge Beatles fan!

  8. akatsukiworm Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 19:08

    hmmm sounds great.
    i dont care

  9. sciqueen Monday 7th Sep 2009 at 20:29

    I love you, Beatles!!!

  10. tomp51 Tuesday 8th Sep 2009 at 19:33

    Going to get this, hopefully to get my family interested in playing, I'll play as McCarney. :wink:

    I'll play as McCartney too

  11. phil44 Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 00:57

    I have only one thing to ask when on earth is rock band 2 comming to the wii in the uk???????

  12. Don_Corleone Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 08:30

    I mainly play these games for the challenge, I like the harder songs. So I dont think this game appeals to me. Plus the fact that its purely The Beatles and nothing else is dissapointing.

  13. Hughdude Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 11:13

    I cant wait to get it but I just got Metroid triolgy so Ill probaly be getting this in early 2010 if its not sold out :D

  14. hiper link 98 Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 16:54

    i have a pre-oder now :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :wink: :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :wink: :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :wink: :D :D :D :D :shock: :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :!:

  15. Paper Luigi Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 18:30

    Oh FFS, it was a typo, frikken deal with it.

  16. harvests_moons Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 20:52

    I mainly play these games for the challenge, I like the harder songs. So I dont think this game appeals to me. Plus the fact that its purely The Beatles and nothing else is dissapointing.

    You were expecting something different for The Beatles: Rock Band?

  17. Googoo12444 Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 21:20

    I have it! I got it over metroid prime trilogy. :-s anyway, I haven't played it yet though... Wait till tomorrow. :(

  18. SteveMega Wednesday 9th Sep 2009 at 22:12

    What a joke that once again s**tty GH titles seem to be somehow better in the eyes of ONM.

  19. Sabrewulf Friday 11th Sep 2009 at 13:39

    The unlockables make this game, it's such a pleasure to see the old archive photos and listen to material like the Christmas message to the Beatles' fan club from 1963. Unlike GH this is going to make me re-visit songs to try and really nail them to unlock all the extra content for viewing :D

  20. peter_bread Friday 11th Sep 2009 at 16:15

    this game is so good i have already completed story mode (4hours)it is so fun i got the deluxe one because my dad wanted it.

    the george harrison guitar is the best and i got 5 stars on singing octopuses garden

  21. luigidolphin Saturday 3rd Oct 2009 at 15:01

    I want this game!

    I haven't got band instruments yet, are the Beatles instruments good (better than previous Rock Band instruments)or should I try and get the Guitar Hero World tour instruments?

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