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Get Back – The Beatles: Rock Band (2009)

My first experience with The Beatles: Rock Band…

The retail Limited Edition comes with a code for an Xbox Avatar t shirt. Going on marketplace.xbox.com to redeem my code gave me the above error message. The game does include a male and female version of the shirt but apparently my guy is unable to wear a female avatar shirt? Thank you xbox.com for reminding me that my avatar is male!

Last week I heard word of a deal impossible to pass up. Target currently has the Limited Edition of The Beatles: Rock Band on clearance at prices as low as $60 dollars. Many thanks go to Vo for helping me pick up a bundle! For awhile I’ve wanted to have a full band set for a good price and really this is the best package available. For the price I couldn’t say no. At one point I was debating pulling the plug at the $250 price point so this worked out perfectly.

To keep things short I would assume anybody reading is familiar with the Rock Band series. Essentially The Beatles: Rock Band is “Rock Band” themed entirely around The Beatles. Regardless of how you “feel” about The Beatles and their music, their game is a carefully crafted explosion centered solely around the band that comes highly recommended for one with any interest in rhythm games.

For many years dating back to the original Guitar Hero I’ve grown to appreciate developer Harmonix and preferred their games over recent Guitar Hero offerings from Neversoft. Where the Rock Band series seems to have matured Guitar Hero seemed to have been run into the ground with a few (too many?) poor offerings. To be fair Guitar Hero: Metallica has some amazing songs but sadly is not an “ode” to the band in the same vein as The Beatles game is. Guitar Hero: Word Tour will always have a soft spot with me because of the three included Tool songs (Parabola, Schism, Vicarious) and a downloadable In Flames song Disconnected.

Everything about the The Beatles: Rock Band just “works”. Loading screens are kept to a minimum at all points. The menus are quick, clear, and functional. After playing Fable 2 and having to sit though a loading screen after pressing Start and then being presented with muddy menus afterward the responsiveness in Beatles is much appreciated. The graphic designers at Harmonix or whatever outsourcing shop they used also is impressive. They must have not had the license to use any video footage of the band so all the movies are animated and many shots use manipulated real life photos. These videos are not the most entertaining bits ever created but the video is in very clear 720p with minimal compression and compare well the FMV of Lost Odyssey and contain many easter eggs for fans.

The selection of songs in the game (song list) encompass the bands run 1960-1970 and contains many of the classic well known songs as well as a few that work well to play on plastic instruments. When I play these games I prefer to play guitar over any other instrument. After a few beverages or the right circumstances I’ll sing and my coordination is rancid so drums are what I play the least. On guitar some songs in the game can be boring or just not complex enough to play. This again is not a breaking point of the game but finding a good balance with the players skill and what difficulty to play on is required. That’s not to say a skilled guitar player won’t find a challenge as some songs can be challenging on Expert but nothing like some of the harder songs from Guitar Hero past. One of my favorite songs to play is “Come Together” on vocals because of the free sing sections as I found it fun to say random things. On guitar Helter Skelter, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), I Saw Her Standing There, and Revolution were my favorite to play as they are faster and more complex then most of the other songs. When playing as a “band” I did try singing and playing guitar at the same time as the game does come with a mike stand. Some songs if you know the lyrics it’s completely possible and fun but trying this I did come to a new respect for singers who play instruments and sing at the same time. That is ef’n hard.

If I had to nit pick one thing I found missing was the free drum at the start of songs that Rock Band 2 has. Also the wammy on guitar I only found made a difference on very select notes. It’s very hard to make these songs your own and when playing the songs sound more like recordings then actual playing. The game makes up with it with very atmospheric cloud noise but still when playing these games I like to ef around a little bit. For vocals it comes recommended to choose the setting “lower original vocals” as when singing I like to hear the singer more then the default setting allows.

So far I completed the Story mode on Hard/Expert guitar getting 5 stars on all songs. I also was able to complete the story mode in 24 hours thus earning the “Day Tripper” achievement. I’ve also did some random solo quick play on all instruments. Played one night as a “band” with one other person playing with me and the game performed as expected. In the future I do plan on getting a few of the downloadable songs but no album packages I don’t believe. If anybody has gotten any of the downloadable songs please let me know as I would like to hear what ones are best to play especially on guitar. The one song I will download is “All We Need is Love” as proceeds go to charity.

I love music and combining video games and music for years now has still been an experience I find fun. Since the days of the Heroics Trilogy up to yesterday something about the faux experience of playing instruments and being able to play “music” still means something. With all the talk of the decline of the music game genre The Beatles: Rock Band comes along and makes me forget about all that noise. Even if one is not a fan of The Beatles if you have a plastic guitar sitting around pick up the gameI promise at least a few of the songs will be fun to play and sing along with. Undecim 4

Category: Video Games

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2 Responses

  1. Jeffrey says:

    That’s too bad they didn’t let you get the chick shirt. Maybe your avatar needs a gender change operation.

    Also, I loath the Beatles, so for me playing that game would be a greater challenge that COD4 on veteran.

  2. vanlandw says:

    I wonder if you can give your xbox avatar a sex change. That is a good question. The shirt seems to be the same but I think female avatars are more curvy but really the shirt is the same for both genders.

    Many people seem to be pretty polarized on The Beatles. I go in waves when I can’t sand hearing them and when I really want to listen to them and research their history. I think as a band I find them more interesting in regard to the time of their peak popularity in particular more so then their actual music.

    The game itself is finely crafted piece of development. The best rhythm game I’ve scene.

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