Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Ain't Got Nothin' But Rock Band, Eight Days A Week

The Beatles were always a band that I appreciated at arm's length. I respected what The Beatles were and what influence they had on rock and roll (or, at least, had heard about this a great deal), but I never really experienced my share of Beatlemania.

Which is why I was greatly surprised when I found myself getting excited for The Beatles Rock Band as the game neared release. E3 came and went with little reaction elicited from me, but as the release date came closer, the hype train started chugging, and I thought about what this game could be for me.
Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney promoting The Beatles Rock Band at E3

First off, it's Rock Band, which is a great place to begin with. Second off, the game represented a good jump-off point for me to get into The Beatles beyond their "1" compilation that came out a while ago. And lastly, I have at least two friends who are VERY much into The Beatles, so I figured we could all split it and it wouldn't be so expensive. And so last night, after a particularly hectic day, we all decided we'd order pizza and purchase The Beatles Rock Band, just to sing away (or in my case, drum away) the stress.

The Beatles Rock Band is more than just Rock Band with The Beatles skinned over it. The game takes you from when The Beatles first started out in The Cavern club in Liverpool all the way to their final rooftop performance, touching on many highlights of their career along the way. However, we didn't get a chance to experience any of that last night, as we leaped RIGHT into Quickplay; we're planning on getting around to the Story mode sometime, though.
During the early years they perform at live backgrounds, but their later work
involves psychedelic "dreamscapes." Very trippy.

My initial reactions to is one of cautious optimism. This game is probably one of the most self-explanatory I've ever heard of: The Beatles Rock Band; it's Rock Band, with The Beatles. I do appreciate some of the small tweaks, though. For example, when you first start the game, it immediately asks if you want to calibrate the settings so that your notes are accurate, instead of finding out that the game is wrong and having to adjust for it later. Also, No Fail mode is selectable from the Everybody Press The Green Button screen instead of buried in the menus, and there's a small countdown from when you pause the game and when you start it back up.

I don't think that I'm totally blown away, but I also don't think I was supposed to be. The game is more or less Rock Band with The Beatles. That said, though, I can see this being a great hook on getting my parents into Rock Band, as well as some of my non-video game friends. This'll also give me a good chance to become better acquainted with The Beatles' catalog so that I can hopefully appreciate them better. And, it's another batch of new songs for Rock Band, which is never ever a bad thing.
There's no way this + Rock Band can turn out sour.

All in all, while The Beatles Rock Band didn't completely reinvent the Rock Band wheel for me, it still feels like a worthy purchase, more-so when we're all able to start Story Mode together. At the very least, the game rekindles some of my curiosity about The Beatles, and that's where this game succeeds the most: it effectively introduces them to a new generation of potential fans.

Here's one of my favorite episodes of The Powerpuff Girls. I think you'll find it theme-appropriate.

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