Review: “The Beatles: Rock Band” [Nintendo Wii 2009]

Amazon Beatles RBMove over Guitar Hero: Metallica, the best rhythm game to feature a single artist has just invaded the gaming market. The Beatles: Rock Band offers the most pleasurable rock and roll gaming experience that you will come across this holiday season.

Featuring 45 original and remastered studio tracks from each era of the band’s career, with settings such as the Ed Sullivan Theater, Shea Stadium (my personal favorite), the Budokan, and Abbey Road Studios, the spirit is very much alive as the portrayal of The Beatles culture is absolutely fab.

But, Mommy is making me choose; Guitar Hero 5 or The Beatles: Rock Band?: If you are a casual player and plan to buy only one rhythm game this year, then The Beatles: Rock Band is the way to go. For what it is, this game is flawless. However, if you are a serious instrument-based gamer, you will spend more time playing Guitar Hero 5 due to the higher number of challenging songs for the guitar and drums in particular, and also due to the wider variety of musical content.

Rectangles vs. Circles, and the real challenge: I find the circular notes of the Guitar Hero games easier to read than the rectangular or squared notes of the Rock Band series, but that is a personal preference of mine. There are times during game play when it was difficult to see the scrolling notes and beats on the RB engine. However, the vocal highway is superior to Guitar Hero’s vocal paths.

The most challenging element of The Beatles:Rock Band is the singing, especially on the Paul McCartney songs with falsetto parts. The John Lennon songs fall somewhere in the middle while the George Harrison and Ringo Starr tunes are the least straining. There are two options for the vocals; you can sing the lead solo parts or the lead solo parts with all of the harmonies. The latter is for the real sadists. My father, a true Beatles aficionado, performed for three hours on expert mode last night. We hope his voice will be back by the end of the week.

I own Guitar Hero: World Tour, will those drums allow me to live out my Ringo fantasies: Yes, the Guitar Hero drum kit is perfectly compatible with The Beatles: Rock Band for the Wii. Thank the rock gods for this as the standard Rock Band drums are highly unauthentic compared to Guitar Hero which includes the cymbal pads without buying all sorts of add-ons.

4.5 StarsThe Guitar Hero microphone and guitars also work like a charm. Check out the full compatibility chart from Rock Band here. I’d also like to add that the  manual instrument calibration on The Beatles: Rock Band is far better than Guitar Hero 5 which you really have to screw around with to get perfect.

This game scores major points for the Rock Band franchise but the war ain’t over yet. The official release of Guitar Hero: Van Halen is on the horizon -Meds



3 Responses to “Review: “The Beatles: Rock Band” [Nintendo Wii 2009]”

  1. Great review! I’m looking forward to giving this game a try. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Jeff! Let me know your thoughts on the game when you get a chance to play.

  3. I finally got around to playing this over the weekend. I think it’s really well done. The graphics are fantastic, although at times they tend to distract you from the notes that you’re trying to play. I really liked the recording session outtakes before and after the tracks. I like the “no fail” option too. If a song is tricky, it’s good to be able to hack your way through it without having to back out to practice mode to try to get it right. This also made the game more enjoyable when I played this with some friends (and their young kids) – no pressure, and you can still see how everybody did at the end of the song via the stats.

    According to Wikipedia, full albums will be released for purchase/download in the near future, starting with Abbey Road. Given the depth of The Beatles catalog, this game will keep entertaining for a long time.

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