One After 909: A Beatles Rock Band Review
Summary review: It's great!
Slightly longer summary review: It's great! But if you have a choice of systems to buy it for, don't get it for the Wii.
An even longer summary review: The Beatles: Rock Band is designed for the Beatles fan, not the Guitar Hero/Rock Band fan. As a result, if you count yourself among the former, you'll spend hours playing the songs and poring through the extras (photos, the 1963 Christmas record, etc.). If you're not really a Beatles fan, it's probably just a rental for you as 45 songs is light compared to other recent incarnations of the genre.
I played the game last night in "story mode", completing all 45 songs with 5 stars on Medium Guitar in right around 3 1/2 hours (although I did watch the credits, see below). As a result, I'm pretty drained, so rather than formulate and organize a review, I'm going to post random thoughts in no set order.
Hey Bulldog was probably my biggest surprise in terms of how much fun it was. I was a little disappointed in Dear Prudence (my favorite Beatles song in the game), but I'm thinking it will be better on Hard rather than Medium.
The Rooftop Concert in total was my least favorite set, however, that may have more to do with the fact that I was at the end of a 3 hour Rock Band marathon. When I do the Chapter Challenges tonight, I'll start there.
The hardest song for me (% completewise) was Drive My Car, oddly. The solos in Revolution weren't much more fun (and probably the hardest part of the game on guitar).
People griping about Boys being included are wrong.
Unlike RB2, Medium isn't as greviously undercharted. There were only a few times that I felt like there should've been notes to play.
The graphics on the Wii aren't as good as the 360 (played the demo). There's also stuff missing from the dreamscapes due to the weaker(?) engine. I also had an issue where the chart would "stutter" -- didn't happen frequently, and wasn't a gamebreaker when it did happen (note: this is not likely a Wii-only problem). If you have a choice of systems to get it for, don't get it for the Wii.
I haven't gone through the extras yet (still need to unlock a few more by completing the chapter challenges) nor have I played online so I have no opinion on those topics yet.
The gameplay is similar to other games in the genre. The only innovation is harmonies, which I haven't tried out yet, so no opinion.
The dreamscapes were really good (what I could see while playing). Some were obviously better than others, but none of them were "boring". I need to watch them at some point (you can do so by going into Performance Mode, selecting Easy difficulty, and simply not playing).
I screwed up a perfect on Hello Goodbye at the end watching the Beatles dancing
That reminds me: the notes are tight. One of the games I played (I think it was Guitar Hero: World Tour) seemed to give you relatively a lot of leeway on when you strum; here it was do or die. Granted, that didn't make it that much harder, but there were a couple notes I missed because my timing was slightly off.
I watched all the credits. Some of the highlights: Abbey Road studios had the best job descriptions; MTV thanked a legal team; and the "surprise" 45th song is given away in the credits (although arguable since it's used in the end cinematic as well).
The cinematics were really cool, especially the between-the-sets ones. I like the fact that you can watch them on demand after you "unlock" them.
The opening cinematic (which can be viewed at http://www.thebeatlesrockband.com) is pretty damn impressive watching it on a 42" screen rather than a computer monitor. The ending cinematic was ok, but it didn't blow me away or anything.
There are concerns that the game should have more than 45 songs. I can honestly say I enjoyed about 40 of them, which is about twice as many as I've enjoyed from any other guitar/band game. It's definitely a case of quality over quantity. However, if you don't consider yourself a Beatles fan, rent it first. $60 ain't cheap, especially when $60 can get you Guitar Hero 5 and Guitar Hero: Van Halen (if you purchase GH5 in September).
But I do recommend giving it a try. Harmonix et al. have demonstrated that a band game doesn't have to be random avatars on a random stage, that you can put the effort into the genre to create something that's music and art. At the minimum, you should try it simply to raise your expectations as to what the industry can do if they put their mind to it and let's hope that the industry starts to meet our expectations.
Last edited by chrth_rb; 09-10-2009 at 09:53 AM.
A plea for rationality on the Internet:
In Giles We Trust
Rarely will you come across a commercial product made with so much attention to detail, respect, and love. TB:RB is a work of art. Period.
It is an immersion into their universe. It is so much more than a game about music. It is more of a documentary than a game. I could go on and on about all the pieces .. but, I don't have the time. I am not a Beatlemaniac either ... but I have the utmost respect for what they accomplished (artistically, technically, and culturally).
This is the ONLY way a Beatles "game" should have been done. It is an amazing example of what a "quality" product should be! It's been a long time since I've seen a "product" with such dedication to it's source material.
I can only hope that people like Roger Waters and David Gilmore, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are sitting somewhere watching (or playing) the game. There is a very short list of bands that deserve a dedicated game.
These people appreciate what a quality product is, and hopefully they'll see it's potentail and how it can be such a tribute to thier music and "atmosphere".
Anyway .. THANK YOU hmx and everyone else (that's a LOT of people) involved. TB:RB is a breath of fresh air. I can't convey how nice it is to have a "game" that showcases such art and style. And, most importantly (for me), it is SOOOO nice to have a "music game" that isn't all 100 percent in-your-face/sonic boom rock. I can only hope that future dlc and/or RBN will showcase different genres as well.
THANKS again, HMX. It is an amazing expirience.
loving the game over all. The one thing I do NOT like and think was totally misleading was how the drum set was presented. The way it looks in all the advertising is that the bass drum is like the top pads just not functional...BUT NO its just a cheap skate sunshade type thing that clips to the legs...LAME!!
Anyone else feel slighted?
I already have a drum set and would not have wasted money on the bundle. The drums are what spurred me to buy it in the first place...
I can't express enough my love for this game. As a child of the 60s, I was excited about the release, but also very, very nervous that Harmonix would get something wrong. They didn't.
I have been playing video games non-stop since about 1978, and I say without reservation that playing RBTB through story mode last night was the most fun I've ever had in a game. My four childhood friends were back, and carried me away to Pepperland. I was so happy, I was nearly in tears.
this has got 2 b the best music game i've ever played, & i'm not just saying that cause it's the beatles. there needs 2 b more like this in n e of the forthcoming games. enough with the stages and career crap. more visual stylized boards, and great music. i read the interview in game informer magazine on how they had to handle the material, and i'm 4 c ing a wookstock game maybe. how f***ing awsome would that b. i played the game all day yesterday.
Okay I got to play last night:
The game is beautiful looking and we all had fun. Thankfully I didn't have trouble with the color of the gems on the track but I did get a bit hesitant in 'Beatlemania' when the track was lit up very bright. It did hinder what I was looking at (I figured it'd be no worse than the track designs in the early GH games, but it was harder to look at). I'm not much of a drummer, so NOT having the drum fills usually caused a miss. I'm not exceptionally coordinated all the time...
The vocals seem well done, no shaky arrow is a good thing. We tried the 3 part harmonies and I think once you sort the confusion that is the overlapping tracks and various indicators bouncing around it'll be a lot of fun (single player is same as RB2). Bummer that a single vocalist won't get that high of scores. I don't have 2 friends that will play above medium/easy... so oh well. I also have a hard time telling how much I'm onn/off pitch aside from the verdict at the end of each phrase. The pitch line doesn't change in size...or maybe I didn't notice, from easy to expert.
The menus are very nice and easy to navigate. No clutter involved.
Over all, I am really enjoying the game. I can't say that it will have a long term 'play frequently' value. But it will be a very nice refreshing set of music to have when RB2 needs a break, especially when the DLC albums come out.
Yes, I still do want to see another RB game in hopes to revive the love.