Seeking to expand the scope of this blog (at the request of its creator), I present a review of the video game “The Beatles: Rock Band.” For those unfamiliar, Rock Band is an extension of the Guitar Hero game, in that you try and play along with songs using a guitar, bass, drums and vocals. There are varying degrees of difficulty for each song, both overall and with each individual component (for example, you can set the drums to “easy” on an overall “difficult” song, etc).
The Beatles version of Rock Band contains a wide variety of tracks to choose from, spanning their short but prolific career. It has early stuff like “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Twist and Shout,” and “I Wanna Be Your Man.” It has well-known songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Yellow Submarine,” and “Ticket to Ride,” but also delves into the deeper album cuts like “I Me Mine,” “Within You Without You,” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” It’s a well-rounded selection of tunes of varying degrees of difficulty to play, from the relative ease of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to the very tough “I Am the Walrus.” Of course some people will be disappointed that their own personal favorite Beatles song isn’t on here, but there’s no way they could include their whole catalog. I’m sure some sort of expansion pack with more songs will eventually be made available, or certainly you will be able to download (for a fee) other songs.
A cool aspect of the game is the numerous computer-generated background videos that accompany each song. Some are depictions of the Fab Four recording in a studio, some feature their appearance at Shea Stadium in 1965, and some are imaginary representations based on the atmosphere of the song; “Here Comes the Sun,” for example, shows the band playing in a flowery meadow in the sunshine, and for “I Am the Walrus,” we see the group in their trippy animal mascot costumes from the “Magical Mystery Tour” film.
I enjoyed playing this game, partly because of the song selection and partly because of seeing John, Paul, George and Ringo represented digitally, playing their tunes. It definitely takes practice to get good at the instruments, which is why I enjoyed the vocals better than anything else, but that’s just me. Essentially, Rock Band is karaoke on steroids…in a fun way.
The Beatles: Rock Band gets 4 out of 5 stars.