Bye Bye Blackbird. The Beatles: Rock Band Review

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Beatles-rock-band-wiiThe music genre has been one of the most popular game types in recent years, and for good reason. It has allowed gamers of all skill levels to come together and live out the fantasy of rock superstardom. Guitar Hero started the craze with virtual axe-shredders. Later, Rock Band added drums and vocals to create a full band experience.

But where are we now?  Many could argue that since then, the same game has been released several times, as no real technical advancements have been made.

Instead, it seems that developers of these music games are now trying to obtain rights to songs by popular rock groups. Guitar Hero did that with Aerosmith and Metallica; now Rock Band is following the trend with The Beatles: Rock Band. The Beatles may be one of the most popular and cherished group in music history, but is it enough to keep the idea from becoming stale?

Beatles: Rock Band Has Vocals, but Little Else

Like the name suggests, the set list is comprised entirely of songs throughout the Beatles’ acclaimed career. Players can choose to play guitar, bass, drums, or sing vocals as in the past games. Any musician will know that the songs will not be too challenging to play, but it also has moments where it can be more interesting than fast guitar licks and frenetic drum fills.

The instrumentation used by the Beatles later in their career, during their experimental phase, should keep it from becoming boring. Sitar parts arranged for guitar and various percussion instruments in place of drums are sure to be fun for many players.

CONSUMER Beatles 1

However, the Beatles were known more for their vocal harmonies and this addition to the Rock Band formula is definitely welcome. Up to three vocalists can perform at a time (meaning six altogether at once) to test their singing and harmonizing ability.

The booing or cheering crowd that tells a player how well he is doing has been removed in order to prevent Beatles songs from being drowned out. This seems like an unnecessary subtraction as it pretty much defeats the purpose of the music genre. In other words, you’re supposed to feel like you’re actually on stage.

In all honesty, the only reason I see to get this game is if you’re already a Beatles fan. The set list isn’t entirely long considering the number of hits from the band’s career, but downloadable content is sure to come in the near future.

Again, the Beatles-themed instruments you can buy for the game are pointless if you already have the instruments from previous games, but are cool if you’re a serious Beatles fan.

But for the rest of us, the Rock Band series is losing its appeal.

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