The Beatles: Rock Band

The Beatles: Rock Band Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3Wii

The Beatles: Rock Band will allow players to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and experience The Beatles catalogue of music.

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9Out of 10
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The classic Rock Band gameplay works wonderfully with the included track list
The classic Rock Band gameplay works wonderfully with the included track list

The classic Rock Band gameplay works wonderfully with the included track list

Though it clearly goes without saying, none of this style would count for anything were it not backed up by some of the greatest tunes in the history of pop music. There's no room to go over the full tracklist here, but it's fair to say that Harmonix's song selection is pretty much a dream come true for any Beatles fan. The roster includes iconic numbers like "Day Tripper" and "I Am The Walrus", but also album tracks like the swaggering "Hey Bulldog" and the brooding darkness of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The Beatles covered a wide range of styles over the course of their career, and casual fans may be surprised by the amount of musical variety on offer here.

Up until this point I've assumed that everyone knows how Rock Band works, but here's a quick recap for any non-gamers who are totally new to the concept. The aim of the game is to accompany a song by following a pattern of coloured notes as they move down a vertical track on the screen. When a note reaches the bottom of the track, the player must "play" the right chord - either by strumming a chord on a guitar-shaped controller, or by hitting an electronic drum kit. That's essentially all there is to it, but as your skill improves and you move up the difficulty levels, things can get really quite challenging rather quickly. You can buy the game with or without instruments, but you'll need at least one instrument in order to play; If you've already got a set of peripherals from an existing music game, it should be supported here.

In addition to the instrument-based play, there's also the option to sing - and it's here that Harmonix has made the biggest steps towards innovation. For the first time in a rhythm game, Beatles Rock Band will allow up to three people to sing along on a single track. Each player can stick to the central melody if they wish, but the real point of this feature is to enable multi-part vocal harmonies, wherein each player sings a slightly different part of the song. It works like any other karaoke-based game, only here there are two or three pitch indicators on screen for the harmonised sections. At the end of a tune you can get advanced feedback on who sang which part; you won't lose points if you wound up drifting between two or more parts, but if everyone does manage to stay in tune, you'll get a massive bonus to your score. None of this is actually as tricky as it sounds, but the game still throws in a helpful (if brief) tutorial to get you on your way. I normally hate singing, but I have to admit that I was totally won over by this element of the game - although I'm not sure if the rest of the office enjoyed my tuneless caterwauling. Practice makes perfect I guess.

The whole package is as classy as games get

The whole package is as classy as games get

On top of everything I've already described, Harmonix has also thrown in a bunch of additional goodies to reward players for doing well. As you progress through the story mode and are awarded stars for your performances, you'll unlock a range of black and white photos from across the Beatles' career. These are nice enough, but the real treats are the prizes you receive after collecting a set number of photos. The first reward is a Christmas message that was originally sent out on vinyl to members of the band's fanclub in 1963. It's a great little surprise that catches the foursome in a playful mood, and since the original recording was limited to 25,000 copies, very few people will have ever heard it. Later rewards include video out-takes from the band on tour, and footage of the group doing a warm-up performance for the Ed Sullivan show. Theses bonuses are pretty top notch as far as video game extras go, and since you'll need to rack up a whole bunch of five star performances to get them all, it'll take ages to collect the lot.

It's hard to see how this game could have been much better. Every element has been designed with fans in mind - even the loading screens are quite special, since they feature previously-unheard audio of the band warming up. I don't think I've ever seen a game do such a great job of catering to its target audience, and at every step Harmonix displays a deep understanding and appreciation for the Beatles license. One could argue that 45 is a fairly low track number when compared to other entries in the genre, but there's hardly any fat on the line-up and several classic albums will be available to purchase in the coming months from The Beatles: Rock Band Music Store. Personally, I'm not even that massive a Beatles fan - and yet playing this though has reminded me of everything I've ever loved about the band. If you have even a passing fondness for John, Paul, George and Ringo, this game will make you an extremely happy bunny.

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User Comments

scaz2244's Avatar


just got the bundle couple weeks ago and i bloody love this game the drums arent that great but still not as fun as guitar but as a big fan of beatles its a great package
Posted 16:39 on 06 July 2010
philrennie's Avatar

philrennie@ hurricane76

I agree, that is the most retarded thing i've seen anyone post on here
Posted 13:20 on 30 November 2009
hurricane76's Avatar

hurricane76@ RAGE_OF_THORN

Your an idiot. Sorry. Your entitled to your opinion but to knock a band so loved by millions across multiple generations is just stupid.

Your not qualified to review this game, or maybe just super jealous that the hair bands of the late 80's broke up. Or maybe you listen to rap? Either way your probably tone deaf.
Posted 04:08 on 13 September 2009
guyderman's Avatar


This was a must buy for me until I found out that you can't add any of the songs to your existing RB Library to play on RB2 and vice versa - they can only be played using the Beatles disc - why Harmonix have made the same mistake as GH is beyond me - Playing Beatles all night long will be fun for one or two nights - but being able to add these tracks into your existing library would've been brilliant! Very disapointed - and the track listing is sh*te - missed loads of classics and also has loads of crap filler tracks - and (once again following those robbing GH bastards) only 45 tracks and yet still charging full price!
No Thanks!
Posted 12:58 on 10 September 2009


4 chords dont make a song. Just another cliche, just another day. I hate gimmick driven products driven by long dead fads. Get over it people, this band was long gone before most of us were ever born. I wouldn't pay 2 cents for their tunes. Another example of the virtually untalented getting more respect than the real virtuosos out there.
Posted 00:16 on 10 September 2009


Yep, they will on PS3 and 360 versions, as with Rockband 2.

I've got the whole Rockband instrument set and this is down as one of my top games to get now.
Posted 22:04 on 06 September 2009


Now I want this game. Do the GH:WT drums etc work with this?
Posted 11:47 on 06 September 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
The Beatles: Rock Band
Out of 10
The Beatles: Rock Band
  • Excellent bonus content
  • Great use of the Beatles license
  • Amazing tracklist
  • No "Hey Jude."
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 09/09/2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii
Developer: Harmonix
Publisher: MTV Games
Genre: Music
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 13,380 9
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