Player’s Club: Five Fallacies About The Beatles: Rock Band

There’s this thing called The Beatles: Rock Band. You’ve probably heard of it, assuming you’ve turned on a television or picked up a newspaper or magazine at any point in the last two weeks. The hype is deafening, but justified. Still, some misconceptions about the game have taken root, and it’s about time we weeded them out. Weeding out is definitely something the Beatles are familiar with.

1. It’s just another Rock Band game.

Although the gameplay is fundamentally the same, The Beatles: Rock Band looks and feels like no other music game. Instead of tossing out Beatles songs with the same generic character designs and performance animations found in Rock Band, Beatles: Rock Band was built from the ground up to offer an all-encompassing Beatles experience. A breath-taking opening sequence sets the visual tone, and every cut-scene and background animation is both elegant and unmistakably Beatles-esque. You also unlock various pieces of Beatles memorabilia, like photographs, old promotional films, and even the band’s 1963 fanclub-exclusive Christmas 45. The experience is so consistently engrossing that I’m not even bothered by another major distinction between this and other Rock Band games: it’s completely self-contained. You can’t mix-and-match songs between Rock Band and Beatles: Rock Band.

2. It’s not just another Rock Band game.

Other than the presentation, there are no surprises here. The Beatles: Rock Band plays almost exactly like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. You’ve got a little plastic guitar with five buttons and a strum bar, a kit with four drums and a kick pedal, and a microphone for the vocals. With these controllers you play along with classic Beatles songs, hitting the drumpads or the guitar’s buttons based on a stream of color-coded notes that act as a simplified music chart. There are a few minor differences; the tone switch and whammy bar no longer affect the music, and up to two other vocalists can harmonize with the lead singer. Otherwise Beatles: Rock Band plays exactly like you’d expect.