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The Beatles: Rock Band (2009) September 12, 2009

Posted by sjroby in Life in general, Music.
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The Beatles: Rock Band

The Beatles: Rock Band

My wife Laura decided to buy this game the other day, and we’ve played a fair bit of it. Looking at it as an example of musical video games, it feels a lot easier to play on medium difficulty than the other Rock Band and Guitar Hero games we’ve played, and the main storyline doesn’t take a heck of a long time to get through. We suspect that this is because a lot of people who’ve never played one of these games before are going to pick this one up for the Beatles angle, and no one wants the newbies to give up frustrated. Visually it’s very striking, and there’s a good selection of songs.

As for the Beatlesness of it… we don’t have a lot of Beatles stuff in this house, because for a very long time I soaked up the Beatles from so many different directions (cartoons, radio, friends’ albums, etc). that it just didn’t seem necessary to actually own any of it. If anything, I wanted to avoid the Beatles. But hearing them in the game, having to pay more attention to the songs, almost makes me want to go out and buy some CDs. Some of the old familiar songs sound fresh and fun, and some that weren’t quite as familiar, the ones I’d heard but couldn’t instantly place from reading the titles — e.g., “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “If I Needed Someone” — sound almost revelatory. Having listened to so much other music over the years, I can hear connections to other bands and other songs I might not have made before. Which is not to say there aren’t some duds. A lot of the late Beatles songs played in the last level or two of the game sound like self-indulgent jams rather than well-crafted songs. I don’t think I’ll ever develop any kind of appreciation for “I’ve Got a Feeling,” for example. In fact, most of the songs from the last level, the Rooftop Concert, left me thinking the Beatles should have broken up a bit earlier.

Overall, it’s a fun introduction to the music of the Beatles combined with a simplified and streamlined look at their career. I’d kind of like to see the game get opened up a little to include some solo material by the various ex-Beatles, but I really doubt that will happen.