My copy of The Beatles: Rock Band for the Wii arrived last Friday – not on the Wednesday, despite GameConnection‘s claim that pre-orders are dispatched to “arrive on the day of release” (I have an email telling me it was dispatched on the game’s release date). I’m a patient person though, so a short wait wasn’t a big deal – and given the recent postal disruption I’m probably lucky it turned up as quickly as it did.
The game itself plays like the other instalments in the Rock Band series, so there aren’t many surprises – it’s simply a fusion of The Beatles and Rock Band. It’s very well done though, with a slick opening cinematic that leads you into a game that has great presentation throughout. The visual sequences that accompany each song are particularly noteworthy, though when you’re playing you don’t have time to properly admire the effort that’s gone into them.
This is the third music rhythm game I’ve played, so while I’ve been enjoying it there isn’t the same novelty value as before. I’m also getting fairly good due to all the practise I’ve had, so a relatively small game like The Beatles: Rock Band, which has 45 songs, only takes a few days to work through.
Unlockable rewards are a welcome addition to the game, giving an incentive to go back and five star all the songs so that you can get all the photos, background information and video clips.
The game’s story mode is split into chapters that follow The Beatles’ career. After completing a chapter you can go back and try the chapter challenge, in which you play the songs from that chapter back to back (with the aim of five starring them all). This works really well for the first few chapters of the game, which tell the story of The Beatles’ touring career, because the minimal down time between songs really adds to the feeling of playing a live set. It’s not quite so good for the Abbey Studio era because you lose the feeling of playing to an audience (well, an imaginary audience) and the intricate visuals take longer to load so it’s less frenzied.
I already have instruments from the original Rock Band, so I didn’t need to buy new ones for this game. The game’s developer, Harmonix, believe in instrument compatibility and it was good to find that I could dust off the Guitar Hero 3 controller (which has a nice clicky strum bar).
I don’t have many criticisms. Its the same Rock Band formula but I never expected anything more. I have to say the background information accompanying each unlocked photo is tricky to read, probably due to the Wii’s lack of high definition (and my lack of component cables). The end credits were also very long, unskippable and didn’t even have the backing of Beatles music (just lots of boring studio noise).
Overall it’s a well crafted music rhythm game that any Beatles fan will love.