AN ARTISTIC AND BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE OF THE HIGHEST REGARD!
AN ARTISTIC AND BEAUTIFUL EXPERIENCE OF THE HIGHEST REGARD!Respect is easy to say but hard to demonstrate, one can say they respect a belief but showing that respect is a whole different matter. So when I finished experiencing the fourty-five strong setlist of The Beatles: Rock Band, I was left with a refreshing satisfaction that respect still shines brightly in the world of videogames. For Rock Band developers Harmonix Music Systems have shown nothing but absolute respect for everything the legendary fab four from Liverpool were about. The Beatles first ever adventure into videogames is more of an experience then anything any other music rhythm game as been, and sets a whole new standard for future band specific titles.
Now it would only be right by stating one obvious point before I discuss the finer details of this latest Rock Band game, if you don't like The Beatles then you probably shouldn't be that interested in this review, because the simple fact is The Beatles: Rock Band is all about the legendary four who stormed the 1960's and inspired so many popular artists of today. In this Harmonix have created not just a fitting tribute, but a whole new platform for a whole new generation of potential Beatlemaniacs. While it doesn't offer the strumming madness of say Guitar Hero: Metallica, it does offer a setlist that is as wonderful to experience as they are to play.
Which is the first important point to make, going into The Beatles: Rock Band. It's all to easy to jump the gun and expect the overall gameplay to be your common Rock Band experience and while in it rooted in the formula of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, it offers an almost uniquely personal and hypnotic enjoyment like no other game I've ever picked up a plastic guitar controller for. It's somewhat hard to explain in words, but once I finished the final song, I found myself both taken aback and chilled out by The Beatles music. I had a whole new respect for each member of the group, which is unique in it's own form.
For you see, once you near the end of the story mode and have played through a number of the iconic arenas made famous by the group. You'll know the finer techniques and methods of each member, with the most striking being the varied (and most challenging) music of George Harrison. Harrison's musical talents are vastly different from that of Paul, John and Ringo. This is not just in lyric form, for just playing a few of his featured tracks that were written and performed by George shows a clear difference between the much carmer and simpler tunes of John Lennon. The fact that I'm even talking about such a thing clearly shows the wonderful work put in by the developers and certain family members of the group, it all comes together and offers an whole new generation the chance to fall in love with The Beatles.
As a music rhythm game it's rather standard for the most part, it follows the same gameplay format of hitting coloured notes traveling down on a track matching the music being played. It's common to most gamers, but defiantly doesn't feel old or worn out when your strumming along to Hello Goodbye or Come Together. There is a quickplay mode which allows you to quickly setup setlists to play with friends or on your own, there as been a few user interface improvements in this department and develops on the Rock Band formula well. The story mode can be played both on your own or with friends offline and online, while there doesn't seem a lot of 'meat' to the game. You'll definatly find yourself returning again and again just so you can experience the wonderful songs found throughout and one cannot forget the future downloadable content being added to the game.
Everything as been treated with care and respect, I mentioned that word eariler and it stands true in every way. While we all thought Neversoft's Guitar Hero: Metallica was a fine tribute towards the rock legends, Harmonix have took band specific music rhythm games to an whole new level and while the music itself plays an important part, it's actually the new three-way harmonies that stand out as a worthy and exciting new feature for the genre as a whole. The Beatles were famous for harmonizing on many of their tracks, so the fact that the developers have created such a fine simulated feature that feels so great when it all comes together, is an extra little treat. Three-way harmonizing now means that up to three drunk friends can sing along to 'Yellow Submarine' whenever they want and not feel like fools. Which is a great thing in itself, especially when harmonzing is done well.
While people have complained about a fourty-five song setlist, it's all to easy to forget that Guitar Hero: Metallica only featured twenty-five of the rock groups best songs with the rest being support groups to feature within the game. It's even tougher to complain when you consider that there is not one poor song within the whole game, all fourty-five songs just feel right especially if your a fan of the fab four. There not tough songs to play if you have experience in the genre, but that's not really the whole point. It's about an artistic and beautful experience both aurally and visually, it's one of the finest thrill rides in both videogaming and music. I haven't even touched upon the creative dreamscapes for The Beatles spell recording in Abbey Road, the unlockable wonders (including a simply wonderful Christmas sing-along with the group) and the fact that it features some of the finest virtual moustaches ever seen.
It's colourful, it's bright and it's one of the best music games I've ever had the honour of putting in my console disc drive. If this is the only ever game that will feature the beautiful and timeless music from the lads from Liverpool, then I will be a happy man. It is more then a fitting tribute of what's good about the group, offering a tighter more developed experience that builds upon the Rock Band 2 formula. One can only hope that we eventually see some of these wise technical additions added to the standard franchise in an update of sorts. But from the hypnotic dreamscapes to an whole new appreciation for the music, it's an adventure like no other and offers an example of a uniquely personal sort of music rhythm game.
One that isn't based around how tough a song is to play, but more about how you feel when your playing it. I found myself both satisfied and chilled after experiencing The Beatles: Rock Band. It won't be for everyone, if your looking for the next 'Through The Fire and Flames' then you better venture on and look elsewhere, but if your looking for a return to the original concept of the music rhythm game as a chance for you appreciate music in a different form, then you'll do well by picking up The Beatles: Rock Band. One of the games of the year so far!
SCORE: 5 STARS OUT OF 5!
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