Thumb Culture Retrospective – The Beatles Rock Band

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There’s nothing I love more than The Beatles, well, apart from David Bowie, Pulp and actually come to think of it there are quite a few things I love more than The Beatles. When it comes to me and Rock Band, I get on quite well with it. My main issue with the games has always been my below average health, specifically my wrists, it makes it pretty hard to play Rock Band for long periods of time. Still, that didn’t stop me from putting the disc in and not stopping until I’d played through the entire story mode. What I do regret is playing every single song in one go in one day without a break. Writing this review currently is about as easy as coaxing a meerkat out of its hole with car insurance.

I’ll just preface this review with a note. I do in fact really enjoy The Beatles, and I play Rock Band/Guitar Hero on Hard and play regularly. The last few times I’ve played these sort of games, I’ve been black out drunk. So, in tradition of that trend, I decided to go all out for a game literally nobody is playing anymore. Now I did have a few drinks on my initial playthrough, however for the mop up that followed I was completely sober.

Story

Games like these don’t really need a story mode, yet every time there’s a release, these games release one. I suppose it’s a nice and easy progression system and way of unlocking things, but there’s really no point. You play through eight chapters, not including an encore finale. Through those eight chapters you go through some classic and not so classic Beatles songs. You follow their career, from the beginnings, the Ed Sullivan TV Show, all the way to the recording studio and a rooftop.

The game itself includes 45 different songs from 12 different Beatles albums. There are some classic songs in there including I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Come Together and Helter Skelter. You play through each song, with each venue ranging from four to seven different songs. Some of the songs on this game are, well, they’re not the best of the bunch. I think It’s a bit confusing that classic songs were left out and less popular ones were kept in. Their best album of all, Magical Mystery Tour is severely lacking and only a handful of songs from that album are included.

The Beatles Rock Band

Still, the story on the whole is pretty nice. It gives a very surface overview of the illustrious career of the 60s boy band. As you can hopefully tell from the image above, we go from their start as a band all the way to the recording of several albums from Abbey Road. Rather than have us sit in Abbey Road, the game takes us into fields, dreamscapes and weird drug trips, depending on the song of course. Some of these are great, they’re extremely vibrant and very colourful.

Gameplay

If you were expecting anything different in regard to standard Rock Band gameplay then you may be disappointed. To be fair there’s nothing wrong with the gameplay at all. Sometimes it can be a bit distracting though, with the background videos becoming more of a drugs trip mess than something that helps you focus on hitting the notes. I’m not sure why so much detail is put into those videos especially considering you’re spending a lot more of your time

Honestly there are a few songs that I 100%’d on expert difficulty, so if you’re anywhere near as mediocre as me then you may want to give expert a try. Songs like Helter Skelter are ridiculously difficult however the early songs are much easier. Now I know you aren’t playing Rock Band to play bass guitar, but I did try playing it and some songs are genuinely quite challenging. Others are extremely simple, but if you enjoyed playing through with the guitar then you may enjoy playing through bass also.

Graphically speaking there really isn’t much to say. Rock Band as a series has always gone for a very unique look that mixes cartoons with real people. To say it works is an understatement, the style of the game on the whole fits in very well altogether. It should be noted that you can’t create your own character. You play as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison or the other one that doesn’t matter. You can’t create your own character or even customize the original four band members. There are some different costumes throughout the game but you can’t choose what they wear, it changes on the grounds of which song you’re playing.

What honestly surprised me is how difficult some of the achievements in this game are. Sure, you’ve got the easy ones such as completing each venue and finishing the game in less than twenty-four hours. Other achievements are much more difficult though. I did manage a handful of them such as “Still My Guitar Gently Weeps” which is to hit every note of a solo in While My Guitar Gently Weeps on expert. 100% of notes on Can’t Buy Me Love was a pretty easy one. Like I said earlier, some of the songs in this game are pretty easy no matter what difficulty you’re playing, as long as you’ve got a bit of experience with Rock Band.The Beatles Rock Band

Audio

As expected, being a fan of The Beatles led to an enjoyable soundtrack. I’m fairly sure all of the songs were remastered at Abbey Road which to be honest is pretty damn cool. The songlist for this game, to me, is slightly lacking. Don’t get me wrong, there are some genuinely great songs throughout, but there’s a certain lack of star power behind some of the songs. I was actually going to buy “All You Need is Love” and a few other songs, however they’re no longer available to buy. If you want to play this game in 2018 then you are unfortunately stuck with the original disc songs.

Conclusion

There may be one thing that puts you off of playing The Beatles Rock Band. That small discrepancy may be that you do not like the music of The Beatles. If that’s the case, don’t play this game, because this is entirely songs from that one band. You’ve been warned, but I assume you could have guessed it was only songs from The Beatles by the title of this review and also the game. A game like this can only be as good as the songs within the game, so if you don’t like the music, you won’t like the game. It’s quite a simple system that is worth looking into, check the songlist on Wikipedia before you think about buying this one.

In conclusion, it’s a serviceable game that will cater to fans of John Lennon’s Bitch Brigade, however you may notice quite a few songs are lacking. There is no Strawberry Fields Forever, Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby or even Help! If you’re going to make a greatest hits game of a band with a hell of a lot of good songs, maybe include more than one or two of their good songs? Nobody want’s Yellow Submarine. Nobody. Not even Ringo wants Yellow Submarine. The Beatles Rock Band gets a retrospective Thumb Culture Silver Award.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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