The Beatles: Rock Band
- Monday, November 02, 2009
When players select songs written and performed early in the Beatles' music career, the Fab Four are portrayed as youthful lads in concert at the Cavern Club in England. From there you move on to other venues like Shea Stadium and Nippon Budokan, filled with huge crowds and screaming girls.
If players opt to perform a song written after the Beatles' stopped touring, the Beatles change hairstyles and costumes to perform at their Abbey Road studio in London. To make things even more interesting, designers created fantastical worlds to which the Beatles are transported as they perform these later songs. I was almost distracted from gameplay trying to watch the beautiful, if sometimes bizaare, scenes unfolding
Additional features also offer real footage and images of the Beatles. The graphics alone are a wonderful tribute to the Beatles' career and will make this game a great choice for social gatherings, engaging both players and observers.
The control scheme is the same as previous Rock Band versions. If you upgrade to the special Beatles edition controllers, you play with imitations of the Beatles' original musical instruments (http://www.thebeatlesrockband.com/purchase).
A note here for new players: It takes time to get used to the faux instruments. I got a score of 0% on the bass on my first attempt! After a few songs, I scored in the 80th percentile on the "easy" level.
This is really where, from a Christian worldview, we need to take the game apart a little. In regards to crass language, provocative costumes, violence or sexual innuendo, The Beatles: Rock Band is about as family friendly as a game gets. If you've ever seen earlier version of Rock Band and cringed at the wild hair and dark set-up, you'll appreciate the change of scene here.
But before parents run out and buy this for Christmas, a word of caution: this game is clearly a tribute - and a well-done tribute - to the Beatles' career. The Beatles were not a Christian band and did not always promote biblical values in their lyrics. Bill points outs, "Remember, the Beatles got pretty dark as their music progressed, and the lyrics reflect that."
Their later music also veers into eastern religions and philosophies like Hare Krishna. The lyrics and accompanying graphics on the game reflect these alternative views on at least a superficial level. Some of the dreamscapes created for songs look downright psychedelic. Those ignorant of the Beatles' dabbling in alternative religions (and alternative drugs) will think the artistic landscapes and costumes just look pretty -- if a bit New Age-y. Parents you know what your kids can handle best. Use your discretion.
Also, bear in mind that the Beatles represented a musical phenomenon that inspired hero worship among fans. The game faithfully recreates the frenzied, obsessive fan base during their touring days. It's fun to relive the massive, cheering crowds, however if you select "realistic mode" you'll get a dose of, well… reality. Fans cheer so loudly it's almost impossible to hear the music.
The Ten Commandments clearly command believers to worship one God, and one God only. Will this game inspire idol worship in its players? Probably not. Just be aware that the game does give you a glimpse of the crazed fan base.
The Beatles: Rock Band is a fantastic tribute to this legendary band and mixes interactive fun, stunning graphics, and musical history on a level you rarely find in a video game. Bill probably said it best when he shared, "I've never seen a music game so polished, with the complete package of storyline, visuals, and song selection." Whether you are a seasoned Beatles' fans or born long after their career ended, an experienced gamer or a newbie, this game is worth a try.
Rated "T" (Teen) for mild lyrics and tobacco reference. Available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii.
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