Beatles Rockband: I Wanna Hold Your Hand
Everyone likes playing these types of games; the challenge is usually getting a group of people together at the same time. However, this weekend, Maynard’s kids are staying over, so we have a full band. And this afternoon, we played (and finished) it.
The game is fab-nominal and thoroughly enjoyable from shrink-wrap to disk ejection.
As far the gameplay goes, it’s frickin’ Rock Band. If you don’t know how this works I can’t help you. With the exception of vocal harmonics, the gameplay is exactly the same as that from previous versions.
But that’s now why we play Beatles Rock Band. We play it because of John, Paul, George, and Ringo; because of the powerful history the band had; because of their journey; because of the music.
Given that Activision decided to include versions of Kurt Cobain and Johnny Cash in their next version of Guitar Hero, and seem to be doing so entirely devoid of respect or concern for those artists and what they represented, I was apprehensive about the treatment that Harmonix would apply to my favorite musical band.
I am exceptionally happy to say that the subject matter was handled with respect and reverence. Each song has it’s own background video, and they are tailor made for the specific songs. There’s a lot of fan-service involved in this. WARNING: it is entirely possible to fuck up your song because you accidentally pay too much attention to the backgound video.
We slotted the game and blew through the entire story mode in about three hours. I did vocals the entire way (being the only person in the group who can [or was willing] to sing).
There was an interesting thing that happened to us as a group as we progressed: everyone started out on medium difficulty (or easy, for our drummer), and then, as the song difficulties ramped up (got harder), we ended up increasing our own difficulties. By the time we were performing on the roof of Apple headquarters, Maynard (bass) and I (vocals) were playing on Expert, Cailean (guitar) on Hard, and Hailey (drums) on Medium.
(Just, you know, FYI: the game is rather. . . unforgiving . . . on expert vocals. I’ve been singing “Sgt. Pepper” in the car for 20 years now and yet I failed the intro almost instantly. Octopus’ Garden? 100%. Taxman, which is perfectly in my range? Failed. So who knows.)
The end of the game (which is, of course, “The End”) is handled in such a way that I got chills up and down my arms.
This game isn’t a “party” game like Rock Band 1 or 2. Those games have a very broad appeal based on the breadth of their songlist. I’m not sure Beatles Rockband would hold up on that level – but it was a hell of a lot of fun.