Immediately upon starting Beatles Rockband you can tell that it was a labor of love from Harmonix. There have been other music titles in the past that have been dedicated to a single band, however, none of them were done this well or had a bigger name than the Beatles. You are immediately greeted with a great montage that celebrates everything having to do with the Beatles before you are brought into the game. You have the standard options such as quick play, training and things of that nature, however, the real star in this game is the story mode and the rewards that you can unlock while learning about the Beatles at the same time. There are two types of story where you can play locally by yourself or via XBox Live. The story itself is the same, it is just whether you want to play by yourself or with friends over XBox Live.
As soon as you select to start the story you will immediately notice how different this game is from other titles in the music genre. At its core it is the same gameplay that we have all seen before, however, it is the excellent use of the Beatles license that makes this game stand out. As you progress through the game, and depending on how well you are doing, you will earn pictures that will go in your photo album. Once you earn a picture you can go into the photo album to look at it and get some facts about what is taking place in the picture. It is a great way to learn some things about the Beatles that you might not have known. After you are done with that you can go into the theatre and look at some of the “prizes” you have won. These include a “Beatles’ Christmas Record” where the Beatles send holiday wishes to their fans, on the first of seven Christmas records sent to members of the Beatles Fan Club between 1963 and 1969 along with an outtake on the Beatles first visit to the United States and more. There is also a new thing called “Chapter Challenges”. The way this works is you play through each set once in the story and then you can play the challenge. The challenge is to basically play all of the songs in a given set in a row and get as many stars as you can (20 is the maximum). This will in turn unlock those prizes that I was just speaking about.
Going through the story mode you will get to play at some of the most famous venues that the Beatles appeared at throughout their career. You start out at the Cavern in 1963 and then go to The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Shea Stadium in 1965, Budokan in 1966 and more. As you play at these places you will see the crowd going wild and at times funny scenes such as a girl running across the field at Shea Stadium to try and get to the Beatles. Harmonix did a really great job at capturing the atmosphere at each event as well as the progression the Beatles themselves went through as their career progressed. As you play each chapter you are constantly told how many songs you have completed within that chapter and the number of photos that you have collected that are available so you always know where you stand in terms of career progression and unlocking all 104 of those photos. If you are wondering how to unlock a specific photo you can always go into the gallery and it will tell you the requirements you need to meet in order to unlock it.
Overall the Beatles Rockband is a fantastic title if you are a Beatles fan or even have a passing interest. If you aren’t a fan then you won’t get anything from this game so simply move along. The only thing I can really complain about is that there are only 45 tracks in the game. With that being said though there is already a bunch of downloadable content available for this game. Full albums such as “Abbey Road” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” are available with more coming in the future. It would have been nice though if they could have included more music on the disc from the Beatles and I hope they didn’t hold any back to try and get a second Beatles Rockband game. Other than that minor complaint this is how a band specific game should be done. It’s a great tribute to the Beatles themselves and a great gift to all of their fans.