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September 10, 2009

Filed under: gaming»software»rock_band

Beatlemania

OF COURSE we bought Beatles: Rock Band the day it came out. Belle is a full-fledged Beatlemaniac. Her calendar has eight days a week and when I say goodbye, she says hello--it makes our home life confusing, but you can't fault her taste.

The game was obviously created by equally-intense fans, which comes into play in interesting ways. Not being a real Beatles listener myself, a few things leapt out at me:

  • If you lose a song, it just fades to black. Nobody's going to boo the lads from Liverpool off stage in this game.
  • The whammy bar is disabled on guitar and bass. It still affects the note trail, and for all I can tell it still increases your score, but there's no audible effect. There will be no dive-bombing during "I Am The Walrus," no matter how much you want to.
  • Especially since, in the more production-heavy songs from their studio days, the guitar controller is actually playing strings and synth parts.
  • The songs are arranged chronologically, and have Harmonix's usual care with note placement (for the most part--"Birthday" and "Come Together" are going to bug anyone who's played them on a real instrument, but there's nothing they could do about that). This means it's a great process of discovery for someone who loves the band, but the difficulty level is all over the map. These are easily some of the most difficult Rock Band songs I've seen--not just in the Guitar Hero showers-of-notes sense, but because they're complex songs to begin with. The game provides a helpful "difficulty meter" when choosing a song: pay attention to it. They're not joking around.
  • I love some of the achievements, particularly "Authenticity:" "Finish any song as a bassist with Lefty Mode turned on, hitting at least 50% of the notes." They should really make you sing at the same time--Sir Paul is a monster bass player.

We played for about three hours, and beat every stage but one last night, only stopping when my hands started to cramp up. I think Belle likes it.

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