The Beatles: Rock Band Updated Hands-On

Check out 15 new songs and Vocal Training mode details inside.

What Rock Band 2 did for wannabe drummers, Harmonix's upcoming music game, The Beatles: Rock Band, looks set to do for would-be vocalists. In addition to the raw awesome factor of a game built entirely around the Beatles' massive library of classic hits, the developers have put together a bunch of goodies to help you explore the nuances of those songs. Recently, the folks at Harmonix dropped by GameSpot HQ to show off the latest build of the game and give us hands-on time with some newly announced songs and let us check out the Vocal Training mode for ourselves.

Before we get into the vocal trainer, let's get out the most important news first: the new entries in the Beatles: Rock Band catalog. In addition to 10 songs announced back at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, 15 songs have been announced today:

• Twist and Shout
• Do You Want to Know a Secret
• Can't Buy Me Love
• I Wanna Be Your Man
• Eight Days a Week
• Paperback Writer
• And Your Bird Can Sing
• Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
• With a Little Help From My Friends
• Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows
• Yellow Submarine
• Revolution
• Birthday
• Dig a Pony
• I've Got a Feeling

We had a chance to try out several of these songs for ourselves, from the rocking midtempo "Revolution" to upbeat numbers like "Twist and Shout" and "Paperback Writer," all of which were great fun to play. Unlike "Revolution," which is sung solo, both "Twist and Shout" and "Paperback Writer" feature the complex background vocals that have defined The Beatles' sound and influenced thousands of bands since.

One of the essential skills for singing harmony vocals is to identify the sometimes complex lines being sung in the background. It's here that the game's Vocal Training mode helps tremendously. When playing songs in the mode, you can switch between and isolate the different vocal parts, which are augmented by a tone playing the particular notes in that vocal part. Looping a part--similar to how you might have learned a drum beat or fill with the drum trainer in Rock Band 2--will help you learn and memorize the different parts in a song, which you can apply during your next play-through.

When you're singing a song in The Beatles: Rock Band, the game doesn't "lock" any of up to three singers in a song to a specific part. For instance, if you want to switch between a harmony vocal to the lead line in the middle of a song, you won't be penalized for doing so. That said, the game definitely pays attention to everything you sing and gives you very specific feedback at the end of your performance as to which line you spent the majority of your time on. Skilled singers will probably look to assign themselves to a specific part and then challenge themselves to make sure they don't stray from that part. When you're following along with a song's vocal line, different colors will be assigned to different parts, giving you a visual clue as to which part you need to pay attention to.

You too can sing just like Ringo! Okay, scratch that. You too can sing like Paul, John, and George!

As with the original Rock Band games, you might find yourself learning something in The Beatles: Rock Band, even while you're having a good time belting out the classic pop tunes (for instance, until we played the game, we had no idea that during one section of "Paperback Writer" the lyrics being sung in the background harmony are from the classic children's song "Frere Jacques"). Still, just like its Rock Band forebears, The Beatles: Rock Band is all about a good time, which the game looks to provide in spades. Look for more on the game next month as we lead up to its release on September 9.

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Discussion

100 comments
rachkovsky
rachkovsky

I really hate when people argue like this.

theoldalfer
theoldalfer

@PS360 I thumbed you down because of your comment. I like the Beatles and I'll probably buy this game. Paul McCartney was/is the better musician and songwriter. A movie changed your life, how weak.

PS360_
PS360_

I pre-ordered this game already and I cant wait. I really don't care what anybody else says about the Beatles cause they are my favorite band and even if this game ends up being the worst game ever (NOT GONNA HAPPEN) I will still love it and play it everyday because in my book John Lennon is GOD. I can also see why some people say that the beatles are overrated because I used to think the same thing until the day I saw the movie across the universe and from that day my life has changed a lot. Oh and one more thing I noticed that there is somebody thumbing down every positive comment about the Beatles and thumbing up every comment that is talking bad about the Beatles what an ***

shersleather
shersleather

I so can't wait for this! I already paid for it, so hurry up 9/9/09!

robmuzz
robmuzz

We'll have to practice singing backwards for some of the songs backing vocals!

kirk79
kirk79

I am looking forward to this cant wait. @ gandaf007 'I can imagine in the credits "Our Inspirations" LSD' I think you're right there. Hence their song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' that's all about tripping on LSD.

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

I am not sure what to expect from this game.

gwar207
gwar207

this game is going to be worth ever single penny

750driver
750driver

I'm scheduling 2 days off from work to play this non stop upon release.

KrimmsonHell
KrimmsonHell

I am a huge Beatle Fan and man oh man im so buying it but i hope very much they put in Come together and possibly Obladioblada

Dunkster_Utd
Dunkster_Utd

Moon Marvel, Why don't you just google it! (it will give you an instant answer). Why can't you accept that your wrong on who wrote the song! Everything else you said is your opinion which is fair enough.

gandaf007
gandaf007

That part at the end is almost as drug-induced as some of their later songs... I can imagine in the credits "Our Inspirations" LSD

missonrs
missonrs

if you dont like the beatles don't post comments on here simple enough? im getting the game i love the beatles!!

MoonMarvel
MoonMarvel

Dunkster_Utd I was correct with my facts. buffdaddy69 What you said doesn't make much sense. Are you seriously saying I only like the stones because the beatles wrote them a song? Honestly! And the beatles early stuff was soft and so was most of their later stuff. You think the stones are overrated, I think the same of the beatles.

xstaggerxleex
xstaggerxleex

already have my pre-order payed off for this and GH5, cant wait for both, I did pass on the country expansion...

Sir_Demii
Sir_Demii

*Cough*Lifeless, buffdaddy.*Cough* Seriously. What's the point in arguing with each and every comment made here?

randomguy217
randomguy217

This harmony stuff looks complicated. Can't wait to try it out!

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

"adema360 Posted Jul 22, 2009 8:08 pm GMT buffdaddy69, I love the Beatles, and no they are no where near as hard as the Rolling Stones, their early stuff was pretty weak, and their later stuff some of it was kind of hard and most of it was psychedelic, I think the primary reason the stones were harder is cause its more grungy music, I like them both, but they really are different, you don't hear the Beatles playing on allot of classic rock stations, but you still hear the Stones allot and its probably because they sound rougher. See, you're wrong there when you're saying the Stones are on the radio more then the Beatles. On most classic Rock Stations, the Beatles usually have an entire hour of their songs being played. granted, radio stations vary per city/state. but in Philadelphia, on morning and afternoon shows Beatles usually get about an hour's worth of air time, along with Mandatory Metallica that played every night for about an hour

leemeister94
leemeister94

There is absolutely no way i am not buying this game

adema360
adema360

buffdaddy69, I love the Beatles, and no they are no where near as hard as the Rolling Stones, their early stuff was pretty weak, and their later stuff some of it was kind of hard and most of it was psychedelic, I think the primary reason the stones were harder is cause its more grungy music, I like them both, but they really are different, you don't hear the Beatles playing on allot of classic rock stations, but you still hear the Stones allot and its probably because they sound rougher.

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

"MoonMarvel Posted Jul 22, 2009 9:41 am GMT Danm_999 I found 1 song written by them for the stones, I wanna be your man. Even then that was a stones and beatles song. Just because of that doesn't mean I have to like the beatles, if I write a song for the stones that doesn't mean you have to like me. In fact that song showed why I never liked the beatles but do like the stones. The stones had a harder edge to the lighter beatles version. I never did like the beatles, not my cup of light tea. I need a harder edge then most of what the beatles did. That and McCartney;s voice drives me nuts. I don't mind others liking them, I just don't." That doesnt make any sense at all, You don't like the Beatles, but you like the ROlling Stones more, just because the Beatles wrote a song for them to use. Sure the Stones may have recorded it and used it, but its stilla song written by the Beatles. And most Beatles songs are actually pretty hard, sure its not Metal, but the Beatles hardness is up their with the Rolling Stones, who in my mind, are the most overrated band ever.

auron_16
auron_16

Looks pretty cool, might pick it up if I somehow fall in love with the Beatles anytime soon :P

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

Can't wait, ill actually buy this. To all the poeple out there saying "Doesnt matter how big of a Beatles fan you are, You'll get bored of the songs real quick" I guess that can be said about all the g@y repetitive Emo bands you're use to listening to.

grim0187
grim0187

Ehh...Im just not a big Beatles fan. This game looks tailored for vocalists anyways. Im not much of a singer....wont be buying this.

petrosdaw
petrosdaw

at first this game looks crappy but after reading and seeing the video preview it looks awsome. the cutscenes look like they are from a comic ( thats frikin awsome).

DNOMYTE
DNOMYTE

NoSoup4Me old school metal songs were the funnest to sing, They should put more of that in the next Rock Band. Songs from artists like King Diamond, Crimson Glory, Queensryche, and Savatage would be awesome.

ali-009
ali-009

the best song here is "BACK IN U.S.S.R",i may buy this and forget about guitar hero.

jimmy8118
jimmy8118

Twist and Shout, as well as Revolution and With A Little Help From My Friends. I'm sold.

Blashbuck
Blashbuck

This is great! I can't wait to play "Back in the USSR". And for you guys complaining about this game being bad for music style, shut it. Yeah, okay, you may not like the Beatles, but this game is made for FANS! If you don't like Beatles by now, you most likely never will, and you won't want this game. You don't have to buy if you don't want, but the people who do listen to stuff like the Beatles all day long, WILL most likely buy this game, and they'll most likely enjoy it, so please complain somewhere else. Ok i'm done ranting.

NoSoup4Me
NoSoup4Me

This game looks great! The one thing I didn't like about rockband was the metal songs.Im a huge G'n'R fan well the older stuff anyway and I didnt find it fun or easy trying to scream through the songs .A perfect example is the opening song "hello there " by cheap trick I think, I cant stand listening to that when the game loads never mind being with a group of friends and trying to "sing" your way through.Mind you im not a hard core rb player I just play when I get together with my friends but I usually get stuck with singing and some song are just not very fun to sing.

Savvy30039
Savvy30039

Good to see some underplayed songs on the list. And Your Bird Can Sing and I Dig a Pony are two of my absolute favorites. Still waiting for While My Guitar Gently Weeps through...

Dunkster_Utd
Dunkster_Utd

MoonMarvel, Your incorrect with your facts. I wanna be your man was written by Lennon & Mccartney and can be found on the Beatles album "with the beatles". The Beatles deemed it not strong enough at the time to be released as a single. They actually gave the song to the Rolling Stones as a favour and subsequently the Stones released it as a single and it became one of there first top 20 hits. Personally I like both versions. Looking forward to the release of this game. Should be great.

pjrulez312
pjrulez312

this is great! i cant wait to get this :D

Danm_999
Danm_999

Which means you won't like the game, not that it'll be terrible.

lukas1051
lukas1051

I've said it before and I'll say it again. No matter how big a Beatles fan you are, the songs will inevitably get boring quickly. They will be unbelievably easy, no guitar solos, no tough riffs, just easy poppy repetitive songs. It's the truth, their songs may be good (in some people's opinion anyway), but they aren't suited to Rock Band. The art style and character animation etc. looks amazing but that won't make up for boring songs. The only instrument that will probably be fun is singing because of the harmonious parts, but singing is by far the least popular instrument anyway. I think in terms of fun this will fail, but it will still get good reviews because of how arty-farty it is and because it is unacceptable to dislike the Beatles in a sophisticated society. the smart thing to do for GH or RB would be to make a metal game, pure metal, that will sell, gamers love metal, metal will be fun to play it will be challenging etc. That's why GH:Metallica did so well.

Basno
Basno

Aw, Id like to see A Taste of Honey and Mother Nature's Son. Paul is my man.

MoonMarvel
MoonMarvel

Danm_999 I found 1 song written by them for the stones, I wanna be your man. Even then that was a stones and beatles song. Just because of that doesn't mean I have to like the beatles, if I write a song for the stones that doesn't mean you have to like me. In fact that song showed why I never liked the beatles but do like the stones. The stones had a harder edge to the lighter beatles version. I never did like the beatles, not my cup of light tea. I need a harder edge then most of what the beatles did. That and McCartney;s voice drives me nuts. I don't mind others liking them, I just don't.

ali-009
ali-009

looks awsome,the beatles are awsome and this game will make them more famous.

hoossy1
hoossy1

@boj0001 TALK REALLY LOUD! and your picture is ugly...

Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

I particularly liked the artistic style of the cut-scenes.

boj0001
boj0001

BOTH GUITAR HERO AND ROCK BAND WILL RUN OUT OF SONGS TO MAKE THE GAME'S SEEM GREAT. THEY ARE RELYING ON BAND THEMED GAMES. DJ HERO IS GONNA SUCK. Wii SUCKS. BIOSHOCK 2 LACKS ORIGINALITY. GOD OF WAR 3 + UNCHARTED 2 + MAFIA 2 = SIMPLY THE BEST! BETTER THAN ALL THE REST! BETTER THAN ANYTHING!

boj0001
boj0001

TAKE THAT OVERPRICED GUITAR HERO. ROCK BAND's INSTRUMENTS ARE A LOT MORE ATTRACTIVE AND IT DOESN'T HAVE THE EGO THE SIZE OF RUSSIA!

Danm_999
Danm_999

MoonMarvel: Unfortunately, the surviving members of Zeppelin have been very anti-Guitar Hero/Rock Band. There might be a chance with the Stones though, they've used lots of their music in these games before and they have the library. I find it odd you enjoy those two groups but not the Beatles though, given the amount of colloboration between the Beatles, Zeppelin and the Stones (Lennon and McCartney even wrote some of the Stones songs).

Romper72
Romper72

Haven't read up on this game but are they actually going to release this title in Australia - or will we be waiting another two years before we see/hear anything from Harmonix?