The Beatles: Rock Band Updated Hands-On

From Beatles Beats to the first two chapters of story mode, we've got the latest on the Fab Four's Rock Band debut.

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Attention Fab Four fans: You've got less than 30 days to wait for the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, the latest rhythm game from the folks at Harmonix. As its name implies, the game is completely focused on the music of The Beatles, and last month, Harmonix reps visited GameSpot offices to give us a hands-on look at the game. We reported on part of that visit during our last look at the game in August, but today, we've got the rest of the story.

Last time, we gave you a look at the vocal trainer, which will help fledgling singers wrap their vocal chords around the complex harmonies from the 45 career-spanning songs found in the game. In addition, the game will have a drum trainer of sorts. Known as "Beatles Beats," the mode will give you insight into the drumming style of Ringo Starr, with more than 80 beats and fills to practice that are inspired by the songs in the game. Beatles Beats is in addition to the game's drum trainer mode, which will include 45 exercises designed to help you get your act together behind the set. If you complete the drum trainer and make your way through the many Beatles Beats exercises, you'll be ready for practically anything Ringo (or many other drummers) throws at you.

When The Beatles: Rock Band was announced last year, producers said it would span the entire career of the legendary band. That narrative will be told through the game's story mode, which will follow the band from its earliest days playing such small joints as the Cavern Club to its megastardom and worldwide tours. Finally, the story mode will follow the band to Abbey Road Studios where band members craft masterpieces as studio perfectionists. We caught a glimpse of how the story mode will work, with a look at the first two chapters of the game. These two chapters focus on the Cavern Club and the band's 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan show, respectively, and feature music from those respective eras.

Successfully completing songs in the game's story mode will unlock loads of Beatles goodies. Perhaps the most fascinating of these goodies are authentic photographs from the band's vault, some of which have never been seen before. In the first chapter, for example, you'll unlock pictures of the guys on stage in the cramped confines of the Cavern Club (one stand-out photo is a great shot taken on stage, with the camera behind the band and focusing on the throng of club-goers in attendance at the show). There are multiple photographs to unlock per chapter, and some will only be available to you if you five-star a song.

Once you've completed a chapter in the game, you can try a chapter challenge, which is essentially a setlist made up of all the songs from that particular chapter that will unlock further goodies for you. One special note about chapter challenges is this: Overdrive and note streaks will continue from song to song in this mode, making it easier to keep the energy up in your mini-concert.

The photos you unlock will all come with facts about the band's career--all vetted, Harmonix reps told us, by Sir Paul McCartney himself. But it's not just photos--you'll also find other Beatles memorabilia hidden in the game. For example, there's a Christmas record released by the band in 1963, which features the band's take on "Good King Wencesles," as well as long spoken messages of holiday cheer from John, Ringo, Paul, and George.

Beatles fanatics will get a kick out of the many unlockables detailing the band's storied career.

As much fun as the unlockables may be for Beatles faithful, it's the music that matters. The game's 45 packed-in songs and plentiful downloadable content coming after release are pleasure enough, but the details that surround those tunes are also a joy--the studio chatter you hear among the quartet before launching into a song or the lush "dreamscapes" that provide an elegant visual accompaniment to the songs. While playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," for example, we watched as the band began playing the song in a park veranda that eventually transformed into a hot air balloon before coming back down to earth with the band ending the song while playing their instruments in the friendly confines of Abbey Road.

There's less than a month to go before The Beatles: Rock Band hits retail, and you can expect plenty more information on the game between now and September 9 when the game is released, so stay tuned.

Discussion

98 comments
Ganondorf50
Ganondorf50

This game will be better them any guittar hero or rock band.

yellowbud
yellowbud

i hope they did it right and then it will be fun.

xbox360joker
xbox360joker

I have never been a fan of them, but this game is geting me in to them. They rock.

Jiraiyair94
Jiraiyair94

Oh, right... sorry lol. Anyway, they rock!!!

robskyd
robskyd

This is gonna be the dogs cahoonahs! I'd like to think that post release you'd be able to get additional downloadable content - like complete albums to play to. Oh and Jiraiyair94, its the 60s baby not the 70's

Jiraiyair94
Jiraiyair94

I am very excited about the release, but it is true that 45 songs for the greatest band in the 70s is NOTHING!! They also missed a lot of important songs like: Hey Jude, Yesterday (one of my favorite songs), Let it Be, Across The Universe, and many many others. However, I am sure that they will go out for sale on DLC, so do not worry too much about it. THE BEATLES ROOOCK!!! XD

Jiraiyair94
Jiraiyair94

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jiraiyair94
Jiraiyair94

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Jiraiyair94
Jiraiyair94

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

senton94
senton94

Woah, the instruments looks sweeeeet!

Darkkend
Darkkend

I'm not really a beatles fan so I won't be getting this. They were better with the solo careers.

Chester_Diamond
Chester_Diamond

can i play this with my standard PS3 controller? please reply

meleknaz
meleknaz

This makes me very happy indeed. Roll on next month!

iucidium
iucidium

All I can say is this....THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A 'BAND-CENTRIC' GAME! Harmonix have nailed it on the head. With the 'dreamscapes' people spectating will be thouroughly entertained, while at the same time the fun factor and relatively simple charts (until later works) will suck em in. It also has vocal harmonies! Messing around with the setup of the game you could have a backing vocal group, lol! Activision, you should be ashamed....metallica was rushed and pretty much sucky compared to the effort and passion put into this, and it took longer than 2 minutes to develop. @djrobst: what seperates GH and RB??........Passion! RB is mainly comprised of musicians - these folks will give us the best deal game-wise (better, more realistic note charts. Better note progression, BETTER MUSIC in most cases) GH are just a soul-less suits who wanna milk the cash cow...their paassion was bought off them by activision - just look at brian bright, dude always looks like they have his kids held hostage and they will get 'bumped off' if he doesn't deliver and GH IS TOO ELETIST AND SERIOUS!

djrobst
djrobst

how cant you compare rock band and guitar hero, menu's and game options aside their essentially the same game in principle.

Harerazer
Harerazer

It's the Beatles...how can you not like the Beatles?

Patton435
Patton435

as if we all didnt hear there songs in our nightmeres before this game

Dejay11chris
Dejay11chris

I can't wait for this game to come out. This is a definite buy for me.

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

Looks like everyone is now comparing Rockband and Guitar Hero.well people shouldn't do that because they are both different in their own ways .And cant be compaired to eachother.Come on even the notes are different.

PS3gamer890
PS3gamer890

I love the beatles and now that you can buy the game and as a band play the beatles version of rockband i speak for everyone that i cant wait for this and I am excited. I will be looking forward to it.

nypad2000
nypad2000

This is how you do a "Band only" version of guitar hero / Rockband. ACDC rockband was great but it was generally in my eyes just an expansion pack and its cool that you could still play the songs on the disk if you didn't have rockband. Guitar hero is just in it for the cash, I mean there charging $60 for about half the songs rockband/world tour had to offer and you dont get even a full 40 track list OF that band, its kinda sad.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

RB notes are a lot more presentable whatever the difficulty. I had problems trying to look at the notes on medium on some songs because they appear cluttered together.

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

I couldn't be less excited. GH has grown well ... tired. Nice idea with the unlockables though.

AwesomeMegaMan
AwesomeMegaMan

I'm not even that much into the Beatles, but this looks and sounds great!

xstaggerxleex
xstaggerxleex

I totally like GH better, the notes are easier to see and the game just plays faster... RB is slow, I like RB but I never find myself playing it... I am getting RB B, hopefully it will be a fun play through, course I am getting GH 5 8 days b4 so who knows

bredeyabo
bredeyabo

i love guitar hero, but i LOOOOVVEEE THE BEATLES :D

DDR_Midian
DDR_Midian

@amsscorpio: GH sucks cause they don't know how to make convincing note charts, and the GUI looks like a myspace goth designed it.

Elvis4576
Elvis4576

so? there they beatles thats more than good enough. story mode lets fans and everyone pretty much see what it was like being a beatle during the 60s which is probably the greatest feeling in the world

amsscorpio
amsscorpio

It seems that everyone has given into the fact that this game isn't gonna be that challenging haha even the hardcore fans. Anyways, Im pretty sick of people hating on gh why not like BOTH? I dont see anything special about the story mode ha, not a reason to say that gh sucks. i mean its still a progressive kind of story mode which you just need to to challenges etc, basic stuff. gh5 is where they will pick up the pace and be the same as rockband. anyways, ill probably be getting this for more songs even though im not a giant beatles fan.

cleftwain
cleftwain

I'm not sure of the age group of all the previous postings but you guys have rocked my world! I'm in my mid forties and I grew up listening to the Beatles with my dad. Hearing how a lot of you are excited about this is just fantastic. I can't wait to get my dad (a Wii Tiger Woods player) who is in his sixties set up with McCartney's guitar. I look forward to your reviews when this is released.

Michael-Redd-22
Michael-Redd-22

I never really got the hype behind the GH games that feature a specific band. Sure you get to play a bunch of their music, and yeah, you'll see the band members on stage. But it doesn't really go much farther than that. Meanwhile, this game has an entire story, and really fits what made the Beatles what they are. I can't wait to play this.

grablinux4000
grablinux4000

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Gamelova08
Gamelova08

Looks interesting....Is there gonna be a bundle for this game? You know...guitar, drums, vocals. Over where I live, all the bundles are gone...and I REALLY want to play Rock Band with an artificial gaming instrument.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

The Beatles, a classic among classics. I like to try it out.

CaptainShifty
CaptainShifty

I like how rockband tends to go for a different style than guitar hero like how guitr hero tends to focus on the metal and stuff, I walways have liked rockband better

hazuki
hazuki

Now this is how you do a music game devoted to a band. Look at guitar hero van halen. Theres fricken blink 182 and jimmy eat world in a van halen focused game? If you do a game focused on a band, you stick with that group. Not half one band, and the other half just random crap

axelviiii
axelviiii

I'll probably get this. I'm sorta tired of Rock Band by now, but this is The Beatles. They're their own case.

Elvis4576
Elvis4576

the best music game of all time from the greatest band of all time period

clubadam
clubadam

This game looks like it's going to rock. You can really see all the tender loving care they put into this game. It's Jaw dropping! I can't wait for my new guitar and drum set! I only wish you could play the songs along with all my other Rock Band songs!

solidusScott
solidusScott

This game is going to be so epic I can't wait. I also am excited about the new peripherals cause I need a new guitar controller and the hofner bass looks.... Fab!

Teh_Jakester
Teh_Jakester

Trogeton, whenever Nevervision does put in a new feature, it's un-needed. Song creator? Please; everything sounds like a ringtone. Drop-in, drop-out gameplay? Who's actually going to use that? Plus, the gameplay sucks. Try hitting notes directly on time in GHWT; doesn't work. You have to hit before or after. Laaaaaaaaaame. At least Rock Band games aren't broken. And nothing changes in Rock Band? RB2 introduced HO/PO chords. The track packs that come out every few months are just so people without internets can get DLC songs and not feel left out. Read into things before you make such stupid comments next time, kthx.

gerson25
gerson25

it's great how harmonix really put a lot of effort in making each of these games... the small details harmonix put in each game, regardless of it being band-specific or not, makes them vastly superior to any other rhythm game developer.

Trogeton
Trogeton

This game is gonna be EASY.. I'm just gonna rent it, to anyone who actually listened to the beetles in the past knows this game will be cake a complete in a few hours title At least with GH there is a buy GH5 and get VH free.. beat that Another thing rock band is what milks their games.. at least every GH game has several new feature.. NOTHING changes in rock band..that game is more overrated than Bioshock

wiiplay1
wiiplay1

@NICKKELANIUS Well unlike Guitar Hero games that feature bands, the Rock Band games actually have a lot of work put into them. And they aren't milked either.

Ashman555
Ashman555

meh, i love rock band but i dont like beatles, i dont hate em neither love em. I am really pissed off about the Band in a box pack being £180... and each of the guitars selling for £85, its a freakin rip off

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

this game really doesnt appeal to me