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E3 2009 – The Beatles: Rock Band

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By Chris Scott Barr

It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t appreciate The Beatles. Many would argue that they are the greatest band of all time, and though I might put Led Zeppelin right there with them, I’d have to agree. These four guys changed the world of music as we know it, and now they’re finally coming to Rock Band.

I was able to score a little face time with some of the Harmonix crew to get a hands-on look at the latest iteration of Rock Band, which is dedicated to The Beatles. The Harmonix guys played a 3 song set which showed off a couple of the historic venues, as well as one custom venue for Back in the USSR. The graphics for the game look great, with each of the band members looking just as good as you would hope.

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Gameplay is mostly the same, with a few changes. The biggest of these is that you can now have up to 3 people on vocals at the same time. This opens up two and three-part harmonies, which really add some depth to the game, which also creates another dimension for scoring. Another minor tweak is that the “No Fail Mode” can be easily turned on when you’re selecting band members, instead of digging through submenus in the main game screen. Also, any player who selects “Easy” mode will automatically be set to “No Fail.” They’re doing this because they expect new people to be picking up the game, and it will remove some of the intimidation factor, allowing them to just enjoy the game.

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After the mini-performance I got to get up and play with the instruments, which were just as solid as the previous ones. Personally, I think the new guitars are a little more comfortable, and the buttons were more springy and responsive. The Beatles: Rock Band will be hitting stores on 09/09/09, with extra DLC like Abbey Road and more hitting soon afterwards.