Gaming Excellence was first in line outside of MTV's recreation of the Abbey Road recording studio to get hands-on with The Beatles: Rock Band. The packed media event began with the Harmonix crew playing a three song set to showcase the game. There are three important changes to make The Beatles: Rock Band Band out from its predecessors.
First the game includes three part vocal harmonies. Three mics hooked up allow two players to back the solo singer in harmony sections of songs. Each vocalist gets their own arrow to track their singing. With three vocalists the line of the vocal track will split up into up to three separately coloured sections. If each player matches a their vocal line the band will earn a bonus score. While solo vocalists can still earn a "Fab" rating, with other players assisting in harmonies that fab can become double or even triple. Not only do the harmonies add to the points, they sound great and add another layer of coordination and teamwork to the gameplay.
Next there is the aim to make this title the most accessible Rock Band game yet. The popular No Fail mode is now right in the main menu instead of buried in the game. Players selecting the easy difficulty are now automatically on No Fail mode. Now your mom can play along without making the crowd boo your band off the stage.
While the game does include a campaign mode, all 45 songs on the disc are playable right from the start. There is no need to unlock songs in this game. If 45 songs sounds like too few, the plan is to release full albums of Beatles songs in the future, starting with Abbey Road soon after release.
Lastly there is the full Beatles experience. Beatles songs from their long and varied career are included, and the venues, clothes, and hair change reflecting the stage of the band's career. They begin as mop-topped polite young men in suits playing small rock clubs like the Cavern Club, evolve into the stadium rockers that rocked Japan's Budokan Stadium, and finally become the experimental psychedelic musicians of their studio sessions.
The game boasts some impressive visual style with a range of styles from dingy clubs to soaring colourful dreamscapes. There are also more directed cuts of the band members interacting together and the crowd reacting to the music.
MTV and Harmonix look to be trying to please three kinds of people with this title: Beatles fans, Rock Band fans, and new players. It looks like they will be successful in reaching their target audiences so exp ect this game to sell well when it is released on September 9th this year.