The Beatles: Rock Band (Xbox 360)
Given that pop music doesn’t work as well in music games as rock tunes, it’s understandable to think a Beatles version of Rock Band would be less challenging, and thus less fun, than, say, Guitar Hero: Metallica. But by not just mixing Rock Band with The Beatles 1, Harmonix has made a game that’s as engaging as the Mop Top’s best work. For starters, such early pop tunes as “Twist And Shout” now have two more vocal parts to play, with the three-part harmonies adding as much challenge as they do authenticity. Similarly, the tunes from their later years include some of their rockier (“Back In The U.S.S.R.”) and more esoteric, and thus complex, tracks (“I Am The Walrus”). Beatles: Rock Band also takes a cue from Guitar Hero: Metallica with its attention to fan-appreciative details. Not only do you play such relevant venues as Shea Stadium, The Cavern Club, and the Apple Corps rooftop, but you actually play the same songs they played there, with each tune including previously unheard studio chatter from their respective recording sessions. None of which makes this rock like Metallica’s game, of course, but considering that they could’ve just slapped Abbey Road’s tracklist onto Rock Band and cashed the check, this game turned out pretty fab.