Headlining the latest round of details to come out about The Beatles: Rock Band—which, along with the Fab Four’s remastered catalog, comes out on Sept. 9—is the inevitable announcement of a Story Mode. Play straight through the Beatles catalog, and the game’s avatars will progress from the moptoppers plying their trade in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, through Beatlemania, psychedelia, and flaunting fur coats on the Apple Corp rooftop. (The subsequent breakup and lawsuits will presumably be covered in Allen Klein: Rock Accountant.)
Most band sims let gamers unlock songs by playing through a story mode, but TB:RB has all 45 songs already unlocked through the Quickplay mode. Instead, the payoff for playing through story mode–in which the band is placed in the Cavern, the Ed Sullivan Theater, Shea Stadium (RIP), the Budokan, Abbey Road and the Apple rooftop (as well as trippy “Dreamscapes,” some based after Beatles promo videos)—is the opportunity to plumb through the depths of the band’s archives.
The rewards are killer—like the entire 1963 Christmas album, which has been unofficially unavailable for 45 years and even then it was limited to fan club members. Other rewards include never-before-seen photos, each one annotated and verified with additional context provided by the surviving band members and associates.
The challenges to unlock these rewards vary in difficulty. Some content is unlocked merely by completing a song at a certain difficulty level; other achievements, like getting a perfect score on the “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” guitar solo or playing Paul’s bass line left-handed, are a lot more difficult.
Another pair of useful features unveiled Friday deal with the work behind the traps, a two-part drum trainer. Master these, and you too can land Barbara Bach in her prime. Part of the tutorial teaches the most basic rock drum patterns. The remainder of the training—the “Beatle Beats”—separates the Richard Starkeys from the Pete Bests, opening up the game’s catalog to let you practice Ringo’s unique fills and enduring beats. Eventually you too will have blisters on your fingers, and a pretty good score.
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