Review in a Hurry: Strum, drum and hum along with the greatest group in rock history in what may be the greatest party game in console history.
The Bigger Picture: Prepare to embrace Beatlemania 2.0.
From the mesmerizing opening montage to the never-before-heard between-song chatter, The Beatles: Rock Band is as fab as the hype would have you believe. Taking the Rock Band/Guitar Hero concept to a whole new level, The Beatles: Rock Band let's you recreate The Beatles' career from Cavern Club to their rooftop concert swan song rendered in graphics that are simply stunning.
As you (and up to five bandmates) progress through the story mode, your virtuosity earns you shrieking fans and proficiency points, which unlock bonus content ranging from rare photographs to trivia to the Beatles' Christmas album.
Built-in tutorials will help you channel your inner moptop. Try to master actual Ringo drum lines (we'll never mock ye again, Mr. Starr) or grab some buds and attempt John, Paul and George's exquisite three-part harmonies. Those with less patience (or more virtual thrashing experience) can dive right via a quick-play function.
The Beatles: Rock Band also features online collaboration and head-to-head modes, which were not available to demo during the review period.
Available from Harmonix on Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii, The Beatles: Rock Band will set you back $45 for the game alone—you can use instruments from previous Rock Band or Guitar Hero installments and up to three USB microphones—but enthusiasts will seriously want to consider plunking down the $250 for the limited-edition set, which includes a mic and replicas of Paul's Höfner bass and Ringo's Ludwig drums, and is essentially a party in a box. Two other trademark Beatle guitars, John's Rickenbacker and George's Gretsch, go for $99 apiece. The Beatles: Rock Band comes with 45 classic tunes; while we would have loved more out of the gate, additional tracks and albums will be available for download in the coming months.
Bottom Line: A transcendant game. We got blisters on our fingers, and it feels damn good.