This year was a big one for music games, with mighty entries from a range of contenders. But if you were going to buy just one this holiday season, our Face-Off has got you covered. Today, it’s the Beatles edition of the Rock Band series vs. the DJ version of the Guitar Hero franchise. Check back each week day through Dec. 23 for a new match-up.
In this corner: ‘The Beatles: Rock Band’
Who knew marrying the wildly successful Rock Band franchise with the greatest band of all time was a smart move? The Beatles: Rock Band is the third in the series and the first time the game has themed itself after an artist. There’s the obvious Fab Four influences in things like song selection – an impressive collection of Beatles tracks, even unsung shredders like “Hey Bulldog”– and the venues, ranging from Shea Stadium to the roof of Abbey Road Studios. But the game also allows players to mimic the group’s vocal style with two harmonizing microphones, as well as its career trajectory in “story” mode. And the music is produced by Giles Martin, son of the true fifth Beatle, producer George Martin, so the sound is top-notch.
In the other corner: ‘DJ Hero’
Cashing in simultaneously on the rhythm game and mash-ups, mash-ups, even more mash-ups crazes, DJ Hero replaces the colored notes of Guitar Hero with indicators to crossfade, bump up the beat, and scratch the record. Club sensations like Daft Punk appear as avatars, and the levels have you cut between two sometimes contrary tracks: “I Want You Back” and “Semi-Charmed Life” is the peanut butter-chocolate combo you never knew you loved. It takes a bit to warm up to the equipment, but DJ Hero sucks you in by mimicking entry level DJ-ing surprisingly accurately. Plus Guitar Hero devotees who don’t want to warm up to the turntable can challenge you in “DJ Vs. Guitar” mode, which… should happen way more in real life.
And the winner…
The Beatles: Rock Band. The Beatles’ universal appeal has the potential to bring the whole family together around the TV; even the little tykes can tag along on the “no fail” setting. Who knows? You might discover the next Ringo Starr. Although… maybe aim higher. Zing!