Rock Band's British DLC Invasion Feature - The Next Level

Rock Band's British DLC Invasion

Harmonix rocks with The Beatles and Queen.

Article by Aaron Drewniak (Email)
October 24th 2009, 05:38PM

Before the first Rock Band hit the scene, Harmonix made the bold pledge of a new downloadable song pack every week without fail.  Even with all the work and song charting involved in launching Rock Band 2 and The Beatles: Rock Band, they never swayed from their promise.  There's been small song packs and full albums, but this week was surely one of their biggest hits, sending out the remainder of Abbey Road and ten Queen tracks across three consoles.

The Abbey Road pack consists of:

  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer
  • Oh! Darling
  • Because
  • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Sun King
  • Mean Mr. Mustard
  • Polythene Pam
  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
  • Golden Slumbers
  • Carry That Weight
  • Her Majesty

The majority are part of the b-side melody, making for some short songs that can be either played in little two or three bit groups or as the whole sixteen minute wonder, and the latter has got to be the most fun I've ever had in a music game.  "She's So Heavy" from the same album is significantly shorter, but feels tedious with the way it goes on and on.  The melody has so many changes and shifts of mood, however, that by the end you're ready to rip through it a second time, maybe on a different instrument.  Yet to get any part of the melody, you'll need to drop $17 for the whole album.  Only the first three songs are available as singles.  If this seems a bit steep, think of it like the best buffet you've ever had.  Sure, it was a high price just to get your plate, but from the first bite you knew you were going for seconds, and maybe sixths.  The single songs are decent, though I personally didn't care for "Because."  Semi-new visuals accompany each tune, from the subtle to the 'bang bang' of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," though this time there aren't any so distracting that you actually lose your place.

The Queen ten pack consists of:

  • Another One Bites the Dust
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Fat Bottomed Girls
  • I Want It All
  • I Want to Break Free
  • Killer Queen
  • One Vision
  • Somebody to Love
  • Tie Your Mother Down
  • Under Pressure

It's almost with regret I go back to Rock Band 2 when The Beatles incarnation has done so many little things to improve the base game, but the chance to sing along to "Fat Bottomed Girls" is too tempting to resist.  The one thing this pack forced me to do is look up the bass player for Queen, John Deacon, because the guy is amazing.  Brian May's guitar work is great of course, but after you've wailed away on One Vision a few times, give the bass line a try.  It's fun and funky as hell.  Though if there's one instrument that's conspicuous in its absence, it's the sad lack of a plastic keyboard to match the real thing present in nearly every song.  In "Somebody to Love" the guitar is mapped to the piano, and it honestly wasn't a pleasant experience.  The 'chord' progression was odd, and it was just too difficult to follow along playing and listening to two very different instruments.  I also didn't care for "I Want it All" in general, but every other song was great to jam to, even those I was tempted to avoid, like "I Want to Break Free" and "One Vision."  There were a few song omissions I would have liked to play, like "Stone Cold Crazy," but this is a big pack that still satisfies.  All the songs can be bought individually for $2, or $16 for the full pack.

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