Videogame Face-Off: 'The Beatles: Rock Band' vs. 'DJ Hero'

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!

Comments (17 total) Add your comment
  • Ambient Lite

    Honestly, so tired of The Beatles. That’s my father’s generation, I don’t connect with it, and can’t imagine why this seems like an appropriate pairing with Rock Band – which is primarily an even younger generation than mine (though I kick @ss on drums). And yet it sells.
    DJ Hero looks fun!

    • Melissa

      Seriously? You are ridiculous.

    • crispy

      The thing with The Beatles (and Floyd and Zeppelin and the Dead) is that every fall there’s a whole new batch of kids who go off to college, smoke pot for the first time, and discover this music. They have a perpetual fanbase.

      • Ambient Lite

        I had a 16-year-old relative trying to convince me about how awesome 80’s music is the other day. It was weird.

    • Jenn

      Have you played Beatles Rock Band? It’s insanely fun, whether or not you “connect” with the band.

  • Janitor

    Both! I have Beatles RB for PS3 and bought my g/f DJ Hero for Wii…it’s going to one musical holiday for us!

  • Winona

    After my 3-year-old kept asking to go to Best Buy and play the “Beatles game” (and doing surprisingly well on the drums!), we bought a Wii and Santa will be bringing Beatles Rock Band later this month. We’re looking forward to jamming as a family! I think DJ Hero is a very inventive game, but Beatles Rock Band is just more up my alley.

  • People need

    to stop with all The Beatles stuff. Overhyped. And overdone. Their time is over, so let’s talk about other stuff, like new innovation in the style of DJ Hero. That is crazy fun. Better than listening to Beatles tracks over and over and over.

    • Chris

      No. No its not.

  • Jacob Crim

    I am 21 years old and I am a huge hip hop fan but I will straight up say that I dislike the soundtrack of DJ Hero, I do not like mash ups, give me REAL hip hop songs and I will be happy.

    On the other hand I am a huge Beatles fan, probably my favorite band of all time. I see a lot of you say its our “fathers” music, well guys the majority of rock music today sucks…unless you dig and search for good stuff. The Beatles were more innovative and original than say Nickleback etc etc. The game is also very fun and looks great, by far the best looking Rock Band.

  • Laura M.

    Poor Ringo!

  • Sonny Crockett

    As a drummer, I can tell you that Beatles Rock Band cleary impressed on me again why Ringo Starr is one of the best and certainly maybe THE most influential rock drummers of all time. He’s no Ginger Baker, but Ringo did things that are so simplistic, yet so refined that it’s hard to capture. The Beatles certainly would not have been the Beatles without him. I play and have taught drumming for 40 years combined…and still marvel at his timing and his fills. Technically, he never had a lesson; none of the Beatles did, but he’s brilliant. As for Ambient lite…when you get into high school, you’ll begin to appreciate the Beatles and when you get a BIT more wisdom, you’ll see how timeless they really are.

    Sonny Crockett

  • Jack Bate

    I don’t understand the comment about the Beatles being for my fathers generation. I am 17 and love the Beatles. I got into them a year ago and still finding my way through their albums. Each time I listen to a Beatls album I not heard before I am blown away. There just aint a band today that can compete with the Beatles for songs and innovation. They sound as fresh today as they did almost 50 years ago. And do you know what, I bet in another 50 years there will be someone saying they are for old people when millions of young people will still be loving them. They are the best, and that is why they will never vanish.

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  • jack sparrow

    Check out the Billboard top 200. The Beatles have 3 albums on the charts. Not that unusual, until you realize they haven’t made any music for nearly 40 years! Whoa.

  • Thisroom

    All I know is that my PS3 will have The Beatles Rock Band this Christmas.I like their music.Now I can’t sit up and say I remember the 60’s because i was born in ’68,but to put like Joey from Friends would put it: “music:goood, songwriting:goood”.Come on DJ Hero people,let us have OUR game.

  • Revamp

    To be honest, the beatles have past their time. I picked up the game myself and loved a few songs, as so with GH Metallica, but again it’s a played out system.

    Just because it’s the beatles doesn’t make it a stellar game.

    DJ hero is the only game that’s truly innovative compared to the other games out on the market…and higher than Beaterator.

    Now if you would have a Jackson RB or something like that, THEN you would have a hit game, but until then, I think DJ hero wins this hands down.

    Not hating on the Beatles, but their music doesn’t hit in the streets of NYC…mainly in the country areas.

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