I got the opportunity to play The Beatles: Rock Band last night, and we completed the entire game in one sitting. Now, I'm not going to complain about the brevity of the experience, because that isn't the point of Rock Band titles in the first place. I had a great time, though some of the songs were questionable. I consider myself to be a fan, and many songs were new to me. Which is good and bad: good because I found songs I had never heard of, bad because I'd have to sing them.
What I do question, however, is the addition of harmonies. I highly doubt that a casual user, or anyone who has never actually been musically trained can pull off a three part harmony on the fly. Granted, they don't hurt your score if you don't have them, but I can't for the life of me fathom some combination of people I know that would have the skills to pull this off, me included. Only if we actually sat down at a piano, gave each person their part, and in essence, formed a tribute band to the Fab Four could we possibly have any hope of striving with this aspect of the game. It just seems like a great idea in theory, but I would have rather had the development time spent somewhere else.
I mean, I've been in a choir, I know musical theory enough to know that two other people would have to sing the third and the fifth above what I'm singing, or drop down an octave and sing below me, but there is no way that I can do that without practicing when the game is turned off and I'm sitting at my electronic piano.
It's a more extreme version playing the drums, where I keep thinking to myself, "Great, now I should buy a drum set so I can practice the drum part of Rock Band, so I can get a high score in a game, instead of spending that time actually playing the drums."
That is my fundamental problem with games that emulate reality: I would more often than not go do the activity that they are emulating than occupy myself with a virtual simulation of said pastime. I would rather bowl, play tennis, football, soccer, or write music, than play many of these games. Thus, my preference tends to veer towards things I can't do in real life, like command a conquering medieval army, defend the world against aliens, walk around as an elven wizard, or pilot a space ship.
Not to mention the fact that I can't help but feel some dissonance from the idea that I'm playing a game that turns real people from 40 years ago into video game sprites, whose bohemian image is being used to line the pockets of certain corporations. You have to wonder what John Lennon would have thought about all of this.
He'd probably say something along the lines of, "Who cares about that, the bigger question is, how do you uncremate someone?"