Throughout the history of man there have been certain collaborations that seem to make so much sense, that you just can’t think of it any other way. Some of these combinations are: milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly, Bert and Ernie. And lately in the world of video games, the collaboration trend we have been seeing more any more of is: LEGO and (insert anything here). Well the latest hit with the LEGO brand on it, has hit shelves and it has kids across the country, rocking out like it no body’s business. Yes, I’m talking LEGO Rock Band.Ask anyone around here at DualShockers and they’ll quickly tell you that I am a Rock Band connoisseur of sorts. So, although I know that I (a 25 year old male) am not the game’s target audience, being that it is a Rock Band title, I made sure to still hold it to a very high regard during this review.
Right from the start, the classic LEGO charm begins to show. When you start your band, you’re treated to an awesome (and by awesome I mean incredibly cute) opening sequence, in which your freshly created LEGO musicians are all auditioning for your newly created band. It’s a really nice touch in the presentation, and makes me wonder why Rock Band 1 or 2 before it didn’t have something similar. Instead we would be treated to still shots of the band, while waiting during load screens. Speaking of those same loading screens, another nice touch added to the game is instead of having random rock trivia fed to you, it is replaced with…you guessed it, LEGO trivia. So in case you were wondering how many LEGO blocks it takes to reach the moon, you’ll definitely be able to answer that question.
This title is all about accessibility; and now anyone (especially at any age) can truly just jump in and play. Forget about the “no fail mode” for the first time in the Rock Band series there’s a new “Very Easy” difficulty setting. When toggled, it allows for minimal user input. Just to give you an idea, on the guitar or bass, instead of worrying about hitting colors all you have to do is strum. With this added new feature (even though it’s useless for people who are into Rock Band and play religiously) developers Traveller’s Tales and Harmonix have made it a whole lot easier (and less frustrating) to play the game with let’s say your child or younger sibling to even your grand parents who still call your Xbox 360 a “Nintendo.” No longer do you have to spend the entire song saving your other band mates, because you simply don’t have to. That’s right, when playing with any difficulty, if you fail out of a song, all you lose are the LEGO points you were collecting, and you are then quickly thrust back into the thick of things.
One of the new elements added to the game, are the mini games added to certain venues. In other words on top of your performance of a certain song, you also see how your play is affecting the venue. One of the venues, for example, involves you demoing a building with a crane. The harder (or better) you rock the more damage you create on the building. One thing I have to make note of about these sequences, is that much like the performances and dreamscapes found in The Beatles: Rock Band, the player never gets to see or appreciate all of stuff occurring on screen because you’re just too busy playing the song. I’m not complaining about these sequences per se, I just really wish that there were a way to make it so that the person playing can enjoy them as well, and until Harmonix (or the other guys) find a way to do this, rhythm games as a whole will continue to get bland. And the more we see of these types of games the more it continues to feel the same.
So how does the track list pan out? Not so well. Actually this is in my opinion the biggest draw back of the game and definitely what cost it it’s score to drop. I know, I know, there are songs from Queen and Blur and the Ghostbusters theme is in there as well. Maybe if this had been released 15 years ago it would have been the track list of the century (especially since I grew up with so many of these songs), but the thing is, is that many of the tracks in here are from my generation and the one before it. I understand that music breaks down barriers and generation gaps; Rock Band has been a blessing to the music industry as it has brought classics to a new generation of listeners. However at the same time, this game is targeted to people born in the current decade and I feel that it should have stayed true to that for the whole track list. I mean seriously where the hell is my Miley Cyrus!?
In case you didn’t already know, being that it is targeted to the little ones, LEGO RB does not have any online multiplayer capability. It does however; allow you to access the Rock Band store to purchase additional tracks. Although, not every track is compatible with Lego RB, with the game being limited to only “clean” songs found in the music store. In other words, if you’re a DLC track collector you will still have access to some (not all) of your downloaded tracks while playing. The other MAJOR online feature is the ability to export all of the songs from your disc to your hard drive. This time around Harmonix became a bit smarter about how they handle the process. Basically the game comes packed with a voucher code in the game’s case. You have to follow all of the instructions which include registering the code on the official website, to then receive a redemption code to input into either the XBLA or PSN store. This will bring up the disc exporter, which you have pay 10 bucks for (double the price of the RB1 exporter), and you can then start the process of transferring the tracks over. It’s an annoying process, but I can understand why they went this route. God only knows how many people simply rented or borrowed RB1 just to rip the songs from it, and they (Harmonix) had to avoid that from happening again. And while some may see that as the glass half empty, I see it half full, simply because at least Harmonix gives you the abilty to do it (unlike another certain rhythm game that likes to saturate the market with 6 games in a year but doesn’t allow to rip the songs). Well played again Harmonix!
As much as I enjoyed playing LEGO Rock Band, at the end of the day it’s just plain old Rock Band. There isn’t much that is new, it’s just packaged nicely. Even though it does come in a nice cutesy package and everyone can jump right in, it isn’t enough to warrant a buy for any of the casual players out there. Now, if you consider yourself a fan of Rock Band, this game is a must buy as it is by far essentially the best track pack you can buy for $50.
- Title: LEGO Rock Band
- Developer: Harmonix and Traveller’s Tales (TT Fusion)
- Publisher: MTV Games and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- MSRP: $49.99
- Release Date: Available Now
- Review Copy Info: A copy of this game was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for reviewing purposes.