Lego Rock Band Review
November 29, 2009 by Jereme Puik
Two of the most successful franchises, Lego and Rock Band, have merged together to form Lego Rock Band in hopes of printing money.With the literal success of games like Lego Star Wars and other film properties of the same brand have had more success. Now it’s time for Telltale Games to try its hand at the music property with Lego Rock Band. Is Lego Rock Band a gold mind for Lego fans or just another case of milking the franchise a little too much?
If you’ve ever played a Rock Band game before then you know this works. For those in the unknown; you can play any song in track list from the start. You can also play solo or full band with any combination in between. The competitive multiplayer modes are seemingly absent as well as any sort of online play all together. The real meat of the game is in the story mode. Here you’ll be able to create your Lego player, form a band and play gigs all across the nation. Instead of earning cash after each gig you’ll earn bricks which are the living currency of the Lego world. Much like the other Rock Band games, these bricks allow you to purchase modes of transportation as well as hire staff members. You’ll also be able to purchase items to customize your pad as well as body parts for your Lego player.
The gigs you play are sets of songs that you’ll need to complete in order to move on to the next venue. Most of the songs in Lego Rock Band are geared towards casual players and not the music enthusiast. So, those looking for the latest from Iron Maiden should look for the games big brother in the original Rock Band. You’ll hear hits from Taylor Swift and even play a quick guitar riff in “We Will Rock You” from Queen. Don’t forget that you’ll even see Lego figures by some famous guest appearances like Counting Crows and others. The core concept of Rock Band hasn’t changed for its Lego release. Bass, Guitar, Drums and Vocals are all present and accounted for and the gameplay remains the same. You’ll make music by following a constant stream of notes according to the right color and hit the note with your guitar fret or drum pad. For those on the vocal side of things you’ll need to carry a pitch range with lyrics running along the screen. It may sound simple but it’s the challenge in it that keeps you going.
Lego Rock Band is using its fun and humorous tone to appeal to kids and the casual crowd. Some of this appeal is pretty apparent when looking at the gameplay options presented. Super Easy Mode is basically a No Fail mode and just asks you to hit anything, guitar or mic whenever you have something to hit on the screen. There is also an auto bass option which helps to take the stress off your ankle. If you fail the song you loose a portion of your bricks but you’re placed right back in the song with an option to reclaim your throne. The only events in the game that you can fail are the rock challenges which are rare. While you won’t see any vocal harmonizing as with The Beatles, the vocal stream here is more then enough to get the job done. The extra bonus is being able to switch to shorter versions of the songs in order to at least complete it and feel some sort of accomplishment. While it does work in theory, there are times where certain songs are just cut short too abruptly.
Lego Rock Band is still Rock Band but with training wheels and comes as advertised. The songs can’t even compare to its brother, but it’s something that the casual crowd will certainly enjoy.
Graphics and Sound
The opening sequence to the game is completely in the vein of Rock Band’s past entrances. This time with Lego taking its form, as you enter into the meat of the game, the Rock Band lore takes on full throttle. This ends up taking away from the Lego experience and makes the game more of a Rock Band experience. The unlockables are a nice addition but don’t add anything to your Lego building delight. The background details are a bit of a let down as well and stress too much on the Rock genre then the Lego experience. The music isn’t of the hardcore variety but is still fun to play with after a long days of gaming.
With Lego Rock Band, you’re only getting a taste of the full Rock Band experience. It’s good for beginners to jump right in and see what the genre is all about, something Guitar Hero might consider doing in the future. Unfortunately the Lego experience of it is barely visible; at least you are getting a taste of one thing rather then both. Buying bricks and unlocking musical items, isn’t exactly the kind of thing we’d expect from the Lego side of things being it should be all about customization. While we applaud Harmonix for giving us the chance to finally relive our childhood and let us play the Ghostbusters theme song, it would’ve been nice if it was given a little more depth though we understand why based on whom the game is geared towards.
Thankfully the game is priced right at $49.99; it’s a good step forward if you want to get into the music rhythm genre for video games. Lego Rock Band, however, falls short of giving you a Lego experience and instead concentrates on the Rock Band one even though it falls short in that area as well. The game has all the components you’d expect out of a music game, but with a little more effort, we could’ve been playing a Lego Rock Band experience with all the customization we desired. The game doesn’t come with any bundles, so you’ll have to buy all the instruments separately. It would’ve been nice if the Lego brand wasn’t superficial in the game and we’re pretty sure that people would only be buying thus just for the music.