LEGO Rock Band Review
I haven't been too keen on the idea of dumbing down music games to make them more appealing to an even younger generation. I mean, Guitar Hero, and especially RockBand weren't very isolating to begin with, and their respective list of downloadable songs is diverse enough for most to enjoy. But publishers like milking things until something goes wrong and they spill the milk. October's Band Hero was a colossal failure that didn't even make a noise on the charts. And while LEGO Rock Band may be a bit more enjoyable to someone like me; it doesn't mean that it too isn't worthless, as well.
Okay, maybe I'm being harsh. Worthless isn't the word I was looking for. Pointless. That's a better and softer blow, I'd say. To this game's credit, and this is purely my opinion, the soundtrack for LEGO Rock Band is fairly decent, and isn't loaded with a horde of poppy suck like Activision's Band Hero was. Despite the lighthearted theme, there are still some superb artists to be found here, such as: Queen, Foo Fighters, Blur, Iggy Pop, Tom Petty, The Primitives, Supergrass, Blink 182, David Bowie, Kaiser Chiefs, The Coral, Spinal Tap, Bon Jovi, Spin Doctors, Elton John, The Hives, The Police, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. There are other artists to hear, but I just listed what I liked.
The game is essentially no different than what you're used to. In the Story mode, you do exactly the same thing you've done before: create a band, go on a tour. There are some differences though to this LEGO game. Here you will take the band through not just stadiums, but also into different galaxies, putting to use the LEGO world in order to take this series where it's never been before. Additionally, for the first time ever, you can assemble a band full of your own customized/personalized LEGO-men. Your band will include not just the players, but also your entire entourage, which includes roadies, managers, and stage crew. But wait, beyond customizing your LEGO-men, you can also personalize your band's hang out pad, by buying furniture and decorating the walls. You can even keep track of your career progress and you do this all through the Office menu.
All of this would've been nicer in a standard Rock Band game, as opposed to a spin-off franchise aimed at the younger and more family friendly demographic. My pessimism aside, if you like the soundtrack, then by all means jump in and go through the game's tour. There are some funny little segments to see in the Story mode, which helps keep things more entertaining. For additional entertainment, Rock Challenges are a staple of your career, and in order to complete them, you'll need to pull off hardcore momentum and rock out in order to destroy giant robots, cast a storm, or bring down a skyscraper all with the force that builds up within your instruments. Completing songs will grant your band a new LEGO brick, which will allow you to build vehicles and move from one venue to the next, and then, of course, outerspace.
One of my bigger problems with LEGO: Rock Band is the value, or lack thereof. For a game that has only 45 songs, paying $50 is definitely not the price tag I can agree with. Plus, since there will certainly be many songs that you will not enjoy, it gets harder and harder to justify the price tag. On top of that, paying $10 for exporting LEGO: RB tracks into other Rock Band games is a borderline crime. And as far as multiplayer goes, it's the same thing it's been for a while now. Check out the Rock Band 2 review for a bit more detail on how the multiplayer works.
LEGO Rock Band's visuals will retain the series' look, albeit with a LEGO twist. The game looks pretty nice and smooth, and because we're dealing with characters that require less attention to detail, there aren't any ugly textures to harp on. Much of the world is built out of legos, which makes for an appealing presentation. There is some annoying aliasing, which is a wonder in a game so simplistic, but you can look past that.
All in all, as you can see, I'm not showing very much enthusiasm for the game. The soundtrack is definitely more mature than what was found in Band Hero, but LEGO: Rock Band doesn't do a whole lot to drive the experience forward. Furthermore, the lack of value really makes this one very hard to recommend. Paying $50 for a soundtrack that most people will only enjoy half of is just not right. And the $10 export fee isn't fun, either.
12/6/2009 Arnold Katayev