“ Genre: Music & Dancing / Video Game for Xbox 360 / Universal, suitable for all / ESRB Rating: Rating Pending / Release Date: 2009-11-27 / Published by Warner Bros. Interactive „
I am a huge fan of the whole Guitar Hero/ Rock Band franchise and I'm also a fan of the LEGO games so I had high expectations of this game which promised to give me both the musical fun I love as well as letting me be creative with LEGO. My how I was disappointed.
Whilst you do get to create your own character what the spiel on the box doesn't mention is you get to choose from approximately 5 or 6 preset characters. Oh and you can change the colour of their outfits - that obviously makes all the difference. *rolls eyes*
Once in game play you have the choice of a few songs and at first I was impressed. There seemed to be a good few options from various artists like Queen, Good Charlotte and Blink 182. There was no mistaking the lego minifigures made up to be Freddie Mercury or David Bowie on the challenges, which were admittedly fun and creative. It seemed like a lot of hard work had gone into the creating of the story such as the following up of the Octopus and his revenge. Which is why when the game hit it's stumbling block i became so disappointed.
After an hour or two of play when I had unlocked a few more gigs the game became repetitive. At one point I played ''Check Yes Juliet'' three times in a row due to the games auto selection of songs for challenges. The song was ok to play once, twice ok worse has happened but after three times I was bored and fed up, I wanted something new and exciting and challenging - everything I expected this game to be!
The normal Rock Band games are fun and interesting and exciting to play, you feel involved this game felt simple and slow and basic to say the least.
Good for the kids not so good for adults is my opinion because me and my partner lost interest way too quickly, save your money and buy Guitar Hero!
This is the latest release in both the popular Lego game franchise and the popular Rock Band franchise. As you might imagine, it's basically Rock Band, but all the characters are made of Lego. Quite what the point of this is meant to be, conceptually, is anyone's guess. Somehow it seems to make a lot less sense than Lego Star Wars, although there's no rational reason why I should feel that way.
The gameplay is just the same as Rock Band, so obviously if you like that game you will - at worst - not mind this one, and at best enjoy it. The songs are typically well adapted to the format. Seeing little Lego figures jumping around playing guitars and singing has a certain appeal, especially the Lego versions of real bands (the Lego Queen and Iggy Pop are pretty good). One real weakness is the lack of different game modes - it's quick play or story mode and nothing else. Most baffling is the lack of any kind of online multiplayer - while four of you can play in someone's living room, you can't hook up with friends or strangers around the world to play together or against one another. Given that one of the charms of Rock Band is its multiplayer, and that one of Xbox's strengths is its online play, it seems crazy to not allow it for this game.
The navigation to get to gigs in story mode is really annoying, making you scroll through endless screesn with different types of vehicle on them before letting you get to the newest stuff. Everything also seems to take a long time to load, even with the game installed to the hard-drive. As with other Lego games, there are lots of characters which can be unlocked and, as with Rock Band, there are lots of different costumes and instruments to 'buy' using the Lego money you earn by doing well. While I've nothing against any of this, it doesn't feel as satisfying as unlocking characters in other Lego games I've played (what you might call the 'Dude! I just totally unlocked Bossk!' feeling is absent).
The most annoying thing, though, is that there are only 45 new songs on here. This was also true of The Beatles Rock Band, and I hope it isn't indicative of what we can expect in Rock Band 3, should such a thing ever appear. Luckily it is compatible with other Rock Band songs (up to a point), so I have an extra 100 or so tracks on there. But to have to rely on other songs you've paid for separately to beef up a game strikes me as a pretty shoddy proposition. You also have to pay extra to import the Lego songs onto your regular Rock Band game, which is the main reason I bought it.
The game is aimed at kids. This means they're supposedly not allowing songs with any trace of 'adult' content in the game, presumably as a sop to those parents still worried by stories of teddy boys tearing up cinema seats. But I'm not too sure about this. Do band names not count? ('Daddy, what's an Incubus?' 'Well, son, it's a demon which impregnates ladies as they sleep, causing their souls to be damned for all eternity.') Some of the songs from regular Rock Band that it lets you play can't be described as innocent, leaving me slightly baffled. ('Daddy, why does Mr Mercury like ladies with fat bottoms so much?' 'Well, son, let me put it like this. My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo...')
So what kind of songs do we get? Well, the usual Rock Band mixture of karaoke classics and blander than bland modern stuff. So great tunes like Crash by The Primitives, Kung Fu Fighting, and The Final Countdown rub shoulders with mulch by The Kooks, Counting Crows and KT Tunstall. Rock Band does have the ability to make even the most awful songs fun to play (as with that Killers song from Rock Band 1), and there are a couple of songs I don't like much in real life (Summer of 69 most notably) which are enjoyable to play. There aren't many truly awful songs in the game. It's really only Two Princes by The Spin Doctors that makes me want the world to end.
There are cut scenes, as in all Lego games. I must admit, the sense of humour I found quite charming in Lego Star Wars has now become deeply tiresome. Your little Lego band has various 'wacky' adventures. One of these seems to involve your main character being abducted by aliens and dumped almost naked (and probably bleeding) in the middle of a field. The Ghostbusters sequence is especially annoying. I got particularly annoyed with the 'wacky' adventures of you band's roadies. Roadies are meant to spike girls' drinks and sell drugs, not have 'hilarious' encounters with lobsters.
Still, I guess the humour's meant to appeal to kids, and there's probably something a bit creepy about a grown man even owning this, let alone playing it and judging the quality of its content. It's only about £18 on amazon at the moment, although you'll also need to buy the relevant guitar, drum or microphone controllers. In terms of actually playing the songs, this is every bit as good as any other Rock Band game. It's the sparse setlist and annoying navigation that detract from it.
The latest installment of the popular Rockband series takes a different approach with a more family orientented game. What more to help appeal to families then the Lego brand to give the cute family friendly look to the game. The overall Lego look to the Lego characters & the lego bricks on the highway don't offer anything different. Nor does it push the boundries of what the Xbox 360 can offer graphicaly, but you will instantly recognise Freddie Mercury & David Bowie in their Lego forms. As you progress through the game you will unlock various customes for your Lego characters, but picking a face for your character boils down to picking one from a few preset faces. Dissappointing as past Lego games have prided themselves on the customisation options. The little cutscenes are full humour with plenty of film references presented in typical Lego fashion. Look past the graphics & this is still Rockband. The song list is varied including songs for all ages & families. The full tracklist on the disc includes,
All American Rejects - Swing, Swing.
The Automatic - Monster.
Blink-182 - Aliens Exist.
Blur - Song 2.
Bon Jovi - You Give Love a Bad Name.
Boys like Girls - Thunder.
Bryan Adams - Summer of 69.
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting.
The Coral - Dreaming of You.
Counting Crows - Accidentally in Love.
David Bowie - Let's Dance.
Elton John - Crocodile Rock.
Europe - The Final Countdown.
Everlife - Real Wild Child.
Foo Fighters - Breakout.
Good Charlotte - Girls & Boys.
The Hives - Tick Tick Boom!.
Iggy Pop - The Passenger.
Incubus - Dig.
Jackson 5 - I Want You Back.
Jimi Hendrix - Fire.
Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby.
Katrina & The Waves - Walking on Sunshine.
The Kooks - Naïve.
KoRn - Word Up!.
KT Tunstall - Suddenly I See.
Lostprophets - Rooftops.
P!NK - So What.
The Police - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic.
The Primitives - Crash.
Queen - We Are The Champions.
Queen - We Will Rock You.
Rascal Flatts - Life is a Highway.
Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters.
Razorlight - Stumble and Fall.
Spin Doctors - Two Princes.
Spinal Tap - Short & Sweet.
Steve Harly - Make Me Smile.
Sum 41 - In Too Deep.
Supergrass - Grace.
Tom Petty - Free Fallin.
T-Rex - Ride a White Swan.
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk.
We the Kings - Check Yes Juliet.
The Zutons - Valerie.
With the likes of Ghostbusters, We Will Rock You & The Final Countdown you can't help but fall in love with the game. Any songs you have downloaded previously from the Rockband Store will also be available to play on Lego Rockband, but only if the song has been rated family friendly & this is mirrored in the Lego Rockband music store. The ability to download songs to your harddrive & play the songlist on Rockband 1 or 2 is there, for a price of 800 microsoft points which equates to £6.80 at the time of this review. Gameplay wise those of you that don't enjoy the likes of Guitar Hero or Rockband, won't enjoy this game either. It's the same Rockband with a different look. The timing seems a little more forgiving then previous versions & the difficulty, being a family game, is much easier. No matter the difficulty it's impossible to fail a song. As soon as you come close to failing a song, it gives you a chance to hit a certain amount of notes to save yourself, but you can take as long as you need to accomplish this, therefore your guarenteed to pass the song everytime. With this in mind it does seem pointless to incluse a new easy mode whereby you can strum in time with the game without the need to hold the fret buttons or drum any coloured drum, just as long as it's in time. Great for families, but those looking for a solo challenge will be dissappointed. No online mode or even online score boards damages the solo experience further. On the other hand a new feature called 'Rock Power Challenge' will have you playing a song to escape a T-Rex or to destroy a building. A nice addition & it gives you something to look at in the background of the notes highway, but it's difficult to concentrate on the notes & the background at the same time. Aside from this new inclusion, the game modes are limited to free play & a simplified career mode. You often find yourself asking why the developers didn't release this as downloadable content rather then making the consumer pay full price & that sums pretty much sums Lego Rockband up. On the brightside it's great fun playing as a family or with friends no matter what their ages. If playing on your own it's still great fun, the whole Lego image makes you smile & some of the songs are priceless, but if you want more value for money then get Rockband 2 instead, as this game merly feels like an add on.
Lego Rock Band
The rhythm genre, which once was a quiet genre, has since become a mammoth in recent years after the major sales of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. 2009, however, is sadly the year the genre has become crowded, with several Guitar Hero releases including Metallica, Smash Hits and Band Hero. However Rock Band has been a bit steadier with only The Beatles Rock Band and Rock Band Unplugged on the PSP. The third entry into Rock Band this year is Lego Rock Band, which most considered to be a mere cash-in. After all, Lego games sell well and Rock Band games sell well so it's a wise money choice, but does it make for a decent game?
Lego Rock Band is built on the same engine which powered the legendary Rock Band 2, meaning it's off to a good start. Players can jump into quickplay, form a band in the story mode, and access all the other features from Rock Band 2 such as drum trainer, practice and music store. However, Lego Rock Band has cut out online from the equation completely. Players can't jam out in career or quickplay via Xbox Live and there aren't even any leaderboards to compare scores with players around the globe. Kids and parents might not care much, but those who thrived on forming a band by searching through Xbox Live will be sorely disappointed.
While online will be missed, the career mode has been spruced up a fair bit to be a bit more 'exciting'. You form a band and play a variety of gigs including one song sets, create-a-setlists gigs where you can choose your own songs and gigs which pick songs randomly. However there are new kinds of gigs too. Most notable is the Rock Power Challenges, which are special gigs where it's not about gaining a high score but playing through a song to make something happen, like escaping an angry securi-rex or destroying a seemingly invincible building. There's no star power here and, as I'll explain later, it's one of the few chances you can actually fail at a song. It's interesting watching the power of rock change the way the background clip plays, but some may find it hard to watch when they're actually playing the game.
Aside from that, career hasn't really changed much. You just play at one location until you unlock a rock power challenge, complete it and move on. Dozens of other gigs, however, populate each location, and actually trying to complete every gig will take some time. To basically 'complete' the game could take you around 5 or so hours, but to unlock every gig and attain everything in the game could triple that time or more. And it's worth doing so, because the more gigs you play, the more items you'll unlock to customize not only your rockers, but your entire entourage of manager and any workers you hire, as well as your 'rock den', the career's main hub. It's nifty that you can enter freeplay and practice from this hub, and then return once done.
However what ultimately bogs down Lego Rock Band is that it becomes repetitive quite quickly, especially if you don't have any Downloadable songs. Rock Band 2 kept things fresh with 84 songs, but Lego Rock Band sports only 45. It's also worth noting the randomising system is a bit lackluster, as two gigs in a row I had to play through Good Charlotte's 'Boys and Girls', and I wanted to cave my skull in because it's not fun playing the same songs again and again. However, this can be helped if you happen to be a fan of DLC. The game has its own music store as well, but Lego Rock Band is a family friendly game, meaning a lot of songs have been cut from Rock Band 2's store of 1000 songs. You won't be playing Metallica, Dead Kennedys or even Weezer anytime soon.
It's worth noting though that Lego Rock Band does have a very good setlist, albiet one that's short. The game spans from old to new, whether it's Queen's We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions or Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name. The new comes from a lot of indie rock and pop rock like Incubus, Pink and Counting Crows. There's likely to be a song here for everyone, and there are definately songs everyone will like, thanks to cult classics like Kung Fu Fighting, Final Countdown and more. Some songs can be duds because they don't have a lot of instrument playing to them, and the note charts for We Will Rock You are retarded, but unlike the recent Band Hero, it manages to include songs which actually have guitar on them, rather than ludicrous keyboard solos. Some may call this list either diverse or completely scattered.
The core gameplay has also seen some shake ups, which is why Lego Rock Band goes beyond being a mere cash-in. Because this is a more child friendly game, there have been some inclusions to make the game less challenging. A new super easy difficulty means you can strum on guitar or bass without hitting notes, hit the pads on the drums any way you want with autokick enabled and sing without any real pitch or quality and get 100%. It's basically beginner mode on Guitar Hero. It's also worth noting that, aside from the Rock Power Challenges, you can't fail on Lego Rock Band. Screw up too much and you enter recovery mode, where hitting the notes will mean gaining points, or studs, taken away from you when you fail. It's an interesting version of the 'No fail' option from Rock Band 2, but an option to turn it off would have been nice.
One area which die-hard Lego game players may be disappointed with is the custiomization options. Yes, you can choose from preset templates for your character, but most of them are stuck with the same yellow skin colour meaning some faces that are white or black look completely stupid and force you to specific clothing. There's no building your own instruments, items to put in the rock den or any building at all. Even vehicles you unlock during the course of the game can't be customized or built yourself, making the Lego elements somewhat disappointing.
While customization isn't its strong suit, the development team have done a decent job at bringing the Lego to life during the funny cutscenes, and onstage the animation is okay, though you'll notice the drumming animation is pretty damn slow and stiff. It's just not really consistant, because when you can hear bass playing in the background the bassist is just stood there like a lemon sometimes, most notably on your extra downloaded songs. And it's disappointing that the world surrounding the Lego Characters remains to be bland and realistic, rather than entirely built out of Lego. The sound, however, is strong because every song is a master version so there's no lame covers. The garbled mumbers of the Lego characters during cutscenes is still funny to see.
Is Lego Rock Band good, bad or ugly?
It's hard to judge Lego Rock Band. On the one hand, it's got most of the features from Rock Band 2, has an entertaining setlist, let's you import that setlist to Rock Band 2 (for a price) and is a solid and well built game. Yet the small setlist causes repetition, the animation onstage could be better and there's just an air of lazy surrounding the game. It's better than some of the lazy spin-offs like Band Hero or Guitar Hero Hits, but it's still just something to tide us over until Harmonix actually decide to release Rock Band 3. Until then, consider this a cheaper way to play, as it only costs £30, but just remember you're getting what you paid for-a cheaper version of Rock Band 2. And without and instrument bundle to go with it, you need to be into the Rock Band/Guitar Hero genre to start with.
Lego Rock Band was released on November 27th for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii and DS. It is rated 7+ for 'fear' and can be bought for about £30-40 depending where you buy it.