|System: X360, PS3, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. / Harmonix / MTV||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 3, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
June 16, 2009 - As a huge fan of both the Rock Band and LEGO franchises, I have to say I never expected the day to come where both of these series would come together. I mean, sure, both are best-selling franchises, but then so are the Halo and Viva Piñata series, and you can only imagine the mash-up potential of those two.
Believe it or not, LEGO Rock Band is very real, and I was actually able to take it for a test drive at this year's E3. The game is formatted in basically the same way as all the other Rock Band titles, with a very fancy menu complete with quick play, career mode, and customization options.
But, while the game's menu looks a lot like Rock Band, there are several elements that make this a uniquely LEGO title. First of all, there is more of a fleshed-out career mode. Instead of the usual band-forming and touring career story, the team has added plenty of LEGO-centric cutscenes that will incorporate the now-famous brand of LEGO humor into the career mode. Because this title is skewing to a younger demographic than the original Rock Band titles, the career mode will be more like a story mode, with funny things happening to the members of the LEGO Rock Band in a bid to both entertain youngsters as well as hold their attention.
Also new for LEGO Rock Band is the introduction of a Super Easy mode. While hardcore players will balk at this inclusion, this is great for younger players who might not be familiar with guitar or drum peripherals. The super easy mode is also intended to give less-experienced older players (such as parents) the chance to jump in and play on a level that is perfect for someone with absolutely no rhythm game experience.
Of course, the biggest change for LEGO Rock band will be the visual stylings of the game. Instead of Rocked-out looking avatars, players will be able to build their own brick-based LEGO character. And, replacing the packed nightclub and arena settings will be themed stages with pirate and sci-fi elements. Even the note bar has been changed, as there will be small bricks coming down the bar instead of just colored circles.
Nearly every facet of the game has been somehow branded with the LEGO moniker, and I have to say that I found all the LEGO enhancements to be quite cute. Sure, its not for everyone, but if you enjoy the other games in the LEGO franchise, or think that Rock Band just didn't have enough cutesy charm, you're sure to appreciate all the aesthetic changes.
As far as tracks are concerned, it looks like LEGO Rock Band is designed to appeal to two different groups of players: kids and older players. There are plenty of modern pop hits like So What by Pink and Girls and Boys by Good Charlotte, as well as classic hits like I Want you Back by the Jackson 5, and my personal favorite, The Final Countdown by Europe.
When I took the mini-stage at E3 to jam with LEGO Rock Band, I decided to play one of the game's older tracks, The Final Countdown. Although the song seemed a little old for the game's intended kid audience, this seemed like the perfect track for an older family member to jam with. Although all the difficulty settings were there, including super easy, I went ahead and tried my hand on the guitar on medium. I was actually somewhat surprised with how familiar the gameplay felt, and medium on LEGO Rock Band was just as challenging as the medium on a regular Rock Band game. As I hit notes correctly, instead of earning points, I earned studs, which I was told would allow me to purchase new vehicles and parts for my little LEGO character.
Although we didn't get any hands-on time with the character builder or the enhanced career mode, just from taking some time with a song on the quick play mode I feel confident in saying that if you like Rock Band games, you'll love LEGO Rock Band though I'm not sure if LEGO fans will be immediately sold on the Rock Band format, as it is worlds apart from the action platforming the series has been so well-known for. Still, I couldn't help but find this game very charming, and the LEGO-style humor as well as all the brick-based elements definitely make this mash-up worth looking into for fans of both franchises when it releases later this year.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor