LEGO Rock Band
It’s easy to be skeptical of LEGO Rock Band as a quick cash grab, but Traveller’s Tales’ trademark LEGO silliness blended with a few interesting new mechanics from Harmonix elevates the game to a level fans of both series shouldn’t brush off.
The LEGO influence is immediately noticeable, as the game replaces the arena venues of other Rock Band games in favor of classic LEGO sets like a medieval castle, pirate ship, and spaceship. Even though unlocking new clothing in most music games is old hat at this point, something about earning new LEGO characters, vehicles, and items for your rock den makes it exciting again.
A new Super Easy difficulty and short song option cater to newbies and those with short attention spans. In the main career you can’t really fail out, no matter the difficulty setting. Just like LEGO Star Wars, you spend studs to get back in on the action, which doesn’t detract too much from the overall challenge. Expert difficulty is still expert difficulty, after all. The exception to the no fail rule is the new Rock Power Challenges that play out like a music video, in which your band escapes from a T-rex or kick starts an alien spaceship. Bad performances boot you out of the song with a humorous video of your failed objective. The challenges play out normally in single player, but band play grants sporadic breaks to watch the background antics and admire your friends’ shredding skills. It’s an interesting change of pace, but some ho-hum song choices for these epic sequences hurt the impact.
LEGO Rock Band’s song list turned out weak in my opinion. Though the game has certified classics from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Tom Petty, there are several throwaway tracks you’ll forget the instant they’re over. For every guilty pleasure like “The Final Countdown” or “Ghostbusters,” there’s an absolute horror like Korn’s take on “Word Up!”.
The career mode is structured similarly to Rock Band 2, which means you’ll be forced into a lot of mystery/custom set lists to progress. RB 2 had 84 songs to keep things fresh. LEGO RB has only 45. If you’ve got a lot of downloaded songs it lessens the blow of repetition, but either way you’re going to be stuck playing more KT Tunstall and Rascal Flatts than you ever imagined. The worst offender is the run to the final challenge, in which you must earn 90 stars from the same pool of songs you already played the crap out of.
Even if you’re not sold on LEGO Rock Band, the fact that you can rip the tracklist into Rock Band 2 for $10 is certainly a plus.