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LEGO Rock Band Review

Some of you may have read my article on the Lego franchise expanding forever more into gaming, which was written after the announcement of Lego Rock Band. It's hard to be cynical about matters such as this when the gaming industry begins to turn into another large money-making scheme. Mixing two popular franchises - Lego and Rock Band - seems almost inevitable, but is it worth the extra cash or is it just another cash cow to milk?

Lego Rock Band

Rock Band is a popular instrument-peripheral based rhythm action game which, in itself, was a clone of the popular Guitar Hero franchise. In Rock Band you take the beginnings of your very own band to rock star fame by playing plastic instruments to hits notes as they appear onscreen. While a relatively new gaming experience, there has been enough of it about for it to be popular and have a tried-and-tested formula. Unfortunately, adding Lego into the fray does not change this in anyway.

Your Lego characters will start a band and begin to rock their way through the game's 45-track listing, many of which you will end up playing a number of times. Even the original Guitar Hero came with two more songs, and nowadays we're used to these games coming with nearer twice that amount. Not only that, but if you own the original Rock Band and would like to import any songs from there or any downloaded songs you may have, then most of them will be inaccessible due to the games ‘family friendly' rating. It's a poor effort since it's the content of these games that shines out. The track listing itself is enjoyable; enough variety for all to appreciate - just simply not enough of it to keep the game fresh.

As you play through the main game you'll have a variety of events to play at - all rendered in the charming Lego style. This is one thing the game does do well - charm. It's entertaining to watch your Lego band rock out, as well as spotting some famous stars Lego-ified such as Freddie Mercury or Iggy Pop. At the end of these events, you'll be given a task to complete in a Rock Power Challenges. These challenges play exactly the same as any other song, except without the overdrive ability - meaning you have to play well to succeed. These modes are more interesting, since you're rocking-out for the sake of the ‘greater good'; summoning a storm cloud for a farmer's dying crops, helping a construction site foreman destroy a building or defending your band from a giant octopus. This means a different video plays in the background as you rock, which breaks up the repetition of seeing your band play exactly the same songs with exactly the same videos each time.

Lego Rock Band

For each song you play, as with any other alternative game, you earn a score based on how well you played. This score, however, is then converted into ‘studs' which - as any professional Lego-game player knows - can be used for purchasing things. In Lego Rock Band, this comes in the form of items and objects to purchase and customise your Rock Den with. You can also use these to hire new staff, from roadies and managers to video directors and personal trainers. These are useful for various things but, mostly, just to increase your stud-collection or fanbase. Everything is customisable though, from the unlockable minifigures which you can use to redecorate your band, entourage or groupies or what objects you use for your Rock Den.

Ultimately, though, all the charm and customisation in the game simply fails to provide anything more to the game. In Rock Band, players want to nothing more than to rock and any deviation from that could spoil the game. Adding Lego to the game surely gives the opportunity to deviate, to change the gameplay or add something to it that is both fun and innovative. There was a chance here to implement different mini-games, or change the gameplay in some way that only a Lego game could pull off, but rather this is a wasted chance, and instead it plays just the same as any other Rock Band game.

On top of this, while there is four player co-op for the full band experience, there is no online play with Lego Rock Band. Not necessarily a problem, but since other Rock Band's come with this addition, it seems bizarre to purposely remove the feature. It seems unfair to disregard and criticise this game for its comparisons to others in the series, but it's hard not to. This is another in the series after all so comparisons will be rife and, in essence, it's much the same just built out of Lego bricks instead.

Lego Rock Band

All in all, it may be cynical to see Lego Rock Band as an effortless cash-in since that's pretty much what it is. Sure, adding in Lego adds some charm and customisation options to the series, but that's really all there is. There was a possibility for the fun of the Lego games series to infiltrate into this, but there was no sign of this. Sure, a rose of any other name smells as sweet - but this version lacks the content of its predecessors, whilst providing a more repetitive, if not charming, Rock Band experience. If you already have the instruments, then this is nothing more than an expensive track pack. If you don't, then previous iterations have much more going for them over this Lego-infused version. It's just a shame that this game is such a missed opportunity.

6.00/10 6

LEGO Rock Band (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)

Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.

All in all, it may be cynical to see Lego Rock Band as an effortless cash-in since that's pretty much what it is. Sure, adding in Lego adds some charm and customisation options to the series, but that's really all there is. There was a possibility for the fun of the Lego games series to infiltrate into this, but there was no sign of this. Sure, a rose of any other name smells as sweet - but this version lacks the content of its predecessors, whilst providing a more repetitive, if not charming, Rock Band experience. If you already have the instruments, then this is nothing more than an expensive track pack. If you don't, then previous iterations have much more going for them over this Lego-infused version. It's just a shame that this game is such a missed opportunity.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
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COMMENTS

GuNsLiNgEr-1428100755
GuNsLiNgEr-1428100755 - 11:42pm, 3rd April 2015

Wow, how could they have such poor AA on a game that is so simple graphically? Nice review :)

Reply