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November 26, 2009
Lego Rock Band - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
25/11/2009WB GamesMTV/EA/WBHarmonix/TT Fusion1-4None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Lego Rock Band is visually impressive.
Lego has been around for almost 50 years now. Rock Band only launched for the very first time in November 2007. But that hasn't stopped the companies involved with both properties to come together and form Lego Rock Band. Developed by Harmonix and Traveller's Tales (TT Fusion) this is a more family friendly version of Rock Band with tracks selected so as to not offend. So is this game another great iteration in the Rock Band franchise, or just a quick cash-in?

If you've played either Guitar Hero or Rock Band in any of their past iterations then you'll be right at home here as gameplay is night on identical. Using the guitar, drums or microphone you can strum, bang or scream your way through the song list. In case you are unaware the gameplay is pretty simple as you simply have to hit the notes in time with those sliding down the screen to the point at the bottom where you have to 'hit' the note (if you're singing you have to sing at the right pitch).

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The game plays exactly like Rock Band!
There isn't really a storyline to speak of in this game other then you're forming a band, starting in some small venues with a small Lego van and need to complete the songs to 'upgrade' to bigger vans, bigger venues and soon enough have a band manager and entourage along for the ride. There's no denying that the Lego characters, despite their blocky, partially movable form, are full on, entertaining characters in their own rights. The game opens with the Rock Band styled video sequence where they're racing down the road in a tour bus, but of course all the characters are now Lego. It's just so cool.

In terms of game modes the main one is the Story Mode (which is essentially the Tour Mode renamed). In this mode you will play at venues, earn fans, but also have the option to purchase vehicles (Which is essentially unlocking new venues), hiring staff to join your band on tour, decorate your Rock Den, re-watch videos and practice songs. Unfortunately as you enter these locations you will notice that you will play a song not once, but often several times before moving onto the next location.

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Lego characters are just so cool.
In terms of new elements to this game one big inclusion is the "Super Easy" option which is perfect for youngsters of almost any age that can hold the guitar. In this mode the need to use fret buttons are removed and you simply have to strum at the right moment. If you're on drums you simply need to hit any of the drums at the right moment while the singing removes the need to sing at the right pitch.

The other big new feature in Lego Rock Band is the Rock Power Challenge. These appear at various venues in the game and will see you doing something like escaping a T-Rex, destroying a building or taking on a giant Octopus. As you play these challenges you'll get some cool clips playing in the background although if you're playing in a band this mode seems to take turns in who is playing rather then everyone together. Strange. Still, the video clips before and after these challenges really are superb, and very humorous. Finally it's now impossible to fail a song, but rather you lose Lego blocks, but you can earn these back in a small recovery stint in the songs. The flipside of this is that it takes away much of the anxiety created when you're near to failing.

So now we come to what, for many, is the all-important part - the set list. No point waffling on, here it is...

"A-Punk" - Vampire Weekend
"Accidentally In Love" - Counting Crows
"Aliens Exist" - Blink-182
"Breakout" - Foo Fighters
"Check Yes Juliet" - We the Kings
"Crash" - The Primitives
"Crocodile Rock" - Elton John
"Dig" - Incubus
"Dreaming of You" - The Coral
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" - The Police
"The Final Countdown" - Europe
"Fire" - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Free Fallin'" - Tom Petty
"Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker Jr.
"Girls and Boys" - Good Charlotte
"Grace" - Supergrass
"I Want You Back" - Jackson 5
"In Too Deep" - Sum 41
"Kung Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas
"Let's Dance" - David Bowie
"Life is a Highway" - Rascal Flatts
"Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
"Monster" - The Automatic
"Na´ve" - The Kooks
"The Passenger" - Iggy Pop
"Real Wild Child" - Everlife
"Ride a White Swan" - T. Rex
"Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)" - Lostprophets
"Ruby" - Kaiser Chiefs
"Short and Sweet" - Spinal Tap
"So What" - Pink
"Song 2" - Blur
"Stumble and Fall" - Razorlight
"Suddenly I See" - KT Tunstall
"Summer of '69" - Bryan Adams
"Swing, Swing" - The All-American Rejects
"Thunder" - Boys Like Girls
"Tick Tick Boom" - The Hives
"Two Princes" - Spin Doctors
"Valerie" - The Zutons
"Walking on Sunshine" - Katrina & the Waves
"We Are the Champions" - Queen
"We Will Rock You" - Queen
"Word Up!" - Korn
"You Give Love a Bad Name" - Bon Jovi

45 songs. It sounds like a lot but when you think that the original Rock Band shipped with 58 songs, and Rock Band 2 an even more impressive 84 songs going back to a game with only 45 songs is a bit of a disappointment although you can naturally boost the library by purchasing songs (limited to those suitable for this game) from the Rock Band Store. Now, having said all that, we did enjoy many of the songs on this disc including "You Give Love A Bad Name" from Bon Jovi, "Ghostbusters" from Ray Park Jr, and "The Final Countdown" from Europe but some songs such as Queen's "We Will Rock You" are a little odd, you're playing guitar but for 90% of the song it's simply in time with the beats and clapping. I was also surprised that for a "kid-friendly" game there wasn't a lot of "child friendly" tracks - The Wiggles, Hi-5, Sesame Street could have added some extra fun for youngsters in the "Super-Easy" modes.

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Playing on the pirate ship.
Of course you're likely to have your own favourites in this set list however with such a wide range of genres covered you're likely to find some tracks you love, and some you don't meaning that you won't really be getting 45 'enjoyable tracks' - although that could be said of almost any non band-specific release in any music game franchise from SingStar to Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

At least on the PS3 version of Lego Rock Band (and Xbox 360, but not the Wii for some strange reason) you can use songs that you've purchased online for other titles in the Rock Band series. That certainly ups the track count, reduces repetition, and increases longevity somewhat - although you could just pop in your original games to play those anyway.

It's not too hard to pick some issues with this game, there are three major ones that stand out for us. The first, and most annoying one for us, was the loading from the menus to the songs which will have you sitting there thinking for a little while. The second issue is the soundtrack which at 45 songs is about half the track listing seen in other Guitar Hero and Rock Band titles. Given that you're paying near full price for this game it is something that could have been remedied. Still, as we've mentioned above there are some genuinely entertaining tracks on this list. Finally, and this is a big one for us, there is no online gameplay. Despite being included in other Rock Band titles the developers have omitted this from Lego Rock Band. Why? Who knows. Perhaps to remain more family friendly and focused. But why shouldn't families be able to play online with other families or friends?

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Lego Rock Band with 4-players...
Visually Lego Rock Band hits all the right notes. Just like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones titles the characters have a life of their own, are well animated, and the game also includes plenty of, often amusing, cut scenes. We've already discussed the lack of music tracks on this release but the actual audio quality in this game is impressive overall.

Lego Rock Band is clearly aimed at a younger audience with only "family friendly" tracks selected (were there really any tracks in previous releases too bad anyway?). Visually and sonically it's great, but the biggest questions have to be the removal of online gameplay and the limited track selection. Still it's fun for the whole family and that's gotta count for something leading up to Christmas right...

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSLego Rock Band certainly nails a great visual style with great sense of humour too.
SOUNDDespite the lack of songs what is there is well presented as are the other audio effects.
GAMEPLAYIt's classic Rock Band gameplay wrapped up in Lego cuteness. Loading annoys and lack of online play is also going to hurt you enjoyment if you wanted some friendly family battles. Very Easy mode is brilliant for youngsters but loading annoys.
VALUEOnly half the songs of most other releases, no online gameplay, but it is still entertaining.
OVERALLOverall Lego Rock Band is a great product for the entire family, but lacks real value for seasoned fans. No online modes hurt as does the lack of tracks on the disc. Worth a look, but don't expect too much.

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