FWD Progress 11-06-2009: LEGO Rock Band Hands-On

LEGO Freddie Mercury is AdorableI ended up having a rather terrible week as far as work is concerned. My Arthritis has really flared up, which makes it hard and quite painful to play video games and type all day. I’ve fallen behind my self-imposed  schedule quite a bit, but will keep plugging away. I may bump my review of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games entirely though in favour of something a little more personal.

I was chipping away at a blog post detailing some of the tricks I use to make playing Wii easier for me when I’m suffering spasms or stiffness and it just flowed out of me. If my arms co-operate, I’m hoping to post that later today. Read More…

We picked up LEGO Rock Band this week and though I haven’t been able to play it much myself, Nathalie has put a few hours into it and I’ve been taking notes. Originally, I was just going to include it in a holiday  music game guide, but I’m going to end up reviewing it before that feature is posted in early December.

Tt Games has done a fantastic job merging the LEGO and Rock Band universes and they have brought all of the charm of the previous LEGO games with them. Much to my surprise, LEGO Rock Band also features some core changes and enhancements to the gameplay and overall experience.

First of all, this game is adorable and really appeals to the eight-year-old LEGO fanatic in me. LEGO versions of celebrities like Freddie Mercury and Iggy Pop have made me smile and the cut scenes and Rock Challenges in the story mode are brimming with personality.

There are tons of LEGO elements to collect that you can use to customize your band, staff like managers and roadies and your Rock Den; an area that serves as a hub and replaces the standard boring menus of previous Rock Band games. Elements and staff members are unlocked as you progress through the game’s story mode and you purchase them using studs.  Every time you complete a song, your score is translated to studs so there hasn’t been any shortage of currency thus far.

Instead of simply earning new vehicles that allow your band to play bigger and better gigs, in LEGO Rock Band, you must purchase the vehicles using studs. We haven’t been forced to repeat any gigs so far in order to collect enough studs to move on, which is nice.

LEGO Rock Band features the option to play short versions of songs which is new to the series. We went through a couple short versions and though they tend to end abruptly with quick fade-outs, they are edited together quite well. I haven’t had the chance to see if the option exists for downloaded songs yet.

Speaking of DLC, LEGO Rock Band accesses your previously downloaded songs and weeds out anything that may be offensive to fall in line with the game’s E10 rating. I have 306 downloaded tracks and 54 that were exported from Rock Band on my hard drive. Of those, only 122 downloaded songs and 22 from Rock Band made the cut.

I can’t figure out exactly what criteria they use to determine which songs are allowed in LEGO Rock Band, but some songs that made the cut honestly surprised me. There is an option to export the songs in LEGO Rock Band - most of which are all-new to Rock Band - into Rock Band or Rock Band 2 for a cost of $10. I haven’t done this yet because of a lack of hard drive space so I’m not sure if it exports any of the LEGO branded stuff, but it will take about 1.3 GB of hard drive space.

$10 is a bit pricey considering this game retails for a full $60 (in Canada at least) and only has 45 songs on it. It’s not the best value when it comes to music games and quite frankly some of the music is garbage, but LEGO Rock Bandis very charming and should appeal to many gamers of a certain age looking for a family- friendly game. I’ll have a full review in the weeks to come.