LEGO Rock Band First Thoughts

After staying late at work last night, I managed to rush home to enjoy some LEGO Rock Band. After taking the disc out of its flimsy plastic case and popping it into the Xbox, I was greeted with a neat video of Lego people rocking out. Bricks were flying, dinosaurs were stomping, etc. The main title screen has a Lego version of the Rock Band 2 menu tiger, and he’s pretty ferocious. The game starts off much like any other Rock Band variant, with a menu giving you the option for free play (as opposed to Quickplay), Story, Training, Options, Extras, and the music store.

My main disappointment with the game (which I otherwise really, really like) is the lack of online play. There is none. You can’t even play with friends in story mode or free play. It limits the utility of the game greatly. Every Rock Band iteration has had some kind of online play and seeing it missing here feels wrong. I wanted to rock out with my buddies and their minifigs. Keep this in mind if you really like online play.

That being said, the actual game itself is quite fun. Free Play is just like Quick Play in Rock Band 2, with all the same features. The difficulty settings are a bit different than in Rock Band 2, and you’ll see some songs rated as more difficult here than they are in RB2. You also probably won’t be able to use all of your DLC – only stuff marked as family friendly on rockband.com’s slonglist will show up as ready to play in Lego.

In terms of the actual in-game play, the mechanics are about the same as RB2. The note gems are lego blocks instead of the usual RB gems, but that’s about the extent of the difference on the highway. I do notice that enabling Overdrive gives a flashier effect on the highway, but again nothing too out of this world.

The Lego venues look very nice, and the minifigs animate well. It’s a nice change of pace from the past year or so of seeing my usual rockers, and I admit I would probably load it up more often than Rock Band 2 if it had online play.

I haven’t gotten very far into the story mode. I like what I’ve seen so far, though. There’s Lego cutscenes (like the other Lego games) to tie the various events together. There’s also Rock Challenges which have music video-like backgrounds. I’ve seen the one for Ghostbusters already and it looks really cool, so I’m going to try to hit up the story mode and see more of them.

The tracks are exportable to RB2, but the process is a bit convoluted. First, you need to redeem the code from the game’s insert slip at rockband.com. You then get an XBox live token (or PSN token) to download a special LEGO Export license. Once you do that, you can then go into the Music Store in Lego RB and choose to export. This will trigger a $10 1.28GB download of all of the tracks in the game. Sorry guys, no picking or choosing. They just show up as regular DLC in RB2, with no indicators to show they are from Lego. The songs are, unsurprisingly, rated easier in RB2 than in Lego.

What’s the big thing to take away from all of this? I need a bigger hard drive. I only have 500MB free. Rock Band takes up an astounding 12 GB of my 20GB drive (of which there’s only, what, 14GB available to use anyway). It’s still a traveshamockery that Microsoft charges obscene prices for add-on hard drives. They always find a way to be customer unfriendly in the end.

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