We already know you dig Rock Band, but you might be thinking: Why LEGOs? Here's why: it's for kids. Or, more accurately, for the whole family. LEGO: Rock Band takes the familiar gameplay of the large-scale Rock Band and Rock Band 2, and throws in that unique LEGO magic.
You already know how to play the game -- match the notes coming down the note highway, try to hit them on time and on-point -- so let me discuss that LEGO difference:
- Customization: You customize your LEGO mini-fig musicians in various funny ways. Pirates, knights, all the LEGO favorites are represented here.
- Super-easy mode: This addition to the bottom of the difficulty chart is so little kids and spazzes can join in and still contribute to the band. Rather than just add a no-fail option, Harmonix created the perfect learning mode for kids. The LEGO-easy drums allows you to keep time, but not worry about which pads you hit, so kids get an idea of rudimentary rhythm before moving up to the big leagues of Easy mode. For guitar, you can just hit the strum bar, and not worry about the fret buttons. Again, a great way to really play the game without worrying about difficulty, because kids know the difference between a band they are really contributing to and a game that's just keeping them from failing out. The regular Rock Band difficulties will be analogous to Rock Band's, so if Dad, Mom or Big Sister shred at guitar, they can still set the difficulty to Expert and enjoy a challenging experience.
- Rock Challenge mode: This mode presents bands with challenges like tearing down a building through rock or battling LEGO skeletons with rock. This mode seems to mainly change the animation in the background, which makes it a little hard to follow while watching the note highway. But still, it's a nice addition to the game.
- Narrative mode: As you might expect with LEGO: Rock Band, the parodies familiar to players of the other LEGO games are in full effect, so expect hilarious parodies of different aspects of the Rock Star experience.
- Building Vehicles: Rather than simply have a score meter, LEGO Rock Band allows players to collect studs that they can redeem for vehicles: Tour buses, vans, planes, and even a spaceship so you can rock out on the moon.
- Family-friendly music: No curses or super-hardcore rock here. Everything will be for the family.
As for the hands-on part of the game: I played "The Final Countdown" by Europe on guitar, and it played exactly like Rock Band, although I did find myself a bit distracted by the LEGO antics of the the onscreen avatars.
According to the MTV representative on hand at E3, LEGO Rock Band's family-friendly song list won't be able to be augmented with DLC, and the game will probably feature a mixture of master tracks and covers. It comes out this Fall for the PS3, PS2, Nintendo DS, and Xbox 360.