Graphics:
7.7
Gameplay:
6.0
Sound:
7.2
Control:
6.4
Replay Value:
7.0
Overall Rating:
6.7
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Disney Interactive Studios
Developer:
Traveller’s Tales
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Action/Adventure


For the record, I enjoy the LEGO games. They’re simple, accessible, entertaining, and perfect for a couple players who want to spend a laid-back, family friendly afternoon collecting colorful LEGO pieces. Most titles follow the same formula, which means we never see anything revolutionary, but we always get a consistent presentation typically devoid of glaring flaws. And while the latest effort, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean , maintains much of that accessibility and constancy, it sort of regresses due to some changes that only emphasize the franchise’s failings. Really, these drawbacks have always been in existence, but they’re just more noticeable now. Still, it’s fun for the Jack Sparrow fans.

Graphically, the game is bordering on impressive, with some great backgrounds and plenty of nice detail. The expressions on the faces of those LEGO characters never cease to be amusing, the animations are just as fluid as ever, and the comical cut-scenes are professionally orchestrated and implemented. The visuals are a definite highlight, especially because of the variety: the game isn’t short and there’s plenty of environmental diversity, which continually offers you new looks at the beautiful Caribbean atmosphere. For something so blocky, one wouldn’t assume such a depiction would be quite so pleasing…but it is. The downfalls are few and far between and although it isn’t God of War , it works.

If you’re familiar with the LEGO series, you know the characters never speak. They just sort of make noises now and then; usually grunts of effort or hilarious gasps of surprise. That hasn’t changed, and neither has the decent soundtrack, which helps to drop us into that fantastical, engaging world found in the movies. That being said, the music doesn’t quite take the leading role it should; it should play a bigger part in our adventures. The effects are as crisp as ever, even if there aren’t a lot of them. Overall, if you combine the graphical and audio accomplishments, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the most polished LEGO titles yet. I seriously doubt any young followers of the films will be disappointed.

Off you go on a voyage headed up by Captain Jack Sparrow and his motley assortment of characters. You’ll recognize plenty of familiar faces and for the most part, the gameplay won’t surprise anyone. You move about easily with the left analog stick and despite some smaller-than-anticipated environments, there’s always plenty to do. Characters have different weapons and unique skills, there are multiple scenarios, levels, and puzzles, and lots and lots and lots of little LEGO bits to collect. As usual, there’s enough to last you quite a long time, especially if you intend to unlock everything. The controls are solid, the backdrops are quaint, and the comedy is genuinely funny.

But little eccentricities quickly make themselves known. It has nothing to do with the overly simple puzzles (c’mon, consider the demographic), nor does it center on a few small camera and collision detection issues. No, the problems stem from new features, I’m sorry to say. The pacing takes a big hit due to respawning enemies and these one-on-one duels that are nowhere near as fun as they sound. On top of which, despite the responsiveness of the controls, they seem to lack even more preciseness this time around, because platforming can be an uncomfortable chore. But these are all relatively minor, and wouldn’t have stopped me from wholeheartedly recommending this game to big-time fans of the movies. Like I said, most everything from past LEGO installments remains intact.

But they went and made one big mistake- rather than just one partner that follows you around (which can be the friend sitting next to you, if you wish), you often have a whole party trailing after you. At first, I thought this was a cool idea. But after some time, I realized the core of the game just isn’t strong enough to support this progressive concept. Firstly, the AI is still very questionable, and trying to get a half-dozen party members to follow you without encountering silly problems is…well, it’s annoying. Then there’s the fact that you sometimes have absolutely no idea what’s going on. You don’t know which character’s skill you require, or you don’t know which character has the ability you need.

As I said above, the pacing really drops off because of such issues. The game just doesn’t move along in that happy-go-lucky, charismatic way. Sure, it’s still charismatic, even charming, but this one becomes too much of a muddle at times. The on-screen prompts aren’t exact and there are plenty of times when they just don’t exist at all. I’ve never before had so much trouble playing a LEGO game; I’ve never encountered so many situations where I’m sitting there going, “…uh…so…now what?” At the end of the day, the game’s lighthearted personality and surprising technical achievements put a smile on my face, but it’s unfortunate that the gameplay has to suffer from a perceived upgrade.

LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean has all that great charm found in the films; Jack struts and swaggers, your favorite characters are there, the cut-scenes are extremely well done (and often downright hysterical), the visual and sound work is pretty damn good, and the presentation is bound to entertain the young “Pirates” fans out there. But I’m almost certain they’ll notice the problems, which are in greater abundance due to seemingly inaccurate platforming, a lack of direction pertaining to progress and puzzles, mediocre AI, and sluggish pacing. There’s a lot of fun to be had and the longevity is high but we have to tolerate more issues…drop that “group” mentality for the next one, Traveller’s.

The Good: Great backgrounds and pretty detailing. Clean, effective audio. Fantastic charismatic flair. Control is mostly solid. Collecting those studs never gets old.

The Bad: Mediocre AI. A lack of direction for both progress and puzzle-solving. Group of allies bogs down gameplay. Respawning enemies = unnecessary.

The Ugly: “How the hell was I supposed to know she could do that…?”

Subscribe
Notify of
27 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Yes, I'm aware there are bigger games that require reviews but until the PSN is up, I'm holding off on the MotorStorm and Brink reviews.

That being said, the Network doesn't impact our L.A. Noire review. And we have video commentary scheduled, too. 🙂

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

We'll be patient 🙂

Good things happen to those who wait.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
11 years ago

Good To Know Ben Been Looking Forward To LA Noire For A Damn Long Time. Now & Look Forward To Reading Your Review! When Should We Expect That ? Weekend ? Next Week ?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Not sure. Definitely before next weekend. Video commentary scheduled for the a few days after.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
11 years ago
Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

@ben: Just one thought regarding your decision (or rather, our request) to wait for psn versus using the xbox to review network play:
If it now turns out that psn will be down a lot longer, I'd vote for that you either write the reviews without considering network play, *or* use the xbox to try the network part of the game (Brink). Cause the fact of the matter right now is that ps3 owners do not have network access, but we still want to buy games and read reviews.
Quite frankly the best guidance as things stand today would actually be to read reviews from the non-network perspective.

Just my personal five cents.


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/13/2011 4:10:58 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
11 years ago

@Beamboom

I think Brink is supposed to be pretty heavilly multiplayer based. It might be impossible to review based on the AI and single player experience.

At least, that's what I've read.

TheCanadianGuy
TheCanadianGuy
11 years ago

I Hear Brink Sucks Real Bad.

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

The Ugly: "How the hell was I supposed to know she could do that…?"

That made me laugh so hard XD


Last edited by Victor321 on 5/12/2011 9:54:29 PM

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago
WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Legos good, lego games bad.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Nah, not all. They're just getting a little stale.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

There should be a lego game with Move where you build your own vehicles and stuff.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I gotta agree with Ben, the original star wars lego games were the best and so was lego Batman.

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

I agree too, the original lego games had bucket-loads of feel-good charm and wit, nice handling, good audio, very good replay value, etc. Simply very good productions.

The problem is that the Lego games was too much alike each other – same engine, same features, identical style. I believe it was a necessity that they now try to add new stuff, it's a shame it apparently didn't work out.


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/13/2011 4:17:23 AM

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago

It makes you wish they wouldn't divide each property into 2+ games.

Less frequent iterations = less fatigue (once again, are you listening, Activision?).


Last edited by Fane1024 on 5/13/2011 5:29:31 AM

Beamboom
Beamboom
11 years ago

Exactly, Fane1024. Too frequent iterations is indeed what killed it.

Oh and btw: The psp versions were really good too. In many ways it felt more "at home" on the psp.


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/13/2011 5:39:39 AM

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
11 years ago

Loved Indiana Jones and Part 2. The Star Wars games were great too.

marcusfrommo
marcusfrommo
11 years ago

I wonder what's the sales quota for the typical lego game?

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Ben did you ever play lego harry potter? The issues you described with this game I experienced in the little time I played the hp lego game.

I didn't play it much and that was due to the fact that I was often trying to figure out what the crap I was supposed to be doing.

Honestly I feel like in trying to follow the norm of adding new features to a series, the lego games have gone down hill. All these new features are just making the games muddled with confusion.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

No, didn't play that one.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I wouldn't suggest it, I thought it was definitely the worst one I had played, but after reading this review I won't be playing this one at all.

BIGRED15
BIGRED15
11 years ago

old star wars ones were hilarious. I'd go back to play those if i had the chance. But really its legos… what much else can you do… well alot, they just havent figured it out yet. Wouldn't mind a play create share style lego game.

___________
___________
11 years ago

ive moderately enjoyed the lego games, they have there issues which seem to pop up in every dam iteration which seems pretty pathetic, but besides that there allot of fun!
i just hate the puzzles!
biggest problem with the lego games is they lack direction, they just throw you in a room and away you go!
what are you suppose to do?
good question!
they just chuck you in, no info, no hints, no nothing!
just use your telepathically powers to figure it out, or turn on your PC and use the infinite wisdom of the internet and you tube!

other problem is when it does give you info 99% of the time its wrong, or is easily misinterpreted.
like leggo starwars the clone wars 3, i was in a room and it kept telling me only drones can open this door.
so i kept trying to get the drones to open the door for me.
turns out you have to use one jedi to lift another up above the door and then use the same jedi to lift another player up there to open the switch.
WTF does that have to do with a drone?
only drones can open the switch, so you use a jedi to open the switch?
drones are jedis are they?
oooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk…………..
its almost like hints are from different puzzles, there never helpful!

Fane1024
Fane1024
11 years ago

I found the LSW3 demo to be chock full of that problem: poorly designed puzzles with inadequate hints.

That's why I LOL'd at Ben's "The Ugly".

That's also why I won't be buying it.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 5/13/2011 5:35:09 AM

___________
___________
11 years ago

its pretty disappointing to see a game go down for something so silly and easily fixed!
its worse to see it in game after game after game after game after game!
thats what i hate about the lego games.
they have not evolved one single bit!
you would think the devs would read reviews and say ok people dont like this, say this needs improvement, so thats the first thing we will fix.
you would think so, but you would be wrong!
when a game goes down for something so silly its disappointing, when a whole series goes down because of the same thing because they cant be stuffed fixing it then thats just pathetic!
whichever lego game comes out next it seriously needs a makeover, a massive update!
otherwise i can see the series stagnating and becoming the next victim guitar hero syndrome.

TheRaven81
TheRaven81
11 years ago

I have to agree with Ben in that it seems a bit difficult in the sense of trying to figure out what to do next sometimes. However, I have played previous games in the LEGO series, and I found them to be a bit too easy. So to me, this degree of difficulty was a welcome change – because I wasn't having my hand held the whole time I was playing, and had to figure things out for myself. But even though I myself liked that challenge, I had a slight advantage, in that I had played previous games in the series, and already had experience in gameplay. But, people who are new to the series, won't have that advantage, and it would end up being too hard for them to play. So I would not recommend this game to anyone who has not played any of the previous games in the LEGO series.

Ben said "The on-screen prompts aren’t exact and there are plenty of times when they just don’t exist at all." I seem to recall that LEGO Batman had that same problem in the beginning of it's life, and it was fixed eventually. SO it's possible, that they have made the same error in coding, and it's only a matter of time before it's fixed, and an update is issued. One can only hope this is the case.


Last edited by TheRaven81 on 5/20/2011 10:45:10 PM