Review: Set sail for silliness with 'LEGO Pirates,' savvy?
|LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean|
GOOD: great for families
BAD: below decks AGAIN?!
FINAL: You WANT this game.
Courtesy Disney Interactive Studios
With four adventure movies under the family-friendly film franchise's belt, "Pirates of the Caribbean" is sailor-made for the toys and video games of the LEGO banner. Captain Jack Sparrow and company arrive at a great time, because after so many "LEGO Star Wars" and "LEGO Indiana Jones" games, the series has largely ironed out any wrinkles and is now as smooth as a LEGO brick itself. "LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean" is another sturdy, reliably fun installment, translating movie scenes into cutesy action sequences and pirate-themed puzzles.
The gameplay remains the same as previous LEGO games. One or two players control various stars, soldiers, pirates and monsters from across the four Disney movies. On the first time through, players must stick to a strict retelling of the story, but subsequent plays allow incongruous character choices - like movie #4's Blackbeard playable in movie #1. The cast of over sixty playable characters fall under certain classes of special abilities, and only by switching between these classes can players uncover all of the game's secrets and open every blocked path.
Only the monster characters can walk on the bottom of the seafloor, for example, where treasure may be hid. There are switches that require a character to have a sword, dig spots that need a shovel, and red hot machinery that begs for a blacksmith's touch. By cycling through all these character classes, you collect dozens of hidden items; many of which are quite challenging. This is what makes the LEGO games such a great fit for kids and parents that play together.
Jack Sparrow is a class unto himself, being the only character to possess his treasure-seeking compass. The compass adds a nice pirate angle. When activated, little square footprints appear that lead Jack across the sand to a buried item or a puzzle element required to complete the level.
Even though these games operate mostly in pantomime, the characters are allowed mutters and giggles and LEGO Jack offers a cute Johnny Depp tone to his grunts. Although the movie plots are so abstract - mercilessly cut into five simple chapters per film - that one wonders if the silent storyline makes any sense to a player that has not previously seen the flicks.
The gold standard with the LEGO games was last year's "LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4" and "Pirates" is not quite as deep a sea. The Port hub world is not as impressive as Harry's Hogwarts and "Pirates" suffers from some repetition of environments. A good portion of the game sticks you in seaside jungles or under ship decks. That may be where most of the movies took place, but it gets tiring to be constantly treading similar locales.
Still, it feels good to be able to recommend another LEGO title. Families can look forward to a well-produced, fun game that scales well across age groups.
This review is based on product that was supplied by the game's publisher.
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