LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean (Available on 3DS, DS, PS3, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Traveller’s Tales Games
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Parent Talk: Parents need not fear allowing even their youngest children play this wonderfully addictive action-platformer. The ESRB rates Pirates an E10+ for cartoon violence and comic mischief, but kids under 10 have nothing to worry about. It’s LEGO; how bad could it possibly be?
Review Basis: Completed the entire game and collected most of the trophies. Time–permitting, I plan to platinum this game because the trophies are easy to collect. I played the PlayStation 3 version in HD, which doesn’t support 3D compatible televisions, but does output in 1080p for those interested.
Fun for everyone. It’s rare for me to say about a non-Nintendo release, but it’s the truth. Pirates really is fun for all: the youngest members of your household to the most hardcore player you know. The combination of classic LEGO gameplay, fantastic humor and great trophies make it addicting.
+ All four films in one game. It’s great that all four movies translate well to the LEGO universe. Are you familiar with how confusing the second and third movies were? Imagine what happens when the voice acting and dialogue is removed. That’s right, it’s easier to understand, and I have no idea why. Each movie is its own game, so you’ve completed four by the time you finish On Stranger Tides. That’s what I call a value!
+ Find, break and build. The classic LEGO gameplay is back and hasn’t changed. You traverse each chapter looking for different objects to help unlock the path forward, destroying everything in the way. You can also build new objects out of the destruction, leading to areas you couldn’t access before. Rinse and repeat.
+ How many characters are there?! There might be fifty playable characters, but only a handful enjoy different powers. These range from one someone carrying a weapon type to another walking underwater. Each is needed to discover all the goodies in each chapter. The other forty characters are simply visual skins.
+ Level design. The simple gameplay doesn’t grow old because each chapter is completely different than the one prior, and after. TT Games wrapped a level around each big scene from the film, with their take. The result is nothing short of brilliant. Some levels are somehow better than what’s seen in the movies.
+ Excellent presentation. You don’t expect it from a game marketed to the younger crowd, but LEGO Pirates sports excellent graphics and a wonderful soundtrack. All the epic orchestrated tunes from the movies are featured here, so crank up the speakers for a great time.
– Same A.I. If you’ve played a LEGO game, you know what I’m talking about. Say there’s a switch that requires both on-screen characters to activate. You’ll be in place while your AI counterpart is off-screen doing who knows what. This happened to me on more than one occasion, and proves problematic throughout the game.
– No online co-op. I can’t accept this in a 2011 game. There’s just no excuse. I love local multiplayer; it works very well for LEGO Pirates, but it would be so much better if there were always people to play with. An online/offline hybrid would’ve made for the best experience.support for an even better experience.
– Controls. I’ve never understood why jumping is such a chore. It takes forever to realize where a platform is in relation to your character. It’s been an issue since day one and probably won’t be rectified.
It’s not supposed to be complicated, so why is it? Confused? Then you probably haven’t played any of the LEGO games. You’re hand-walked through most of the game, only to encounter sections where no explanation is given. You’re left wondering how to access an area. Maybe there’s a rope you can’t see because it wasn’t highlighted, or something else entirely. It seems the developers lost sight of this through their work. I think it’s because Traveller’s has been with the series for so long that they take what should be super simple for granted.
LEGO Pirates is really enjoyable, but the universe is showing its age in terms of gameplay advancement. Traveller’s Tales refuses to integrate online co-op to take their product to new heights. You should pick up PIrates if you enjoy LEGO games, or else I suggest a rent to determine if it’s your cup of tea. For parents, this would be an excellent gift for that gamer child of yours.