Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Game (XBox 360) Review

18 May

Travellers Tales are back, once again fusing magic, wonder and bricks into a much-loved family franchise. Much like Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Indiana Jones before it, it is now Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean that gets the block treatment. Taking  you through all four movies with the exceptional charm and humour that is now expected of the franchise, Lego Pirates does well to stick out slightly more in a series that is starting to become pretty stagnant.

The first thing you are going to notice when you play Lego Pirates is the sheer production value of the games presentation, this game is pretty, charming and does everything to capture that ‘Disney Magic’ that the movie series is known for. The environments are pretty, with elements such as buildings, boats and creatures being built in Lego and other elements such as water having a more realistic visual effect. Hans Zimmer’s compositions for the movie franchise can be heard throughout and the voice acting for the characters themselves really adds a another level of detail.

The game has a weird obsession with fruit and veg, if something can be replaced with a carrot, bet your behind it will be replaced with a carrot.

In terms of characters, pretty much everybody from the franchise is here, well those you could fit into a list of seventy, most of the smaller characters are clones of others but all the important ones are here, everyone from Jack Sparrow to that evil beardy guy who threw bombs in the first movie are present. All these characters, especially Jack, are more facially expressive than any other Lego game I have played, which really helps aid the humour and the feeling of the story.

Story wise it’s the crazy, convoluted storyline of the movies. With four to five levels per movie, the game uses these levels to detail the major events and plot points of each movie, with some degree of change, and uses cut scenes with the in-game stylisation and cut scenes that resemble an old style puppet show to represent the rest. Travelers Tales have done a pretty god job here telling a story line that spans four movies and can get very crazy and lost, even without speech, however it still falls flat the same way the movies did when sometimes you have no idea what is going on.

The humour of the game is the foundation for all its charm, injecting some slapstick and tongue in cheek humour really adds to the experience and makes it more enjoyable. With the game being swamped in dark and gritty undertones, like you know, death, Travellers Tale have done a fantastic job in keeping this game suitable for young kids and the family by replacing scenes such as the hanging scene at the start of  ‘At World’s End’ and replacing it with a scene where everyone just gets put in stocks and pelted with fruit, veg and a pig.

Every meaningful scene of the movies is reimagined in Lego and amazingly spot on

On surface value Pirates uses the same tried and tested formula that all the Lego games share, the simple premise of smash things, build things and solve puzzles using different characters’ skills and abilities. This method is fun and works well with the subtle tweaks of character roles and jobs but my main issue with the gameplay is the camera angle; the high angle view messes up any simple bit of platforming you will attempt to execute. During the earlier levels this is fine and not present but towards the end where you are jumping from swinging platform to swinging platform it becomes slightly frustrating. Another issue I had with gameplay was the fact that there are no indicators for what needs to be achieved to move on to the next area or stage, I found myself a few times just being completely stuck, smashing everything to pieces and getting frustrated, only to realise I was over thinking things and had to move something from point A to point B. It can’t be too hard to add some code that realises you are stuck and gently pushes you towards your goal surely?

For the obsessive, compulsive collector out there, Lego Pirates will easily scratch that itch. The sheer number of things in this game to find, buy and collect is insane. You will need to collect things such as the standard mini kits, use Jack’s compass to find hidden objects, get eighty plus gold bricks to build structures to open up areas in the vast hub world etc etc.

This game is truly well made, though be it with its flaws, and is definitely made for two demographics, the hardcore pirates fan who without a crappy license game to tie into the recent movie release will gladly take this as a substitute any day and the eight to ten-year olds who just want to smash things as their favourite character. And in both those cases this game does truly well. However will the next Lego game be able to rise above this and not become stagnant?

Follow Travellers Tales on Twitter at: @TTGames

Follow Myself on Twitter at: @ObviousPrime

and Alternative Spotlight on Twitter at : @Alt_Spotlight


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