Sunday, July 14, 2013

Video Game Review: Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun way to play through the Pirates of the Caribbean films
Cons: Nothing much new for the Lego games franchise
The Bottom Line
Become a pirate
Familiar Lego style game
Still fun game, Matey




Why Be There No Lego Rum?

I have become quite addicted to the Lego video games, and my latest game is Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii.  It’s a fun addition to this video game franchise.

In fact, if you are familiar with the franchise already, I’m going to make this short and sweet.  It’s more of the same.  If that sounds good to you, get the game.  If you were hoping for something different, you’ll be disappointed.  You get five levels for each of the four movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  Other then a couple of small variations on the theme, you’ve seen it before.

Looking for more detail?  Keep reading.

The Lego video game franchise takes popular movie franchises and recreates the movies using Lego characters and settings.  This game features all four Pirates movies, and five levels for each movie, so all told there are 20 levels of play here.  The first time you play through each level, you play in Story Mode, doing your best to get through that part of the story with the assigned characters.  Once you’ve done that, you can start playing in Freeplay.  In this mode, you can bring other characters who weren’t in that scene with you.  You can also bring villains you’ve unlocked along.  There are some areas you can only unlock and explore in Freeplay, so you'll definitely want to do that.

Along with just completing the level, you have several missions.  You need to collect Lego studs.  Quite a few of them are sitting on the ground, but you can find more by building and/or destroying things.  When you hit a certain threshold (different on every level) you reach “Real Pirate” status.  The points from the studs you collect carry over, and you use them to unlock certain characters for Freeplay or helps that you’ve unlocked.  You also need to collect 10 "bottles" in each level to complete a minikit.

Really, it usually takes more than once through Story and Freeplay to unlock everything I need to from a level.  That means you get lots of play time from this game.

There are always at least two characters you can play on the screen at a time since this game is designed for one or two players.  I’ve only played by myself, and it’s easy to switch between characters as you need to.  In fact, they’ve added a wheel, so if there are multiple characters on the screen, you can choose which one in particular you want to play as.  When enemies attack, the computer won’t defeat them, just keep them at bay.  But if a puzzle requires two players to solve, the computer will do its part.

When an enemy or something else kills you, you lose some of the studs you’ve collected.  Even if you get down to zero, you can keep playing.  This is one feature I like since there are no more frustrating parts of getting to a certain point and dying.  As long as you keep moving forward, you will finish all of the level.

The game uses the Wiimote and the Nunchuck controllers, and frankly everything becomes second nature after a little bit of game play.  It does seem a bit more finicky about picking things up than other Lego games have been, but once you know that, it’s okay.

Graphic?  They won’t blow you away.  This game is on the cartoony side of animation.  The graphics are certainly good enough that you can tell what is happening and what you should be doing.  But this is a Lego video game, and I wouldn’t expect anything realistic from a game with plastic characters as the main characters.

The sound effects are good.  They’ve got swords clashing and other fun things like that.  And the background music includes the soundtracks from the films, so it’s great.

The Lego games always have fun cut scenes taken from the film to bridge the various stages of the level.  This one is no exception; however, I feel they overwhelm the game play at times.  This is especially true of the opening, which takes a couple of minutes to recreate the first scene of the first movie.  You can’t skip it but must watch every time you turn the game on.

Still, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii is another fun installment.  Fans of either franchise will have hours of enjoyment before them.

Pass the rum!

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