Ahoy me hearty pirates! It’s time for Girl Gamers UK to climb aboard the LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean voyage for a journey of hands-on discovery of some LEGO stud fun on the Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS.
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, developed by Traveller’s Tales and published by Disney Interactive Studios, spans four of the much loved movies, including the soon to be released “On Stranger Tides”, in LEGO form with the hilarious formula only TT games are capable of.
The LEGO mini figures are back for this rather awesome swash-buckling platformer. As with other previous LEGO games, things revolve around a central hub. Players are given the choice to select which story chapter they wish to begin with, but I would recommend playing them in the right order. The gameplay formula remains the same as before with a few differences to make this game a worthwhile investment. As in previous LEGO games, the environment is bright and colorful as you smash your way through bricks, only to rebuild them into something else essentially useful or practical.
The game features a more puzzling aspect mixed with some often entertaining combat. The combat consists of some light sword fighting which is determined through a selection of button bashing prompts as characters lock swords and commence battle. You can even hear the noise of the swords as they hit against each other, making the scene even more realistic. I feel it’s a nice balanced level of combat with joviality mixed in for good measure. There are more than 20 levels to play through and 70 familiar characters to play with from the very detailed Jack Sparrow, which has all of Jack’s quirkiness and hilarious mannerisms, to the creepy looking squid-faced Davy Jones.
The first chapter of Curse of the Black Pearl is where Jack Sparrow begins his adventures in Port Royal. In true pirate fashion, anyone and everyone with a wooden leg and parrot are trying their best to avoid the local authorities. As a LEGO mini figure I take the form of Will Turner, who is accompanied by his father. My objective is to get some kind of work shop fire place working again and looking around the room, all I can see is a random carrot laying on the floor and a donkey with a lost look in his eye. In my head, I know somehow these two go together in some kind of puzzling way, because in the centre of the room is a mechanism and wheel. Slowly, but surely I coax the donkey towards the carrot, which then allows the mechanism and wheel to turn.
Some of the environments you will have to analyze in search for clues, and other times you simply smash your way through bricks to build something practical to help you in your task.
Exploring the environment, you can use the new added feature of Jack Sparrow’s compass to help you discover something of importance, such as the next piece of a puzzle. Pressing the B button allows a path to clearly show where to walk in order to find the item. If you change to the small dog character, he can dig where X marks the spot providing you give him a bone. Characters can even swim underwater, as long as you have enough red hearts to keep your air supply filled. The game also offers a super free play mode, which allows players to select any of the characters that you’ve managed to unlock and play them through any unlocked level. The co-op mode is simply amazing, with the split screen showing the players in completely different areas. Working together can make solving the puzzles a lot easier, after you’ve smashed everything to pieces of course. I like the fact that there are also LEGO animals in the video game which include anything from a lost looking donkey you can ride on, to a small LEGO chicken clucking in the distance.
After playing on the Xbox 360 version and 3DS, it’s hard to imagine that these two games offer any real differences between them. From what I played on the 3DS it had a similar feel to it, although the graphics looked a little washed out on the handheld. The Xbox 360 version of LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a much richer and more fulfilling experience in my opinion, with the environments feeling very polished and well rendered. That being said, the 3DS version will be featuring a Street Pass mode that will allow players to duel other players while passing them in the street, earning both notoriety and Play Coins to unlock new characters.
If you’ve played any of the various LEGO video games in the past, then you’ll be looking forward to this new swash-buckling adventure coming to consoles this month.