The Alien Critic Reviews...
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TAC Reviews...Lego Games

 

Originally Lego were simple toys that involved using different coloured blocks to create more and more complicated vehicles and structures. It was a toy that basically made the child do most of the work themselves, and once something was built the only thing that could really be done with it was put it on display or break it into pieces to build something else. Of course, children didn’t just have to follow the instructions and could use the pieces to make pretty much whatever they wanted.

 

 

Eventually some bright spark hit upon the idea of making a Lego computer game in which the player would need to build things out of Lego pieces in order to progress. As far as I am aware (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) but Star Wars was the first game to get a Lego make-over. Basically the Original Trilogy had key scenes remade using Lego people, and after the success of that game many other franchises have received a Lego game version.

 

I haven’t played all of these games and of the ones I have played I haven’t necessarily reviewed them all. However below you will find all the reviews that I have taken the time to construct, and just so you are aware I have placed them in the order I played them in and not the order that they were released.

 

Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga

Lego Jurassic World

Lego Marvel Superheroes

Lego Worlds

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

Lego DC Super-Villains

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga

 

Released in 2007 this game combines Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and its sequel Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy - again you could argue this is another cash-in because it combines two already released games but I haven't played those so to me this was an original game with all six episodes of the Star Wars Saga. This was before Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and started making the new Episodes plus the Star Wars Story films

 

Lego Star Wars The Compete Saga Boxart

 

If you are familiar with the story of the first six episodes of Star Wars then you know what is going on here, if you don’t then why are you reading this review because you are obviously not a Star Wars fan, a cinema goer, someone who likes sci-fi or a person that has spent most of their life living under a rock…but here’s the gist anyway…

 

In the prequel trilogy you see how Anakin Skywalker because Darth Vader, and in the original trilogy you see how Luke Skywalker becomes a Jedi and fights the Empire with the Rebels…I honestly thought my explanation of the Star Wars films would be a little bit more involved than that but clearly not

 

What I really like about these games is the fact that there is no dialogue, the story is “told” through the use of cut scenes, and the characters’ facial expressions. It serves to cut through so much of the bullshit from the films and each of the levels are pretty creative. You have to build levers or vehicles in order to proceed. Enemies will fall to pieces when they are shot, so there is no violence, it is toys battling other toys.

 

There are multiple game modes, you can replay levels once you have completed them on story mode you can repeat them with any character you have unlocked up to that point so you can explore the levels more fully. Collecting studs allow you to buy more characters and you find secrets that you can use to build vehicles in the hub world.

 

There is also an hour challenge in which you must do all six levels of an episode in under an hour, the easiest way to do this is to play as one of the ghosts, because enemies won’t attack you because they can’t see you but you can still fight them.

 

Overall, this is a great little game, it is entertaining and very funny to watch these little Lego people playing the characters you’ve seen in Star Wars. The Emperor cackles as you fight him, and the boss fights themselves are quite extensive with puzzles to solve and different tool to build to help you win the fight.

 

This game will take some time to complete but it does not get frustrating, and does not get dull and repetitive. If you are a fan of Star Wars and want a game that does not take itself too seriously and pokes fun at the franchise and the characters then look no further than Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga.

 

A charming game that is good fun to play, so it gets a Thumbs Up.

 

 

8/10 - A great little game that does what it says in the tin - it is Star Wars as told using Lego people - let your inner child out to play this

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Jurassic World

 

Another franchise gets the Lego treatment, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and of course Star Wars have all had games that replaced their characters with Lego people, plus recreated key scenes using Lego so now another franchise gets the Lego treatment. Released in 2015 for multiple consoles Lego Jurassic World coincided with Jurassic World hitting the big screen and features some of the cast from that film recording new lines for the game.

 

Lego Jurassic World Boxart

 

Let me open with a question, how can you have people getting eaten in a Lego Game?? The Jurassic Park films were all rated as PG and whilst some characters did meet their hands thanks to the dinosaurs there was very little violence, plus not a lot of blood. Still, should a game that is going to be played by young children really have characters getting eaten alive or screaming in pain or terror as a dinosaur attacks??

 

If you are not familiar with the Jurassic Park films then fortunately for you I have already done a review of each one, and are in the TAC Reviews…Films section under the title “An Adventure 65 Million Years in the Making” – The Jurassic Park Films, so if you don’t know what is going on, go read those now…it’s ok I’ll wait…

 

Up to speed??

 

Marvellous, so basically the key scenes of the films like the raptor transport from the opening of the first film to the kick ass ending of Jurassic World (which I’m not going to say so I don’t spoil it if you have seen it) are reproduced here.

 

There are five missions in each section and the enemies you encounter vary from humans to the T-Rex to velociraptors.

 

This is a game that you will lose yourself for HOURS in, I am not kidding, I played it till 5am on one occasion after swearing to myself that I would stop at 9, simply because I just kept thinking “I’ll just do this…then I’ll switch it off”. Over and over until it was the small hours of the morning, honestly I only stopped because I had to, not because I was bored of the game.

 

None of the characters die here, the T-Rex splits out everyone it eats, the raptors just toy with their prey and leave them alone. Robert Muldoon, Dennis Nedry and Donald Gennaro all pop up in Jurassic World having been on the island for years following the cast mistakenly leaving them behind at the end of Jurassic Park  so this game is far more child friendly than the films it is based on.

 

The thing with Lego games is that the levels are designed to be played over and over again using different characters that you unlock. Once you complete a level on Story Mode you can play it in Free Play. The levels are constructed in such a way that they can only be fully explored by characters that you unlock later on, encouraging you to return to it, and if you are a 100% completion nutter (like me) then you are going to spend hours playing and replaying the levels to find everything contained within.

 

Fortunately Lego games have unlockables built in which help you to get the most out of them, in the hub areas of each island you can do challenges and solve puzzles which will unlock Red Bricks. Once a Red Brock is unlocked it can be purchased with a certain number of studs. Studs are collected everywhere, they are rewards for completing levels, they come out of objects when you smash them open, and are given when you construct objects to help you progress through the levels. Once you start unlocking the Score Multipliers the game really opens up…you’d think that if you have a 2x multiplier and then you purchased a 4x multiplier then the 4 would replace the 2, but not so. The multipliers work together so if you unlock and purchase all of them then each stud you collect will be multiplied by something like 3000, so you will eventually be earning millions of studs per mission so after the initial slow start in which you can’t buy anything you will ultimately be able to buy all the characters, and vehicles in the game.

 

The Mini-kit locator is also incredibly useful when replaying in order to find all of the parts you missed during the main story mode.

 

There are tonnes of collectables so you will be going back to levels to do them over, however, the game is not without its frustrations. Like I said it is designed to be replayed, so there is little to no point in going over earlier levels until you have completed the whole game because you won’t have unlocked the necessary characters to complete everything in the level. So you rush through the story mode just because you want to come back and play again once you know you can search every nook and cranny of the level.

 

Plus the Mini-kits can be pretty annoying. In each level there are 10 kits and as you find them at the end of the level they will construct the skeleton of a dinosaur. Some of which are added to the pool of characters you can use in Free Mode whilst others you simply view in the Jurassic World Visitors Centre where a voice over will tell you about them. The majority of these kits can be found during exploration, unfortunately there are several which you can only get during chase sequences. These are effectively on-rails sections in which you can run or drive to the left and right, or move up and down, but during these parts the kits often race by so quickly that you are very unlikely to grab them on your first try. Plus because the camera is fixed the depth perception can be a problem. I had to replay a chase sequence over and over and over because my character kept running past the last kit, I tried going high, he ran past, I tried low, he ran past, I tried in the middle and he ran past. You can just load up the section you are struggling with rather than having to do the whole level, but the loading times are not exactly fast so when you watch a kit go sailing past yet again you are waiting at least 30 seconds before you can try again. The camera angles sometimes deliberately obstruct things so you may not even be aware an area is there because the camera was cutting it off from your view, this was obviously intentional, but it can be annoying.

 

The only Lego game I had played prior to this one for any length of time was Star Wars (although I played Indiana Jones briefly) and in both of those games the characters did not speak. Instead they communicated through facial expressions and body language. In this game the characters talk, but what is painfully obvious is that the dialogue for the first three sections are taken directly from the first three films. Sometimes it works but sometimes it sounds very odd. However some of the cast from Jurassic World recorded additional dialogue for the game because some of the things they say were obviously intended for this game and were not used in the film. So why did Chris Pratt reprise his role and record additional lines when people like Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill didn’t?? In addition why were some characters dialogues taken from the films and yet for other characters new voice actors were brought in to record their lines?? It was a bit distracting, especially considering the characters didn’t need to talk, they didn’t in Star Wars and it worked fine.

 

Realistically my complaints of this game are pretty minor, my play through clocked in at over 24 hours, so I wouldn’t have stuck with it unless I wanted to get all of the unlockables, get the trophies and 100% completion. As I write this review I have done all of those things so the game will probably now just sit on my shelf never to be played again because once you have done 100% what is there to draw you back??

 

Lego Jurassic World is a really fun game, there is tonnes for you to do from the missions to exploring the hub worlds to even designing your own characters and dinosaurs…but be warned it just might consume your life until you reach 100% completion. The game gets a Thumbs Up because it served to remind me why I like the Jurassic Park films (well maybe not Jurassic Park III but at least here the T-Rex survives the fight with the Spinosaurus so that is a plus). The game has a lot of charm, a good sense of humour, and it well worth checking out especially if you like the Jurassic Park films. 

 

 

8/10 – This is a great game and considering I was able to get it for only £14.99 it certainly was good value for money. This is a game to put on when you want to sit back, and relax. My advice is this put it on when you’ve had a rough day because it is a great de-stressing aid (plus you could always imagine your boss getting eaten by a T-Rex)

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Marvel Super Heroes

 

Released back in 2013 Lego Marvel Super Heroes features basically every character you can possibly think of from the Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Panther and dozens of others are in the roster. The game doesn’t follow an established story line like the other Lego games I have played so going into this game I had no idea what the story was going to be about.

 

Lego Marvel Super Heroes Cover

 

I have played both Lego Star Wars and Lego Jurassic World, and those games had to follow the established canon of the films, with you controlling Lego versions of characters in recreated scenes from the films. Marvel Super Heroes is different and is an original story (as far as I know, I mean I don’t read the comics so it might be in there or it might be completely new) anyway, I’ll tell you what is going on and you can tell me if it is familiar to one in the comics…

 

The Silver Surfer is knocked out of the sky by Doctor Doom, his board is shattered into several cosmic bricks that Doom wants to use to create the “Doom Ray of Doom” which would be used to repel planet eater Galactus and used by Doom and various other villains to rule the world. Nick Fury sends out a call to all heroes that the bricks must be recovered before Doom can use them for his weapon.

 

Unfortunately Doctor Doom is working with Thor’s brother Loki and they have recruited all the villains in the Marvel Universe, including Venom, Magneto, and Green Goblin to keep the heroes from finding the bricks before Doom can create his weapon.

 

Behind the plan is a deadlier threat that could destroy the entire world and everyone on it…

 

Is the plot familiar??

 

Well, like I said, it wasn’t to me, but maybe it is to any comic book readers but I’m not one of those.

 

The good in the game is that you get to visit so many locations within the Marvel universe from Latvaria, to Magneto’s Space Station (I didn’t even know he had one of those but apparently he does) and even Asgard. Plus it is really interesting to see how different Marvel characters could affect their surroundings, in the kingdom of the Frost Giants Ice-Man would rule because he can create and manipulate the ice around him, but the Human Torch is an apocalyptic force as he could melt everything around him without even trying. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is incredibly impressive but the Fantastic Four are not going to be a part of it, and it was only recently that Spider-Man has been added. But in this game you see the Baxter Building (where the Fantastic Four live) sharing the skyline with Stark Tower. The characters in the story campaign know each other and each have similar powers and abilities to their film and comic counterparts.

 

There have been so many variations of the character’s looks during their time so those alternate costumes can be unlocked in various side missions. Tony Stark has numerous Iron-Man suits which have different abilities so changing the costume mid-level might be what is needed to progress.

 

As I have played this kind of game before I was the one that was guiding Abbie through her first experience of a Lego game. Essentially the best way to do them is to race through the levels as fast as possible because all of the extras are found during Free Play mode when you can play the level as different characters. In the main story you might be playing as Hulk and see a switch that can only be opened with Captain America’s Shield so later on you can return and change to him in order to open an area you couldn’t access before. Similarly with the other Lego games, there are Mini-Kits that are found throughout the levels, 10 per level, although we actually found 11 in one level. Seriously our stats at the end of the level say Mini-Kits 11/10 so how that happened who the hell knows. So whilst we did watch the story I said to Abbie that there was absolutely no point repeating a level until we have unlocked all of the characters. There are something like 2 puzzles that only Sandman can complete so you will need to have unlocked him to do them, and whilst some characters have generic abilities, like Black Widow and the Invisible Woman can both turn invisible to avoid security cameras, only Sandman can do a couple of the puzzles.

 

Similarly in the other Lego games there are Red Blocks that will grant you bonuses within the game, but unlike Star Wars and Jurassic World the x2 studs are already unlocked at the beginning of the game. So do what we did, play through the game, by the time you get to the end you should have managed to get enough studs to buy the x2 unlock and keep it activated. I remember the process of getting enough studs to buy all the unlocked Red Block bonuses was an issue last time, this time we were never short of studs, although this could have been because Abbie and I were playing together so had double the amount of studs at the end of each level than there would have been if I was playing alone.

 

The sandbox area is the Marvel interpretation of New York so the Baxter Building, Stark Tower, the Raft Island Penitentiary are all present, and even has the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier hovering in the sky above the city. If you are playing as a flying character you can jump off the Helicarrier and fly down to the city, non-flying characters can parachute off, otherwise they will be caught by a little robot that will take them back to the Helicarrier. Also you can fly back up to it at any point too. Although if there are two of you and one of you goes into a building or into the Helicarrier you will both be transported inside. Naturally as this is a Lego game as you progress you unlock Yellow Blocks and these can be used to create new entrances which unlock additional levels. These levels, such as one set inside the Daily Bugle, will grant additional challenges that will unlock more characters but more importantly they are the levels in which you can find Deadpool Red Bricks. In order to buy these you go to Deadpool’s room on the Helicarrier and purchase them, then go to the Extras bit in the pause menu to switch on what you have bought.

 

The score multipliers are still here so by the time Abbie and I had gone through the Story, Free Play, done everything in the sandbox city, including the extra levels we had something like 17 Billion studs so naturally every character was purchased and available to choose to play as.

 

Personally of these unlocked characters I favoured Galactus (even though he isn't giant) because Abbie developed a rather irritating habit of killing me with various characters but Galactus had a cosmic beam or something that could obliterate the character Abbie was playing as in seconds, however, this didn’t deter her from killing me any chance she got. If you are playing together with someone else and they enter buildings even if you were halfway through doing something you both spawn inside which was a tad annoying when I was trying to complete objectives in the hub city which is why she'd do it...so there might be some glitches in her programming that I’ll have to sort out.

                                                                                                      

Now as this is a Marvel feature, Stan Lee is naturally in it and in each and every level you have to rescue him, and I mean every level. Fortunately it isn’t usually that difficult to find him, most of the time he will call out for help in the main levels and the extra levels are generally small enough to easily search until you find him. What got a bit tedious was the fact that there are 15 story missions with 11 hub missions, now you’ll need to complete these missions in both Story and Free Mode, that in itself is fine because you are getting plenty of playtime out of the levels as you scour them for all the collectables. No, the tedium came from the fact that you need to rescue Stan Lee 50 times, so for those of you who can count, he is in 26 levels but he is also going to be in the hub city 24 times. Abbie and I took it in turns to rescue him because it got so dull, and we were beginning to wonder how one man could possibly get in so much trouble that he basically needed a superhero babysitter the whole time, seriously if the guy keeps getting into diffculty, then maybe he shouldn’t be allowed out in the first place. We’d rescue him in one location and he’d immediately appear in another. I went through a patch of rescuing him before getting bored and Abbie took over until eventually he was saved. The reward for saving him all 50 times is him as an unlockable character, and he can transform into the Stan-Hulk (which did remind me of a Simpsons episode in which he claimed he had once changed into the Hulk).

 

The Stan Lee in Peril was not the only tedious thing that happened in the game, the races in the hub New York were soooooo annoying, personally though I didn’t think the ground races weren’t too bad. Abbie was getting frustrated when Ghost Rider kept beating her in a race, and I managed to do it in a school bus, so for the most part the ground races are not too tricky. However, there is one on the Helicarrier that almost resulted in me throwing my controller across the room because the race is a mission, which means you need to talk to someone to start the race, if you lose you can’t just try again, you have to go and speak to them again and again if you fail so that is a massive pain in the arse. Plus whilst the AI of the majority of the other characters is bordering on that of a retarded amoeba, for some reason in that race, if you make a single error or not take a corner perfectly you lose.

 

However, by far the biggest pain in the arse are the flying races. Now naturally you pick a character that can fly, the problem is that the flying mechanics are way too sensitive. As a flying character tap X twice and they will hover, keep holding X to make them go up and O to go down or double tap O to make them fall to the floor, pushing the right stick forward will cause them to fly forward, if you press X they will start to climb and O will make them descend. Now this sounds relatively simple, but if you are flying forward and you want to drop down to go through a race-circle and accidently tap O instead of touching it once they will stop in mid-air and drop to the floor. Alternatively if you tap X they will suddenly double their speed so you will go racing past the circle you were trying to fly through. To make things worse the camera hates you in this mode, it will dart around you, sometimes ending up in front of you so it is incredibly difficult to see where the hell you are supposed to go. The game does bring up an arrow to point you to the next circle but unfortunately there is no way to turn off your way-marker. So if you selected a race, flew to it, then started you end up with two arrows on your screen, one pointing to the next circle and the other pointing back to the start, so if you get turned around because of the dodgy camera angle you can find yourself racing back to the beginning without even realising it. Plus like the Stan Lee in Peril there are just a few too many races which result in them becoming more of a chore to do than something fun.

 

Now that I’m on the complaints train, within the hub you have to find Gold Bricks which unlock other locations, the thing is that it is not always clear what you are supposed to do to get them, both Abbie and I ran around for ages trying to find a particular brick because the studs seemed to just lead us around in a circle. You’d play as Wolverine or whoever and when you found one clue, studs would lead you to the next one, and the next, but then you just seemed to be taken back to where you started. Eventually we figured it out but I did get the impression that the developers were starting to phone in the locations of the bricks after having to place loads of them around New York.

 

Despite some of the tedious missions and repetition by far the biggest problem with this game was the frequency it would crash. I have never played a game on the PS4 that seemed this unstable, I don’t honestly know if the crashes were a result of having so many of the unlockables, well, unlocked and active but if that was the case then why have so many in the game?? Thankfully the game autosaves so frequently that you aren’t going to lose hours of work due to a crash but it still a massive pain. If it happens when you are arsing about in the hub world it isn’t that bad but we had to play the Doctor Strange Level on Free Mode at least five times because it kept crashing before we got to the end. It wasn’t enough to make either of us want to Rage-Quit but it was really, really irritating, and considering the game has been out since 2013 you’d think it would have been patched to address this issue by now.

 

I think the biggest point in this game’s favour is the time that you can spend with it, when I did Jurassic World it took me around 30 hours to complete it 100%. This time around it took Abbie and I 31 and a half hours to get 100% completion. So there is plenty to do and whilst some of that stuff is a bit of grind the majority of it was spent tearing through various levels in Free Play mode and it was not that difficult to get all of the trophies. If that is not something that concerns you then okay, but I like trophies, and this is the second time that I have gotten 100% of the trophies for a Lego game.

 

When all is said and done the Lego games are all basically the same, do the missions in Story as fast as possible, unlock Free Mode and repeat them. The Red Brick unlocks help you find the Mini-kits and various other things that are scattered through the levels (although strangely not one which points out where Stan Lee is). The game was fun and whilst Abbie did get a bit frustrated with some of the races she seemed to be laughing most of the time, especially when we gave everyone in the game a festive hat, but like Jurassic World now that we have the trophies and the game is at 100% I can’t see myself playing it again anytime soon. I can’t deny that the majority of the game was good fun, and it was interesting to imagine how some of the Marvel characters would behave in a different locations within their Universe. I am giving the game a Thumbs Up that is a little bit shaky, there is a lot of grind if you want to unlock everything, but if you don’t then you can just do the fun bits and leave it at that.

 

 

6/10 – The strong point of the game is the sheer amount of characters you get to play as, and the story isn’t bad either. However, the frequent crashes were really annoying. Plus if you want to get all the trophies or achieve 100% completion then you are going to have to put up with a lot of grind too.

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Worlds

 

Released in early March 2017 Lego Worlds is effectively what happens when another company has a crack at its own version of Minecraft. Like that game, Lego Worlds lacks a plot, characters, and essentially just dumps players into numerous Lego Lands (or “worlds”) and it is up to you to decide how you want to spend your time.

 

Lego Worlds Boxart

 

This was a game that Abbie was quite keen on playing, we’d both played Minecraft and enjoyed it, even though we have both currently lost interest in it. Lego Worlds seemed to basically be the same thing and considering that Minecraft is basically just putting low textured blocks on top of each other to build stuff Lego Worlds would presumably be much the same.

 

Similarly to Minecraft there isn’t a story as such so allow me to go through how Abbie and I spent the first few hours in Lego Worlds

 

So our spaceship crash-landed on a new planet and in order to get it working again we needed to find three Gold Bricks, presumably we were going to stick them into the engine or something, so with a relatively small map we began exploring. The voice-over guy explained that one of the tool we had in our arsenal was a Discover gun and basically all we needed to do was point at something, hit X to “discover” it and then it would be added to our inventory so we could recreate that object. So we ran around the map discovering various planets and animals, until we came across a pirate that could not be discovered until we had fulfilled his quest. He wanted a pirate throne. So Abbie and I searched and eventually discovered a pirate throne so we returned to him and recreated the throne he wanted. Quest completed he gave us a Gold Brick, and we scanned him. Around the map was a pirate lady that wanted help opening a chest, which we did, and there was someone else that wanted something or other, we completed all the quests and were able to repair our ship.

 

The game gave us the option of a few randomly created small worlds and we blasted off to one of those. Once we landed we discovered that we needed more Gold Bricks to unlock bigger worlds so we set off scanning everything we could find and completing various quests before jetting off to another world to explore…

 

…several hours later we had found enough Gold Bricks to unlock the medium sized worlds, and discovered the biggest problem with the game was that we had absolutely no idea what exactly we were supposed to be doing

 

Let me break it down a little, in Minecraft there are monsters that appear after dark and kill you if you are foolish enough to be wandering around. If you die you return to the respawn location and have five minutes to return to the location of your death before all of the stuff that was in your inventory is lost. So building a shelter or cave or something to keep you safe from the monsters when the sun goes down is a necessity. In my review of Minecraft I said that I dug a hole in the ground to escape the monsters and that hole eventually became the cellar of a large home complete with indoor farm, bedrooms, chests and was eventually linked to a mountain top fortress and treetop house by a massive bridge that was constructed high above the heads of any monsters wandering below. In Lego Worlds we unlocked a castle at one point which meant we could literally just create a castle on any flat piece of ground, a fucking castle, it took Abbie and I hours and hours to create the mud hut that we eventually called home in Minecraft, and yet within five hours of starting Lego Worlds we could just drop a castle where ever we felt like, whenever we felt like.

 

Plus there is no penulty if you die, so beiung killed is more of a momentary irritation than anything else. You aren’t running terrified from a suicide shrub or witch because you don’t want to lose your inventory, you just die, and reappear where you were. No mess, no fuss, and no hit to your coins or inventory.

 

In the various worlds you often encoucher random NPCs (that’s None Player Characters) that want you to do things for them, one of these tasks is building them something. Again Minecraft’s system is to dump cubes on the ground to build stuff, in Lego Worlds you have an array of different bricks you can put down, but the control interface is very, very unfriendly so it is difficult to know what you are putting down and where you are putting it. Even building a simple structure seems to take forever. Yet bizarrely sometimes putting down a couple of bricks counts as a building and other times constructing a box around figures complete with a roof is not enough for them.

 

That I think is one of the biggest issues with the game, some things are ridiculously easy to do (like unlocking a building and just dumping it somewhere on the map) and others are stupidly difficult and/or time consuming.

 

Lego Worlds also gives you various tools to use, like the Discover gun mentioned above, but also you have the paint gun, the copy gun and the landscape gun and the build gun. Each one has its own function but each one is a pain in the arse to actually use in game. Terraforming a planet sounds fun and really cool but in practice it is very clunky and very difficult to see what you are doing…which leads me to the biggest problem…the camera

 

The camera can be set at 1st person or zoomed out quite far, but the amount of times that it got caught in a door or a room, and your playable character is trapped somewhere whilst the camera is stuck outside the building. 1st person works in Minecraft but here you just end up with a bunch of coloured blocks in your face that, unlike another game I could mention, you can’t just punch out of your way.

 

The draw distance is also a problem, the game is glitchy and there were a bunch of occasions I was standing frozen in place waiting for the map to load in. My mini-map would show a vast landscape stretching out before me but when I tried to go there I had to wait for the processor to catch up and render the rest of the map. This might have been because Abbie and I were playing split-screen but come on this is 2017 and we were playing a Lego game, I’m pretty sure the PS4 can handle rendering Lego landscapes which leads me to think this is an issue with the game itself. The game has been updated since release a couple of weeks ago, perhaps to address some of the issues, but the game is still very buggy with dialogues and characters being reused over and over.

 

In the time that Abbie and I spent with the game we struggled to find any actual gameplay, running around getting Gold Bricks and collecting the usual Lego studs to unlock stuff that you discover was the only thing our characters seemed able to do. But there is really nothing much to do. In Minecraft you establish a home and go off exploring before you realise that death awaits you in the world so you stay at your fortress of solitude and add another floor, in Lego Worlds you are encouraged to go to other worlds so why the hell would you stay in one place when you can jet off somewhere else whenever you want??

 

Yes I’ll admit that it is nice to have a friendly voice-over that explains what do when you first start which wouldn’t have gone amiss in another similar game but on the whole the game is just too complicated. It is tedious to play and when you complete a quest for an NPC you can bet your life that you’ll turn around and there will be half a dozen other characters who want you to do something similar for them. You can unlock animals but you have to complete quests for them which usually involve giving them food but again there is no point in doing it. Why unlock a crocodile and stick it in your castle when you are going to be heading off somewhere else in a while anyway??

 

Minecraft made you work for everything you had, nothing was just given to you, and unfortunately Lego Worlds seems to think that running around variations on desert world, lava world, the Wild West and Candy land pointing your discover gun at every piece of grass constitutes a game but it doesn’t. Working towards a goal had a purpose, being able to wave your hand and create a castle is as meaningless as it is dull.

 

Within a couple of sessions of Lego World (about five-six hours in total) we were both bored silly. There is nothing to do, there is no one interesting to interact with, and this is just a blatant attempt by Lego to cash-in on the success of Minecraft. With no monsters in the game, there is no threat, if there is no threat, then there is no point…there is nothing to keep us going back because we can just blast off if we choose.

 

Random generated planets to not make a game Lego. There is no Harry Potter world, or Jurassic World world, or Batman, or Avengers those would have been cool and perhaps if you grind through the game for hours and hours they pop up but as I write this Abbie and I are bored of Lego Worlds and see no reason to return to it.

 

If a game is boring after six hours with it, then it has failed, and Lego Worlds has failed to do anything other than bore me and Abbie half to death. Unsurprisingly it is getting a solid Thumbs Down, it is not worth playing, and is nothing more than a tedious, repetitive experience.

 

 

2/10 – For the first couple of hours the game was fun but it became boring and repetitive very quickly. There is no real gameplay and claiming to have infinite worlds to explore sounds like it should be interesting but when there is nothing to do you are just running around waiting for something to happen…but it never will.

 

TAC Reviews...Lego Marvel Super Heores 2

 

Released in 2016, Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 was a game that Abbie was very keen to play, so much so that she ran out to buy it the day it came out so we could play it as soon as possible. We have played through numerous Lego games together now and generally we like being able to sit down and play a light hearted game side by side. This game boasts an original story and once again unites the likes of Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor and so on, but also introduces new characters that weren’t in the previous game plus alternate versions of some of your favourite Marvel characters.

 

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 Boxart

 

Abbie’s first experience of a Lego game was Marvel Super Heroes and she enjoyed being a pain by zapping me with whatever beam weapon the character she was playing as had, which she found hilarious and I found annoying. As I’d played a number of Lego games before like Star Wars and Jurassic World I was able to guide her through her first Lego experience. She then purchased Lego Harry Potter and we played through all of that. When we realised another Marvel Super Heroes game was on the way she insisted that we get it immediately.

 

So after playing three Lego games to death (Harry Potter was originally released in 2 parts but we got it as one complete game) would we still be enjoying playing yet another Lego game??

 

Starting off after the events of the first game, Kang the Conqueror, a being that can manipulate time, and reality steals numerous cities from various time zones and realities. He brings them all to one location and creates a new city called Chronopolis which has Asgard, the Wild West, New York, a city from the Hydra Empire and several others. The Avengers, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy and pretty much every Marvel character you can think of (and a few you couldn’t) must join together to defeat Kang to restore the cities back to their former locations.

 

As far as plot goes that is about it really.

 

You know when I sat down to write this review there was plenty that I wanted to say about the game, unfortunately the more I have thought about it the more I have thought, it’s just another Lego game. If you’ve played one of those then you know what to expect: play the levels through on Story Mode, get to the end of the game, then go back and repeat them in Free Play to unlock all the Gold Bricks, Stan Lee in Perils, Characters and of course Mini-Kits. If you don’t know what to expect from one of these games then just read my other reviews of the ones I have played and you’ll get the gist.

 

Really the only thing that I can do is compare this game to its predecessor to decide which one is better and honestly I preferred the first one. In my opinion the story was better and whilst we were in one Hub World (New York) it was easier to get around and find the collectables. In Chronopolis Kang constantly does announcements that are meant to be funny but are in fact irritating, and repetitive. Citizens are always calling for assistance. Enemies are always respawning so you have to fight them over and over again. Plus Wasp will be in your ear (not literally but on your radio) alerting you to people who need help or crimes that are taking place nearby. So you don’t really get any peace from the din of background crap going on that you have no real interest in.

 

Gold Bricks are real basis for any Lego game, and in the last Marvel Super Heroes they served a purpose; they were used to unlock new areas like the Daily Bugle or Dr Strange’s mansion and it was in these locations that you found the Deadpool Red Brick side missions. So getting more Gold Bricks in the levels or Hub World allowed you to unlock more areas of the game, this time all they do is unlock statues…

 

 

Yes, they unlock statues related to the area you are in. These statues serve no purpose other than to give you something to do with the Gold Bricks that you are rewarded with when you complete just about anything in the game.

 

As with all Lego games there are special bricks (which are Pink instead of Red in this case), which unlock score multipliers, mini-kit locators and so on. The Score Multipliers are all unlocked right from the off so do what we did, focus on getting the x2, then x4 etcetera and you’ll never be hurting for studs. You unlock the others by doing the Gwenpool missions, but unlike the first game in which you use Gold Bricks to unlock new areas, here you have to do various missions set by characters in Chronopolis. The problem is that you have no idea who you need to talk to in order to unlock a Gwenpool mission. There are generally two characters, when finishing a mission for one, they will mention the other so you go off to find them, complete their task then hopefully a mission will be unlocked. The trouble is that the missions are not exactly varied and I have spent hours going to every sodding person with a mission indicator above their head doing what they want, and the majority of these DON’T result in a Gwenpool mission. Now obviously Gwenpool is some alternate version of Deadpool, but unlike him, I find her really, really irritating. Her introductions to her missions never fail to grate on my nerves and she never just shuts up. Plus, like the main game you have to play through her levels once in Story Mode and then again in Free Play to unlock everything they contain.

 

Like I said above the missions set by different characters are not exactly varied and basically have three options. 1) Running around beating up people. 2) Take photos of objects or people. 3) Find items or talk to different people scattered around the map before returning to the person who set the mission…that’s it. So it doesn’t take long for the missions to become a repetitive grind that you are forcing yourself to do in the hopes of ultimately getting a Pink Brick that will give you something useful like a Character Token or Mini-Kit Detector. However, loads of these unlocks are pretty pointless like Helium Mode, which gives everyone a squeaky voice and is funny for about 2 minutes before it becomes annoying and you turn it off again.

 

Stan Lee in Peril is also present once again, and just like before rescuing him time and time again gets pretty dull. He calls out for help whenever you are nearby so you are constantly going to be hearing his cries for help during levels and in Chronopolis. It is yet another thing that is more annoying than anything else and should have been scaled back from the last game, as it was a pain in the arse doing it then too.

 

Plus I don’t know if the game is buggy or not, now I have to say the game is much more stable than its predecessor which crashed a ridiculous number of times and left Abbie and I unable to complete the Dr Strange Side Mission for ages because each time we tried it the game crashed. Crashes aren’t really a problem this time but numerous missions and puzzles in the Hub World will reset themselves for no reason, sometimes even if you are mid-way through them. I spent ages trying to rescue Stan Lee from an Ice Cave because it kept resetting, I hadn’t left the cave or done anything else, I was poised to rescue him one minute and the puzzle had reset itself the next. I have no idea why the game was doing this but it has caused both Abbie and I to abandon puzzles because it is just so annoying.

 

In a first for me I am not looking to get 100% for all of the trophies for a Lego game, simply because the game has some DLC content which we have no intention of getting. I am not going to dwell on this too much because it will be (or is depending on when you are reading this) the subject of a What’s on my Mind… article. However, Abbie and I are bored of the game, I play it to unlock stuff and we have no desire to get the DLC as a result we can’t get the trophies for the DLC and therefore our overall progress will not be 100%. Getting trophies was one of the reasons we played the previous Lego games to death but here because we can’t get 100% I don’t see the point in doing all of the tedious stuff to unlock them.

 

In all honestly I am content to play the game, find all the Gwenpool missions, unlock all the Pink Bricks and play through each level until everything has been unlocked and then leave it at that. However, Abbie has grown bored of the game and no longer wants to play it. But in a Catch 22 situation she won’t let me play it without her. So I can’t play the game and finish as much as I want to without her playing it with me, and as she doesn’t want to play it anymore the game is basically now in limbo.

 

I can’t really say that Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a bad game because it isn’t, unfortunately it is yet another Lego game and basically if you’ve played one you’ve played them all. Yes we’ve had some fun playing it but the fact is that Abbie refuses to play it with me because she is tired of it and I am not allowed to play it alone. So the game will be left to sit on the shelf gathering dust. My issues with the game may simply be because Abbie and I have spent hours playing other Lego games so we quickly got bored of this as it is more of the same. I am going to give the game my ‘Meh’ rating and leave my Thumb Horizontal, because if you like Lego games and Marvel then you’ll probably like this one. For Abbie and I though we are bored of Lego games so the charms of this one started to wear very thin very quickly.

 

 

5/10 – My rating is based on my own experience; I am all Lego-ed out at the moment due to playing so many others. If you haven’t overloaded yourself on Lego games you’ll probably enjoy this one but ultimately if you’ve played one Lego game then this is just more of the same.

 

TAC Reviews...Lego DC Super-Villains

 

Released in 2018 this game seems to be DC's attempt to also get a piece of the Marvel shared universe pie that has seen numerous games featuring the likes of Spider-Man, Iron-Man, Thor and so on. To the best of my recollection this is the first DC themed Lego game that I have played and features voices actors like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returning to reprise the voices of Batman and the Joker respectively. They are also joined by the likes of Clancy Brown who has also voiced Lex Luther in many animated films and series.

 

Lego DC Super-Villains Cover

 

Okay before I go any further I am going to play the role of legendary superhero Captain Obvious and tell you something...are you ready?? 

 

Lego DC Super-Villains is...another Lego game.

 

Now whilst you are reeling from that revelation let me tell you why I have said it, basically if you have played a Lego game then you know exactly what is involved with this one. You control a Lego version of Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow or whoever and work your way through a series of levels by building useful items to help you progress. Of the characters that you play each will have different abilities and you'll need to switch between them in order to move through the levels. If you'd like to know more about what is involved in a Lego game then feel free to read through one of the numerous Lego-game reviews that I have already done and posted. 

 

As that point is out of the way let's move on to look at this particular game. As usual there is a story so allow me to enlighten you regarding what is going on...

 

So two of biggest the criminals of Gotham and Metropolis (Lex Luthor and Joker) are incarcerated in prison, but naturally they are able to breakout in short order along with an unknown prisoner (this prisoner is a character that you design and play a lot of the game as). During the escape Luthor and Joker discover that the new guy (the "Rookie" as they tend to call him or her) has the ability to absorb energy which grants them new super powers. Once they escape from prison it is not long before the Justice League show up, however, a new group of heroes the Justice Syndicate arrive from a parallel Earth saying they are there to help. The Justice League are zapped away by the Syndicate with only Harley Quinn witnessing them being banished.

 

The planet seems to be welcoming of the new heroes but the villains of the world recognise their own and quickly realise that the Justice Syndicate are just as bad of not worse than the Justice League. At least the Justice League played by the rules, whereas the Syndicate don't. It therefore becomes up to the villains of Earth and beyond to team up to take down the syndicate whilst the new Rookie villain continues to absorb more powers...

 

Let me be brutally honest, there is not going to be much that I can say about this game that won't just wind up with me repeating what I said about all the other games that I have reviewed. If you want to know how a Lego game functions then go and read my review of Lego Star Wars or Lego Harry Potter or Lego Marvel Superheroes or Lego Worlds or...well you get the picture...so in terms of game play and mechanics there is nothing new on offer here. Play the game in story mode and then play through again in replay mode (or whatever it is called) in order to unlock new areas within levels to find all the collectables. 

 

So what is different??

 

As far as I know (with the possible acceptation of Lego Worlds) here you are actually playing a totally original character. In every other Lego game you play as characters already established in comic books or films, but here you get to design a new super-villain and are able to customise them as much as you want. You can give them a cape, a hood, sunglasses, a lizard tail, there are so many different options and as new abilities are unlocked throughout the game you are encouraged to go back and add new customisation options to your avatar. When the gain the ability to shoot lasers do you have that laser coming out of their eyes, one of their hands, or from their chest?? Again the choice is yours. Do you want the laser to look like lightening, or be a straight beam, to be blue, or purple?? It is up to you. It means that your own character is something that you design to be used in game and not a generic character that you cobble together for basically no other purpose than some NPC wants to see a person in a Lizard mask (that was actually something that happened in one of the Lego Marvel games). Now one rather major drawback of placing your character centre stage is that whilst everyone else has a voice and a personality, your character does not. They never speak and apart from the occasional facial expression never really react to what is happening around them. It seems as tad odd that care has been taken to put you, the player, in the centre but not give your character any kind of personality what-so-ever. Also they are only ever referred to as [the] Rookie so whilst you can name them whatever you like, that name will not be uttered by anyone. I can understand why but perhaps if you could choose a name from a selection it would at least make you feel like others are talking to rather than at your character. 

 

The hub world is also very cluttered and hard to navigate. In previous games you could wander around the islands (if you were playing Lego Jurassic World) or explore New York (if playing Lego Marvel Superheroes), but here Gotham and Metropolis seems to have been awkwardly stitched together which doesn't really work. Both are cramped cities in which buildings look much the same as another and unlike in other games you are given no instructions about where to go to get Red Bricks or replay levels. Marvel Superheroes 2 had a large mis-match hub world of pieces of Asgard, New York, Wakanda as well as under water areas but there was a slow transition from one to the other so you didn't feel as though you need to go soaring into the sky just to get away from the cluttered streets. Plus when Knowhere or the Shield Helicarrier was hovering overhead you could fly up to it without needing to trigger a loading screen. When Apocalypse is in orbit, you have to use a teleporter thing to go there and that transport beam is in no fucking hurry to get you from Earth to Apocalypse or vice-versa. It makes the world itself feel static and uninteresting. There are pretty much three areas in the hub, a bit of Gotham, a bit of Metropolis and then a long beam up to wander around on Apocalypse that's it. I don't want to do boring side quests in a grimy city when I should be able to go running across the snow and ice of the arctic to reach Superman's Fortress of Solitude, or dive into the depths of the ocean to explore Aqua-Man's Atlantis. DC have a rich tapestry of environments in their roster so I don't understand why the decision was made to make the hub world so plain and dull. If you're going to blend Gotham and Metropolis then give us the classic Gothic atmosphere of the Tim Burton Batman film mixed with the more traditional Metropolis seen in Superman the Movie don't just stick one to night time and raining with the other daytime and sunny (take a guess which is dark and raining and which isn't)

 

Also, unlike other games I could mention, in DC Villains I actually had to look up a walkthrough in order to discover where you go to buy the Red Bricks you've unlocked because the game doesn't tell you. In previous games there was a tutorial yet here there is nothing to show a newbie what they are doing. In addition neither Abbie or I have discovered where to go to replay the levels. In previous games you just click on the relevant piece of a map or go to a central computer or something to trigger them, but here I have no donkey bollocking idea where they are. So one of the best parts about a Lego game, repeating it with different characters, isn't something that we have been able to do thus far. Plus neither of us are terribly bothered about trawling through the cluttered and painfully uninteresting map to try and find out where we go to find out.

 

The voice cast is all top notch and it is always great to hear Mark Hamill's Joker or Kevin Conroy's Batman but the problem is that I am just bored of Lego games. They are basically all the same with a slightly new paint job, objectives are the same, you always need to play through levels at least a couple of times to unlock the secrets and random NPCs will give you quests along the way.

 

Abbie and I still haven't fully completed Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 yet and Abbie got this one because she thought it would be fun to play as a villain for a change. Sadly we have the usual bullshit that even the worst villains generally have some good in them and blah, blah, blah so we're not even playing a die-hard villain who would quite happily squash the Justice League, Syndicate and everyone else that stood in their way underfoot if it meant achieving absolute power.

 

So let me just say this: if you are familiar with Lego games but haven't played them to death like Abbie and I then you should enjoy this new game with the DC paint job. Sadly if you have played one Lego game too many, then this is one more to add to the pile, it gives you a central character that is of your own creation but a mute character running around is not interesting enough to draw anyone who is tired of Lego games back in. 

 

I am genuinely temped to give the game a Thumbs Down, but that doesn't seem fair considering there is not technically anything wrong with it apart from the fact that it is yet another Lego game. It is everything a Lego game should be: charming, cute, colourful and enough to keep the kids happy so for that I will give it a Thumbs Up. However I think I have reached my limit for finding Lego games fun, and whilst I will say that if you're a DC fan and haven't played a Lego game you'll probably enjoy this I was not especially bothered about seeing it through to the end.

 

 

7/10 - I am being generous there but I am also trying to see from the perspective of someone who hasn't become bored of Lego games. Play it if you like seeing Kevin Conroy's Batman and Mark Hamill's Joker bounce off one another and Clancy Brown's Lex Luthor. If you have played a few too many Lego games though, you are probably going to find this game as uninspired as I did.

 

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