Top positive review
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Another great addition to the LEGO series
on June 15, 2011
I've played all the recent LEGO games that fit in the same mold as this title (the three Star Wars, two Indys, HP, Batman, etc.) and I can say that this one doesn't disappoint. All the LEGO games have been fun, but if I had to single out one particular game that fell short I'd pick the second LEGO Indy game. Rest assured this game is much better than LEGO Indy 2.
This installment does what every other installment has done. Characters have specific abilities that allow them to solve various puzzles. There are 20 story missions, five for each movie. The same LEGO formula holds true in this installment. There are 85 gold bricks in all. For each story mission a gold brick is earned for completion in story mode and gathering enough studs to earn "True Pirate". There are 10 hidden ships in a bottle to find in each level that are used to build a LEGO mini-kit and there is a new addition - discovering a specific set of LEGO items that are hidden in a level usually with the aid of Jack Sparrow's compass.
This game falls into the same category as the recently released LEGO Star Wars 3. The LEGO series took a drastic leap forward with lighting and overall appearance in LEGO SW3, and that same graphical boost is present in this game. It's clear that LEGO has raised the bar graphically. I expect all future LEGO games will look this good. The only thing is to make sure that your system meets the minimum requirements. You must have a dedicated graphics card that has a minimum of Shader Model 2, graphics processors that are integrated into the motherboard will not suffice.
This game is in the same mold as other recent LEGO games. Areas in the hub world are locked off until you collect enough gold bricks. The various cheats (red hats as opposed to red bricks this time) are hidden throughout the hub world as opposed to being hidden in the individual levels. All movies may be accessed in the hub world at the beginning of the game. That's to say that one movie isn't locked away with a minimum gold brick requirement before you can access it.
One nice addition that I don't remember being in other LEGO games: Pressing and holding the character swap key/button in the hub world or while in free play will bring up the entire cast of characters. Simply select the character you want, and you're on your way. In the past if you ran across an obstacle in the hub world you would have go to a specific station to swap the character out or find them wandering around the hub world. Now you hot-swap to any unlocked character by holding a key/button. It really cuts down on what was once a tedious task of back and forth travel and searching for characters when trying to solve character specific obstacles in the hub world. You also gain access to every character while in free play.
I experienced a few bugs, very similar to the ones I saw in LEGO Star Wars 3. Every once in a while a LEGO piece that is required to progress the story will fall through the floor and never reappear in the game world. The result is you are stuck, not having the gear piece (or whatever) required to open the door to progress. A simple restart of the level is all that is required, but it is aggravating if you spent time on the level collecting studs to get True Pirate. Also, I've noticed that studs you collect are not added to your total if you exit a level before finishing it.
Several story missions have you rescue or recruit pirate friends. This creates scenarios where you have several tag-along companions. At times this can be aggravating, making traveling across narrow ledges difficult as five of your companions fumble all over the place. Hey guys, it's nice you are tagging along to help, but MOVE. :)
Another nice thing about this installment, no pseudo-RTS fillers like in LEGO Star Wars 3. Those battles were far too plentiful and got old very quickly. I'm glad to see that it wasn't the start of a new trend. Nothing but good old, fully fleshed out story missions here.
Now... please get the rights to LEGO Lord of the Rings!