About a month ago I was fortunate to attend a preview morning of the new TT Game’s/Warner Interactive game LEGO Dimensions. You can read my preview here; I thought it was going to be awesome.
A month later, Warner have sent me a retail copy to review on Xbox 360. We love TT Games LEGO products- the kids have completed a slew of them recently, from the excellent Marvel Superheroes, to all three Batman games and the Indiana Jones ones. They’re great for kids as the main story mode isn’t too difficult but there is plenty of replay value and unlockables. I’ve often come across the kids simply tootling around in Marvel Superheroes to earn some credits to unlock another character or two.
LEGO Dimensions take all these things that make the videogames great and adds a physical element like Skylanders or Disney Infinity did. It makes sense as LEGO is the biggest toy brand in the world, and their minifigures are instantly recognisable.
When I played the pre-release version on the PS4, I loved it to bits. I can easily see this being the biggest game of the year and a huge Christmas seller. The question I needed to answer though was whether the retail experience, coupled with an older and less powerful platform in the Xbox 360, compromised the user experience in any way.
There were a few bits in Marvel Superheroes where our Xbox 360 chugged- it’s very cinematic and got a little jerky on a couple of occasions- it was obvious the hardware was being pushed. Fortunately we’ve had no similar issues with LEGO Dimensions, which whilst looking lush, doesn’t seen to tax the platform quite as much.
What is obvious right from the start is the USB portal is a much more integral part of the game in LEGO Dimensions than it is in any other of the toy to life games out there. It’s used for colour matching patterns, to free characters from traps and can also hold a lot more in terms of characters than any of the other games out there. It is apparent that this is where a large part of the extra cost over something like a Disney Infinity 3.0 (£44) or a Skylanders Superchargers (£45) pack has been spent.
LEGO Dimensions even integrates the construction of the portal into the game, which is a nice touch. There are onscreen instructions showing you how to build the portal, which sets you up nicely for building the vehicles you get, either bundled (in the case of the Batmobile) or with the add on packs like Benny’s Spaceship or the Mystery Machine. All in all it makes it a much more joined up experience.
In terms of the gameplay, the mash up of different franchises is handled brilliantly. We loved seeing Batman go after the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz because he thought he was a baddy in the early cut scene, and this sort of irreverent humour carries on throughout the game. The humour comes from the usual droll LEGO attitude but also from the juxtaposition of the different franchises/universes. There are a couple of notable LEGO franchises missing; there’s no Star Wars or Marvel Superheroes. Both the brands are owned by Disney, so it’s understandable and didn’t reduce our fun one jot. Oddly there is no Harry Potter, which is a WB brand (in terms of the movies and games at least) but there are tons of announced additional sets- Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Chima, Ninjago, The Simpsons, Jurassic World, DC Superheroes, Lord of the Rings, LEGO Movie, and on and on. The extra toys are divided into character packs (£14.99) and team packs (£29.99), the difference being the number of characters/vehicles included. Some, like the Simpsons, also unlock extra levels in the game, and unsurprisingly they’re called level packs!
We’ve had it for five days now and have played it pretty incessantly. We’ve completed the Wizard of Oz, the Simpsons and the Ninjago levels and are part way through the Doctor Who level. We particularly love the way that the Doctor has been flirting with Wildstyle, much to Batman’s annoyance! We’re about a third of the way through the game, but we’ve always got the massive replay value to fall back on, and I’ve spotted the kids just free playing already. LEGO games are great for that any way and LEGO Dimensions is no different.
LEGO Dimensions is out now on almost every platform you can think of. Don’t let the price put you off, it’s a game that will swallow you up whole!