Thursday, July 23, 2015

An Inconclusive Ranking of Lego Video Games

A lot of my childhood was surrounded by these colorful bricks known as Legos. I spent hours with my brother and sister building mansions, baseball fields, spaceships, and more. Legos provided an endless supply of adventure and creativity. And then came the video games... Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Batman, to name a few of the first ones. Suddenly, Legos weren't just plastic toys, but they were 3D animation on a screen. I could control the characters, I could battle Legos like I never could before, and I could build at super-speed cool contraptions I only dreamed of owning (because let's be honest here, Legos are expensive!).
I remember receiving the first two Star Wars Lego video games for Christmas (back before they combined them into one complete saga game). My brother and I would stay up later to finish levels, search for mini-kits (and those terrible red bricks!!!), and unlock all of the favorite (and not-so-favorite) Star Wars characters. I obsessed over these games, even years later. I re-played on my own multiple times, I waited in anticipation for the next game (which was Indiana Jones at the height of my Indy-obsessed phase as well).

Almost ten years later, I'm still Lego video game crazy. I love playing them for hours in order to hit 100% and earn all the Play Station trophies. While I haven't had the opportunity to play or finish all of them, I've wrangled most of them over the years. For help on the ones I haven't played, I've consulted with a few friends (let's call them Batman and Superman). Now, I present my inconclusive* ranking of each licensed-properties Lego game from worst to best. (Thus, this list excludes Lego Rock Band and original Lego games like Lego Friends, Lego Ninjago, etc.)
*This post is purely my own opinions drawn from my experience playing each game and personal preference. You may not agree and that's okay. If you disagree, you can kindly respond in the comments as to why.

10. Lego Harry Potter Years 1-7
I didn't get far in the game covering years 5-7: one level and a trip around Hogwarts. The game was confusing to play, the magic abilities were hard to control, and the story line felt boring. However, both games include a lot of characters to unlock and many bonus levels or "hidden" specials to find. It also follows the movie plots pretty well. Someday, I may return to learn my spells and potions.

Pros: wizards?
Cons: the magic is hard to use, the game is confusing

9. Lego Pirates of the Caribbean
I've played only a few levels before deciding it 1. didn't hold interest 2. wasn't worth my time and 3. wasn't a game I'm dying to finish. Maybe someday I will finish it, but I just didn't care. It has a wide variety of character abilities, including the addition of a tracker (which paved the way for games like Lord of the Rings and Jurassic World). It follows the movies with memorable, re-created Lego scenes. Overall, if you like Pirates, you'd probably like this game.

Pros: first game with tracking ability, fun mini-games, pirate action, all four movies
Cons: complicated game play, mini-kits hard to find, glitches with the day/night settings

8. Lego Movie
Personally, I've never played this game or watched someone play it. I've seen the movie. That's all I got. But my trusty consultants informed me of their experiences. For the most part, it's a decent game. But compared to the long list of Lego video games: it's not memorable. This game introduced two different types of builders (regular and master), which gives more depth to the "building" and "bricks" side of Lego. Overall, it was something different but not something awesome.
Pros: everything was Lego so the graphics looked cool, creative mini-games, encompasses the movie
Cons: not memorable, no "big figures," lack of Star Wars characters (despite them appearing in the film), Lego builder screen (curse it, we hates it).

7. Lego Indiana Jones (1 and 2)
Being the third game released, Lego Indiana Jones is definitely an adventure. The first game goes through the three original films. This game introduced more in-game interactions with the surrounding. Characters can pick up objects like swords or bottles, they can drive vehicles, and in certain situations, they react to their surroundings (i.e. Indy gets scared stiff when he sees snakes). The second game incorporates all four movies, but with newly recreated levels of the first three movies, so it's not the same game. In addition, it's the first game to incorporate a split-screen for two player game play.
Pros: encompasses all the movies, good Lego humor, lots of fun whip action, Star Wars cameos just like the original films!
Cons: simple game play, some difficult glitches

6. Lego Marvel
While I've only played about half of the story, Lego Marvel is fun (and I plan to finish it someday). It brings in a lot of Marvel characters--like all of them. In addition, Clark Gregg, known for his role as Agent Coulson in the MCU, actually voices Agent Coulson in the game! But other than that the voice acting puts me off (Hey now, that isn't Tony Stark's voice!!). Overall, the game can be confusing. There's a lot of characters, so there's a lot of abilities to maneuver through. And the game doesn't help give a lot of hints on what you're supposed to do.
Pros: so many Marvel characters, diverse abilities, "big figure" characters introduced, fun story line, Stan Lee cameo, Deadpool is in every level (which is hilarious)
Cons: it's confusing at first, there's so much diversity and so many characters it's hard to get a hang off, it's a long game with a lot of stuff to do, some of the levels can be boring

5. Lego Star Wars (Complete Saga)
The first Lego official game created (those computer games don't count), Star Wars definitely paved the way for the rest of the games. While the first game (Episodes 1-3) was decent for a first game, the second, the Original Trilogy, really shines. And the Complete Saga helps bring everything together (We'll just skip discussing Clone Wars, thank you very much).

The Original Trilogy not only had better game play and a more expansive number objectives (including those cursed red bricks and the time-runs!!), but if you had the first game completed, you could load the characters from episodes 1-3 to play as in episodes 4-6. Overall, the Lego Star Wars games were pure fun. Plus, it's the complete saga together with the hilarity of Lego humor. You just can't beat that.
Pros: original game, the vision that came with it, complete Star Wars saga in a decent video game, variety of characters, creative custom character maker, game play is easy and fun
Cons: the ship levels are agonizing, lightsabers are the worst weapons, some glitches (like Anakin yelling in the droid factory on Genosis every time he gets hit)

4. Lego The Hobbit
As a big fan of The Hobbit book and movies, this game was fun. The game world itself is huge: it's Middle Earth. Essentially, it incorporates all the places in The Hobbit even though it's based on the movies rather than the book. Then there's the staggering number of characters to unlock. Each of the dwarves have specific abilities (some repeat), but then there's the other characters like Gandalf, Sauron, and Legolas. In addition, there are a lot of quests to complete outside of the main levels. Unfortunately, it's only the first two movies and there isn't any news on adding the final installment (though I bet they'll just create a combined game of all three).
Pros: the depth of the game, the characters and diversity of abilities, Christopher Lee narrates parts of the story in between levels
Cons: Only the first two movies (so it's incomplete), it's a long game with too many objectives, some glitches, Lego builder screen

3. Lego Batman Trilogy
Having only played the first Lego Batman game, Batman and Superman have come to my rescue to explain why this trilogy deserves praise (Because it's Batman, right?). The first game amazed me because of how much there was. Personally, my favorite thing about Batman are his villains. The first game focuses on just that: the villains. And not only do you play three story lines as Batman and Robin with a number of cool suits, but you can play the second half of the game as... the villains. Talk about cool.
The second Batman game introduced a wide variety of DC characters, beyond just Batman characters. It's also the first Lego game to feature full voice-acting instead of Lego "grunts" and "gibberish" and the first one to have an "open-world" game play. Batman 3 goes beyond Gotham (see what I did there?) as in, you can take the familiar superheroes into outer space. Talk about epic! Plus the well-known Stephen Amell from Arrow did the voice for the Green Arrow/Oliver Queen character in the game, among many other well-known DC voice-actors reprising their roles.

Pros: number of characters, creative characters, voice-acting, Batman
Cons: flight controls are horrendous, it's unplayable on the PC, the levels and overall game are stretched too long

2. Lego The Lord of the Rings
When I heard this game was coming, I whispered "finally" to myself and whoever else was around. I knew I needed this game immediately, and I wasn't left disappointed.

The game goes through all three of The Lord of the Rings installments with an in-depth world and map. So basically every Tolkienites dream. You can start in Hobbiton and literally walk to Mordor with your characters with it's "open world" feature. In addition, there's a wide range of characters to unlock and the diversity of abilities is staggering. No one in the Fellowship has the same abilities (except fighting, obviously), which proves how important every single one of them is. This was the beginning of Lego's massive game creations. Thank you, Lego team. Thank you.
Pros: the depth of the game, map and locations, characters and abilities. the whole trilogy in one game.
Cons: Gandalf's magic sucks, Frodo is actually useless, the race mini-games are terrible.

1. Lego Jurassic World
The latest Lego game to grace the video game world, I find Jurassic World is the best. I might be completely biased on this game since I've been playing it like mad since it's release last month. I played through all the levels, unlocked every character (including Steven Spielberg!), and was finishing up the extra objectives when the game glitched. I couldn't reach 100% or receive the final two trophies in the Play Station console. But was I mad? Nope. Because this game is fun and I wasn't ready to give it up.
The game goes through all four Jurassic Park movies--yes, including Jurassic World. The game play is easy to get a hang of (except for controlling those darn vehicles; I suck at driving Lego cars), reminding me a lot of the first couple Lego games. There wasn't a complicated story line or an abundance of objectives that dragged on. It was fun, straightforward, and pretty much perfect (at least up to the standards of Lego games released so far). Plus the best part: you get to be the dinos. My fangirl heart was just overjoyed.
Pros: dinosaurs, no Lego builder screen, dinosaurs though, smooth/fun game play, did I mention dinosaurs?
Cons: Maybe a few glitches? (most made me laugh rather than mess up the game play), camera angles are terrible.
In a few months, the video game world will be graced with two more Lego games. Sometime before the end of the years, Lego Avengers is set to release. In the fashion of Jurassic World and Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, this game will be based on the two Avengers movie (yes, including Age of Ultron). This means the character voices will be our beloved Avengers instead of voice actors like the Lego Marvel game. In addition, this might mean better game play for the Marvel superheroes as well as a familiar story line.
The second game is called Lego Dimensions, and this one is HUGE. It not only has brought in new favorite movies like Back to the Future or the Wizard of Oz, but it's bringing together characters, worlds, and plots from all across the Lego video games. That's right folks, Emmett from The Lego Movie can team-up with Gandalf, Raptors, or even Batman. And they've announced the addition of a bonus pack, which includes story lines with Doctor Who--so all of the Doctors plus the TARDIS.
The game's plot revolves around portals, which is why characters from different worlds/games can interact and work together to solve the space time continuum problem. The Lego team released a teaser to announce the game which starred Christopher Lloyd playing his famous role of Doc from Back to the Future. It's worth checking out because this game is going to be perfect for fangirls and fanboys everywhere. It's basically like a giant Comic-Con adventure (to save the world) but with Legos.

Which Lego video game is your favorite?

1 comment:

  1. Ooo, Lego Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite video games! I have the Wii version, it's lots of fun. :)