It was only a matter of time before Disney’s hit movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean was transformed into the world of LEGOs. Encompassing all four of the movies in the series, developer TT Games takes the old LEGO formula that has worked in past games and replies it here. And that’s why the game flopped.
For those of you who are fans of the movie franchise, you will probably find yourself disappointed since all of the action we’d come to know and love from the big screen is almost nonexistent here, scaled down to suit children of younger audiences.
Continuing the notorious storytelling told with no words, TT Games has stuck with no dialogue or subtitles for pirates. For those of you who have never seen the movies, the entire game will make little to no sense at all, since characters silently act out plot.
In the beginning, figuring out who everyone was, was fairly simple. Jack Sparrow was obviously a pirate, Will Turner was a blacksmith, and Elizabeth Swann was the lady turned pirate that fell in love will Will.
It wasn’t until you reached the third and fourth movie adaptation that things simply fell apart for TT. Because of the mute characters, it was simply nigh impossible to figure who everyone was. That was even tough to spin-off in the movies! The plot was just to big and complex for TT to successfully handle without any form of dialogue, which ended in disaster for them.
Less confound however is the gameplay style for the game. It follows the typical pattern every Lego game has followed in the past; build and break stuff. Objects are spread throughout each and every level for you to blow up and collect money from, and an assortment of characters are available to play from.
Some characters even have special abilities to complete tasks that only they can perform in certain levels such as Jack and his compass, which can find objects hidden away in the level. Or Mr. Gibbs who can repairs broken tools and objects.
The game supports up to two player co-op, which I highly recommend. Often, the AI proved very problematic in certain situations such as fights or when solving puzzles. They’d either get stuck behind something like a rock, or would just follow me around in the heat of battle, not doing anything to help.
On other occasions, I was pushed off of numerous ledges thanks to the AI characters bumping into me at the worst possible moment. Yet the co-op feature isn’t without its flaws either. Due to the large cast of characters found in almost every level, it wasn’t hard to get confused as to who you or your friend were playing as. And without the implementation of any online multiplayer feature, you’re still constricted to playing only with the friend on the couch next to you.
The biggest issue I felt that plagued the game was the poorly designed puzzle system. LEGO Pirates should not be a complicated game. Yet, thanks to some poorly built puzzles, one level that should be by in only a matter of minutes could turn in a 30 minute nightmare.
Most of the time, the game provides you with plenty of eye-catching arrows and shiny objects that lead or direct you to do whatever it is you’ve got to do. On other occasions however, the game leaves you in the dust.
I wasted a substantial amount of time trying to figure out puzzles that were so easy and basic for the developers to make, but incredibly hard for the player to figure out what the heck they meant for us to do. For a game designed to capture the minds of children, the many puzzles that are thrust into the game create a large barrier that only the wittiest of child minds will be able to figure out…
Other issues, such as those with control, still effect the game even now, so many LEGO adaptations later. Things like camera angle still considerably throw off your judgement of distances to when it comes time to perform actions such as jumping from ledge to ledge. What may look like only a few inches from your angle, could very well be a few feet from the character’s angle, meaning you’ve probably just jumped to your death.
What is probably the most overlooked aspect of LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean however is how pretty it looks. TT Games still applied the typical plastic look to characters and key objects, but created a more realistic overall environment. In particular, the water and ocean wave effects look very sublime.
For fans of the LEGO franchise, the game shouldn’t be anything less than superb, yet it fails to provide and breathe of new life either. The comical drunken Jack Sparrow run is very entertaining to watch and the variety of unlockable items is sure to keep you entertained for hours to come.
Yet the game doesn’t seem to learn from any of its predecessors. The lack of any online play is a major disappointment and a humdrum of a level design are the two clear weak links holding the game back from what it could have been.
Replay Value: Moderately High