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LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean Review (PS3/Xbox 360)

The LEGO games have been around for the last few years so odds are that you have played at least one of them, which pretty much means that you have played them all. The formula for the games has always been pretty much the same, except for small gameplay tweaks here and there. Yet the series doesn’t seem to tire and the small changes that are added to each new title, no matter how small, seem to be a breathe fresh air each time.

As per normal with LEGO games, the story follows the four films in the current Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This is the first three films and the new yet to be released fourth film, On Stranger Tides. Each of the films stories are recreated in five levels for each film, something that long term fans of the LEGO series will notice is less than the previous games. This isn’t a problem as the levels fit together nicely and tell the stories in the normal LEGO fashion. However, the lower level count does mean that you will have more cutscenes to watch, not on the same time scale as a Kojima told story, but more than some are used to. As an interlude to these cutscenes Traveller’s Tales has included strange 2D animated paper cut-outs to outline flashbacks and illustrate the loading screens, though the older loading screens of just a LEGO object spinning on a black background do return as well, the animated cut-outs give a feeling of the game being rushed to meet the release of the new film.

However, if there was ever a film franchise that fits perfectly with the LEGO series Pirates is it. The comedy of the films fits with the comedic direction that the Traveller’s Tales takes with the LEGO series, while still leaving plenty of room for some slapstick scenes of their own. You will laugh out loud when playing this game, that’s for sure.

There has been new tweaks to the gameplay in this entry, with a new character selection wheel, that appears if you press and hold triangle or Y, this makes the character switching much easier specially as for most of the game you will be travelling around with a motley crew, making it even more useful in Freeplay mode, where you can replay any level again with any character, as the wheel changes to the full character selection board meaning that you cannot pick the wrong character for the level. Conversely, finding the characters that you require can be a  trial, because once you complete the story mode, as out of the five or six lines of characters to unlock, only a set amount are generally available. This means that you have a lot of characters to buy before you can successfully access some of the content hidden in levels. Finding these characters is a task on its own as they are all wandering around the hub world of Port Royale without a pattern to their location.

One of the best tweaks to the gameplay is that Captain Jack can use his compass to find buried treasure. This buried treasure can be objects that you need to complete the level, find a hidden extra or just a weapon that you can pick up (my favourite being the fish that you can literally fish-slap people, complete with fish-slap sound effect). The aim is to complete the selection of eight treasures to grab a gold brick but this new function does give a lot of replay value.

There is no doubt that LEGO Pirates is a quality game, especially if playing with someone. As usual the game offers drop in/out co-op, meaning your friends and family can join in with you whenever they want. It’s always fun slapping a friends character over the face when they are messing around and working together is never more fun in gaming than it is in a LEGO video game. Sure LEGO Pirates is more of the same, but that’s what makes this series work and what makes it so popular and to be honest we wouldn’t have it any other way.

LEGO Pirates isn’t the best Lego game and I seriously doubt that many could top the level that was set by Star Wars. Still the game is thoroughly enjoyable from start to end and the LEGO take on scenes from the films is priceless at points. One thing that should be noted for parents, that younger kids might find this LEGO game a little more scary than previous games, but that shouldn’t stop you from playing, because its a blast.

Rating: Excellent

You can order LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean from Shopto on the format of your choice, here.

Edited On 17 May, 2011

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