The LEGO games are really pretty easy to recommend. Do you like the source material - Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Batman, or Pirates of the Caribbean? Then you'll like the LEGO games associated with them. The gameplay doesn't change that much between each new entry in the series, but it gets tweaked and refined for the better. Even when you think you're getting tired of LEGO games, the next one comes out and sucks you in until you get every last achievement. The latest super-addictive LEGO time sink is LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and it is every bit as good as the games before it.
- Publisher: Disney Interactive
- Developer: Traveller's Tales
- ESRB Rating: “E10" for Everyone 10+
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Nice presentation; great sense of humor; solid tried-and-true LEGO gameplay
- Cons: Many puzzles may be too tricky for kids; no vehicle levels
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean features all four PotC movies including the brand new "On Stranger Tides". Each movie has five stages for a total of 20. There is also a large hub level that lets you select stages, find red hats that can be purchased so you can use cheats, as well as purchase additional characters you find walking around. Each stage has a "True Pirate" stud count you have to reach as well as 10 minikit pieces to find and you'll have to play through each stage at least twice in order to unlock everything and reach 100% completion. There is a lot of content here.
One thing that is surprisingly absent is some sort of vehicle mission. I kind of figured you'd spend at least one level sailing a pirate ship around and firing at other ships or something, but it wasn't to be.
The game takes about 25 hours or so to get 100% on. There isn't any sort of online play, but you can play local co-op with a friend.
For the most part, the gameplay is pretty much what we have come to expect from the LEGO games. You spend most of your time running around levels designed after key locales from the movies and smashing objects, fighting enemies, and solving puzzles. Different characters have different abilities, and some puzzles require specific abilities in order to solve which is why you need to play through the levels more than once to really finish them - once in story mode with preset characters and once more in free play where you can use any characters you want. Character abilities include Jack Sparrow using his compass to find hidden items, female characters jumping extra high, ghost characters being able to walk underwater, strong characters, characters with guns, characters with explosives, or Blackbeard who has a special sword.
Using all of these character types to solve puzzles is a lot of fun, but it has to be said that some puzzles and the occasional boss fight are actually pretty tough to figure out what the heck you're supposed to do. The game does seem to offer more help than past games - important items have special icons over them and when you pick them up an arrow points you to where you're supposed to use it - but there were still several times where the solution wasn't obvious. It is a trend that started with LEGO Batman where I've wondered if the puzzles in these kids games might be too tricky for them. My advice - play along with your kids to ease any frustration that might come up.
Graphics & Sound
Visually, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a surprisingly nice looking game. The backgrounds have a sort of realistic look while the characters and objects are plastic looking LEGO through-and-through, but they still look like they fit in the world. The animation is great and the LEGO characters are surprisingly emotive. The game looks good.
The sound is also quite nice. There isn't any dialogue, but characters make distinctive sounds that really fit their character perfectly. The sound effects are par for the LEGO course, but the music really stands out. The themes are lifted right out of the movies (and a few taken from another cancelled PotC videogame) and sound really, really great.
All in all, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a fun addition to the LEGO franchise. It doesn't break the LEGO mold, but it doesn't have to. Like I said in the opening paragraph, if you like the source material, in this case Pirates of the Caribbean, you're going to like the game even if it is mostly the same stuff we've been doing for nearly ten games now. The humor still works. The thrill of collecting millions of LEGO studs is as addictive as ever. And the satisfaction of uncovering every secret and getting every last Achievement the game offers is still strong enough to compel you to spend another 20+ hours on it. The LEGO games are just good solid fun, and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is right up there among the best of them. We highly recommend it for at least a rental.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy