Summary: The LEGO version of Captain Jack Sparrow is every bit as charming and weird as his silver screen counterpart. His drunken prance is beautifully captured, and his magical compass brings enjoyable treasure hunting gameplay to Traveller’s Tales’ established LEGO formula. The remainder of the content – while drenched in Pirates of the Caribbean tones – could easily be in any other LEGO game. Hardly any of the gameplay takes advantage of the license.
Excerpt: It seems Traveller’s Tales can do nothing wrong. As if we didn’t already have enough quality LEGO games to savour, Traveller’s Tales has brought us two more back-to-back releases in 2011. Following hot on the heels of recently released LEGO: Star Wars III comes Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, and the cynic in me wonders whether this is the best strategy sales-wise.
Excerpt: The formula is familiar: play through the 'Story' mode, solving puzzles and collecting studs (currency) to unlock as many characters as you can (all the while enjoying the adorable LEGO interpretations of iconic scenes from the movies) until you can go back with a team of alternate characters to unlock everything each individual level has to offer in 'Free Play' mode.
Let's get the obvious out of the way early, shall we?
Excerpt: Let's get the obvious out of the way early, shall we? LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is, in fact, another LEGO game. Shocking I know, but there it is. How you react to this profound statement will serve as a fair prediction of how much you'll enjoy yourself. If, like me, you love these games; their intrinsic humor and surprisingly deep level design, then you'll be quite pleased that another deserving franchise has been given the LEGO makeover.
Conclusion: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a great kids game, with a well realised story and fun characters, but it’s also more of the same. In terms of the LEGO series to date then this is probably one of the better incarnations, but you just can’t help but wonder where things could go from here. If you’re a fan of Pirates then this is for you, but everyone else may well want to test the waters first.
Conclusion: If there’s anything to take away from Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s that it represents a culmination of style and design that Traveller’s Tales has been tweaking for years now, and does so in the most positive way possible. Every working part of the Lego series has been nigh-on perfected here, but if the formula has never won you over before, then not only will it fail to do so now, but it probably never will.
Excerpt: I have no idea how Traveler's Tales does it, but they keep making fantastic games even while going way off-script on some of pop- and nerd-culture's most beloved franchises. They release two or three games every year, and each time they add just enough new content - or rework the gameplay just enough - to keep things fresh.