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LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game - 3DS Review

Game Info
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

3DS | Disney Interactive Studios / Traveller's Tales | 1 Player | Out Now | StreetPass Support | Play Coins Support
Related Game: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Wii) 
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Review
5th August 2011; By Patrick

Traveller's Tales has been a very busy developer. Hot off the tails of
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, they partnered with Disney Interactive Studios to release LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game on just about every platform imaginable. Does this LEGO game fix the flaws found in the studios first 3DS release? Or is it simply a case of the same bricks in a different shape? Oddly, it's a bit of both.

    LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a very mixed package from start to finish. Featuring scenes from all four films (including this year's On Stranger Tides), this title seems to fall into a trap that Star Wars did not -- the typical "licensed games must be out at a time when they are most relevant" -- allowing for less content and less effort on the whole.

    As a game, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is fun, while not being outstanding. As in other LEGO games, there are a variety of characters, though because the universe is not as expansive as Star Wars, you will see a lot of repeats.You’d better like Captain Jack Sparrow, because you'll see at least ten different versions of him in different costumes. Each character features their own ability. For instance, Jack has a gun so he can shoot targets, while Bootstrap Bill Turner is a Dutchman Crewman, so he can disappear in algae and re-appear somewhere else. This is implemented, in my opinion, a bit more poorly in some of the levels, meaning that the majority of levels cannot be explored in Story mode, which feels awfully limiting your first time through, not encouraging replaying, so much as forcing.

    
One improvement over
LEGO Star Wars is definitely the camera angle. Instead of a 15º angle that makes platforming hard, and even harder with 3D on, the camera is behind your character, allowing for more precise platforming. However, when you are simply exploring an area, the 3D is a bit too subtle. I had it off accidentally once, and believed it was on full until I entered a cutscene.

    The engine running the game however, is fantastic for the most part. The lighting effects are very realistic, treating the characters as LEGO mini-figures themselves to reflect light off of, which is further reflected on objects they may or may not be holding. The physics engine is also slightly improved over LEGO Star Wars, fixing a few minor bugs with falling, jumping off tables, etc. The sad part about this is, it seems like the fourth movie is running on a completely different engine! Upon starting the first level of the fourth film (London), I jumped off the table you start on, and I fell into an endless black pit until the game was kind enough to kill me after 30 seconds. Once I restarted, all the enemies vanished, and the shadows and lighting started going haywire, moving where they logically shouldn't and disappearing altogether after a while. I would like to emphasize that I was not playing an unfinished review copy or preview build, but the full, "finished" retail version.

    The content is also a major concern for me. While LEGO Star Wars had 13 levels split up into three sections (effectively 39 shorter levels), LEGO Pirates has 16 levels (four from each movie). Some are too long and tiresome, and some far too short. The game can be breezed through in under four or five hours if you're simply going for story, and with many of the "hidden" collectibles simply being unavailable on your first run-through, it makes me question why more effort wasn't spared on this promising title.

    
The game features a StreetPass mode where you can spend Play Coins to buy parts to build your LEGO Pirate, and then have him compete in a game of... Rock-Paper-Scissors. No really. You choose whether you attack high, low, or mid-range and where you defend, and you let it play out. The one GameStop employee that I passed was in a stalemate with me, 1 win and 1 loss each. From what I see, the only reward for winning is a set amount of studs as well, and it seems like this was a complete afterthought that Disney made them put in after seeing StreetPass in LEGO Star Wars.


    I don't want to tear this game apart, as it truly is a fun experience for the first three films, but I cannot, with good conscience, recommend this game at the price of $40. For the content you're getting, spare the bugs (and the entire fourth movie, for that matter), your money would be much better spent elsewhere, even on LEGO Star Wars. I cannot say who this game is for overall. LEGO fans will be the most disappointed seeing the limitations placed on the team that can usually create fun, complete experiences; Pirates fans will be disappointed in that a series they like received such neglect on the 3DS; and 3DS fans looking for a new game will be disappointed that they did not pick up another hidden gem. It could be considered a guilty pleasure for someone like myself, but I cannot look anyone in the eyes and say this game is truly "good".


15/30 - Below Average

Gameplay 5/10 - Pirates does nothing major to innovate, gameplay feels played out, game simply does not work correctly in ¼ of the game
Presentation 6/10 - Engine running the first 3 films is fantastic, runs things I never thought possible on the 3DS, fourth film ruins the lasting impression
Enjoyment 2/5 - Story Mode too limiting to be fun, fourth movie feels like a last-minute addition, many hidden objects are just inaccessible at start
Extra Content 2/5 - Many characters to unlock, levels are more than what they may appear during Story Mode, practically forces you to replay levels

Equivalent to a score of 50% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by Patrick
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