Review: LEGO Dimensions (PS4)

lego-dimensions-review-banner

Title: LEGO Dimensions
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: September 27, 2015
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Original MSRP: $99.99 (Starter Pack)
ESRB Rating: E10+
LEGO Dimensions is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U.
The PlayStation 4 Starter Pack version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
The story is a simple one: Lord Vortech is bent on controlling the Universe by controlling the Foundation Elements. Batman, Wyldstyle, and Gandalf are drawn into the fray when elements of their Dimensions are taken away. The basic premise is your typical story for adventure games, but what makes LEGO Dimensions special is the game’s ability to weave so many different components and franchises into a highly entertaining experience. This is where the game truly shines.

Throughout the story our heroes travel to different Dimensions, which are some of the best known properties we all know and love. We are treated to worlds like Portal, The Wizard of Oz, Doctor Who, and many more. In fact, there are franchises within franchises that are really fun surprises which I will not spoil here.

The developers at Traveller’s Tales excel at weaving these vastly different franchises into a cohesive and enjoyable story with grace and polish. There are so many easter eggs and in-jokes that you feel this game was made with love and respect for every property.

… start out by building the portal …
The levels are artfully crafted for each franchise. Whether it is Hill Valley in the Wild West, or Metropolis, each world is represented well. In the latter half of the story you will be searching for items that are memorable, such as Egon’s P.K.E. meter from Ghostbusters. Also, each world’s collectibles are from that world as well, and mini-kits range from Scooby Snacks to Mr. Fusion’s.

That much attention to detail really immerses you in the levels and makes replays fun and bearable. With that said, the level structure is your typical fare for the most part. There are some fun and interesting design choices later in the game.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151004204023

The Toy Pad is the most intriguing piece in LEGO Dimensions. The development team decided to incorporate the pad into almost every aspect of the game. You start out by building the portal using an on-screen instruction book. The portal itself is the biggest thing you’ll build in the starter pack and it is around 260 pieces.

A nice touch is that you do not necessarily have to build it, and you may either leave the Toy Pad empty or customize it yourself. Another nice touch is in the design of the Pad itself. An extra long USB cord is attached so you do not have to sit so close to your television.

… the quality of the minifigures …
The Pad is used quite a bit for game play, and not as a static display like the other Toys to Life games. It’s used in four different puzzle types during game play, Locate Mode, Chroma Mode, Elemental Mode, and Shift Mode. These do a good job of breaking up game play but they do get repetitive after awhile, especially during Free Play mode.

The LEGO minifigures act as your direct interface to the game. The starter pack comes with three figures and one vehicle; Gandalf, Batman, Wyldstyle, and the Batmobile. One thing I want to point out is the quality of the minifigures. A nice little touch with Gandalf and Batman is that their backs have printing on them, although they have fabric capes. As a cost saving measure, they could have skipped printing anything on the back but chose not to. Wyldstyle has a rubber hair piece that makes the figure pop.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151016201559

They are all excellent representations of the characters and look great on the pedestal. Another great feature of LEGO Dimensions is that after you are done playing, you have a great collection of LEGO Minifigures to display at your home or office.

The most important part is the RFD base that allows the game to read the figure. Each character comes with the disc already programmed for that figure, but for the vehicles and their different configurations, they need to be written on a disc during the game.

… interferes with what make LEGO games fun …
If you have played a LEGO game before, you know how important abilities are as they play a large part in the game’s puzzles and item collections, such as mini-kits and Gold Bricks. Usually, these abilities are unlocked by purchasing characters that are available in the game. Since LEGO Dimensions is a Toys to Life game, these abilities come from additional characters that must be purchased in the real world.

This interferes with what make LEGO games fun and within five minutes of starting the game I ran into that road block. Depending how you look at it, either as a game or as a platform, this might be a deciding factor for you.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151012151420

Newly added in Patch 1.03 is the ability to hire heroes that are available in packs. It works like this: when you walk up to a gold hint block, if a character is available in stores but you don’t have them, you can rent that hero for studs. This is a nice addition and something they did not have to add.

Additional characters and vehicles come in three different types of packs. Fun Packs come with a minifigure and vehicle, Team Packs come with two minifigures and two vehicles, and Level Packs include a minifigure, two vehicles, and access to a LEGO Dimensions level. These packs expand on the fourteen levels that are included on disc. The figures and vehicles grant abilities and access to parts of levels that are not accessible with the Starter Pack.

… open up Hub Worlds …
Once again this lends to the idea of LEGO Dimensions being more of a platform than a stand-alone game and a great collection of what LEGO has to offer. I was not able to try any of the Team Packs nor Level Packs at the time of this review. I can say that the one Fun Pack I own (Cyborg 71210) has increased my experience with the game.

When deciding what to purchase, I found myself weighing Cyborg’s abilities with other characters, trying to get the most for my dollars. Luckily, the availability of characters in the first wave makes this easy. With the purchase of new characters from different franchises, you open up Hub Worlds which expand the game even further.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151013201255

Hub Worlds in Lego Dimensions act similar to other LEGO games. Each franchise has its own Hub where even more adventures await. In the Hub Worlds, you will find renovations, which is a play on the Master Builders segments from LEGO: The Movie Game. Also found within the Hub Worlds are races and Gold Brick challenges.

The most interesting parts are the challenges from characters. They range from simple fetch quests to fighting off enemies. There are a lot of things to do on the Hub Worlds and they are a significant portion of the game. My only complaint is I wish they would have tied some of the story elements into these worlds.

… keep coming back to for months, even years …
Free Play mode is a staple of LEGO games where you can go back into the story levels to get collectibles and Gold Bricks. As usual, this is where the meat of the LEGO games is. In LEGO Dimensions though, you will need to purchase additional packs to do this.

Depending on your point of view, this can be a deterrent. I take the stance that this is a platform and something I can keep coming back to for months, even years, as I keep collecting packs and characters. As a quick aside, it is possible to obtain the Platinum Trophy with the starter set only.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151004193800

Visuals:
With each console generation the graphics quality of LEGO games keeps improving, and LEGO Dimensions is no exception. It has a crisp and clean look in high resolution with great lighting effects.

The lighting is used to such great effect in the Doctor Who level that there were times I was behind my couch in fear. Particle effects are used smartly as well. The greatest graphical feat in the game is the different style of each level. Be it the sterile environment of Aperture Labs or the cel-shaded cartoon style of a Scooby Doo mansion, they are created with care and style.

… There are some technical glitches …
A new trick added to the LEGO repertoire is the change of perspective in a few levels. It breaks the monotony of the usual side-scrolling adventures in other LEGO games. There are some technical glitches such as pop-in and some collision detection issues, but they generally do not take you out of the game.

If you do get stuck in the environment, just take the stuck character off the pad and put them back on. This will reset the character and clear them off the obstacle.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151016200032

Audio:
The audio is the game is fantastic and it really sucks you in. This, as everything else, is elevated due to all of the different franchises included. The voice work is, as always, superbly done. For the most part, the respective voice actors are back again to voice their LEGO counterparts.

All of the voice work is new, even with franchises like Lord of the Rings, which used audio from the movie in the original LEGO game. In some cases, like the Scooby Doo and Ghostbusters areas, I would have liked a little more interaction with those characters.

… a reason to keep coming back …
The music is just fantastic. As with the rest of the game, it pulls from each franchise to make everything stronger. Familiar music from Batman or Lord of the Rings are used well when needed and combined well with the new tracks. It is a blast hearing the familiar Portal tunes, or the spooky overtones from Scooby Doo.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the use of licensed music, I will not spoil the selection used but I gave out a hoot when I heard the first track. There is quite a bit in there for you to enjoy.

LEGO® DIMENSIONS™_20151013195012

Online/Multiplayer:
This game includes local co-op with no online component.

Conclusion:
LEGO Dimensions can be considered in one of two ways: as a stand-alone game, or as a platform. I am choosing the latter. By choosing to have characters with certain abilities, Traveller’s Tales gives you a reason to keep coming back. Not to mention that Level Packs add new content to an already fun and engaging game.

There is not a whole lot of bad with LEGO Dimensions. It is a well thought-out package. Overall it is a lot of fun for all ages and the previous LEGO games seem to lead up to Dimensions.

Not to be forgotten, the actual LEGO minifigures and vehicle builds are well done and are great collectibles. The only detraction is the price. To collect everything you need in order to do absolutely everything in the game is expensive. If you keep in mind that this is a platform, it might help your wallet.

I am totally enamored with LEGO Dimensions. The attention to detail makes this game worth playing.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg

Flag_of_Canada.svg

 

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Shawn Hiers

Shawn Hiers

Disabled gamer. Married Father of 3, and playing since the Atari days. I have a passion for all things Lego and an avid Toy Collector. I am also an huge Doctor Who Fan and can talk all things Who for hours 🙂

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook