With a string of best-selling titles under their belt already the developers at Warner Bros take the immensely popular and hugely enjoyable Lego series over to the MMO crowd. How will the plastic populus fare in the land of the online subscriber? Let’s find out together as GamesMediaPro reviews Lego Universe.
If you grew up not knowing the joys of Lego when you were a child then we feel that you can count yourself in the vast minority of deprived children who missed out on an entire culture all of its own. But take heart, you poor unfortunates who misplaced your childhood on false God’s such as Meccano or Tonka Toys, your shot at redemption is finally here courtesy of the beautiful people over at Warner Bros and Lego.
Let’s get the details of the gameplay out of the way first shall we? Lego Universe is a Massive Multiplayer Online Game, meaning that players from all around the world will meet up in their literal tens and hundreds of thousands to play and create in on ongoing real-time space faring environment that is perpetual in its motion. Meaning, to the gamer on the sofa at home, that you jump into the game and, amid having pure unadulterated bliss with other like-minded individuals and when you log off for the day the game world keeps on moving in real-time.
So where to start with this gorgeous looking MMO of incredible size, detail and gameplay? The graphic’s are once again as tight as a tourniquet with the sweetest of gaming mechanics allowing for play that is so smooth you could play ice hockey on it. If you are long times fan’s of the Lego series, and let’s face it here-who isn’t? Then you are in for a real treat as everything that you are already familiar with, and know and love so well, has made a very welcome return in this ambitious forward thinking title. The beauty of the Lego franchise is not in the very handsome graphics, nor is it in the multitude of characters that you have access too. What we think sets Lego apart from others and leaves it in a field of its own is the sheer quality of the gameplay that is the main framework on which every single Lego title to date has been constructed. Universe is not an exception to this rule, as it contains some of the very best gaming that is to be found in any puzzler or platformer anywhere in the industry.
The new additions in Lego Universe, however, have taken a great game and turned it into a world-beater. Take the all-new construction method’s that allow for two modes of building in the new game. The first allow’s players to construct a ready-made ‘prefab’ model, if you like? Sort of Ikea meet’s Barret Homes . Whereas the second of the two new method’s is by far and away the far more in-depth of the two. This allows the player to build entirely free-standing structures that will resemble just about anything the Lego lovers heart desires.
In the ready-made ‘Lego-in-a-tin ‘ mode of the first example just about every piece of architecture that you have ever witnessed in a Lego title is to be found here. Everything from Castles to Cut-Throat Pirate Ship’s will be available to you and so much more. To say that it can be a little daunting at first to have all these options and so much power at your fingertips is somewhat of an understatement, but once you get into the swing of things you will be throwing up fort’s and ancient Incan temples to your heart’s content.
The side missions and accomplishments are the game are where most of you will spend a great deal of your time. There is just so much to do in Lego Universe that we seriously doubt if anyone will ever fully complete every major task, side mission and accomplishment. As we ran through the first few hours of our review play we began, at first to complete as much of the checklist as we thought that we would be able to manage in the short time that we were online. How very naive of us all. There is just too much to do to even contemplate getting through anywhere near even a tiny percentage of what Lego Universe has to offer the gamer in anything around the first few months or so.
The combat system is very easy to master ad so simple that even first time players to the MMO genre will be able to pick up their mouse and keyboard and jump straight into the fray without fear of being totally overwhelmed by stronger or more experienced enemies. The fact that there is very little in the way of what traditionalists to the MMO genre will see as ‘levelling up’ or gaining additional skills through the acquiring of that ever-present accreditation, the XP bonus, will have some screaming blasphemy into their World of Warcraft shrine. But take heart, dear gamers, you can still achieve little tweaks of individuality here and there, and there ae a myriad of ways that you can tack on extra bonuses that you pick up along the way as you journey throughout the Lego Universe. You have to remember that at the end of the day this is Lego, this is not some sprawling post apocalyptic nightmare or fantasy realm dungeon crawler. If that is what you are hoping for then I’m sure that you can find that in one of a thousand other MMORPG titles out there, so off you trot and may you bash the head’s of Hobbit’s everywhere. For the rest of us, who just love to play Lego games in all their Day’-Glo glory and enjoy the tongue-in-cheek humour of the brick-based shenanigans, just grab yourself a copy of this game and sit back and enjoy what is quite possibly one of the most fun to play titles that has been released all year.
Lego Universe is true champion of the platform puzzler that looks like it has all grown up and left home to go to university and stand on its own two feet ,without the security of Mum and Dad to wrap their loving arms around it and tell it that everything will be alright. This is Lego Plus. What could well be the apex of everything that the developers and studio’s have been leading up to all along when they began this much-loved series back in the day.
Whatever your take on the Lego franchise there can be no denying the games’ obvious success and much admired style of gameplay by the general public at large. One has only to look back to our review of the Lego Harry Potter title to understand this. I an age where the FPS is king and the title with the highest body count tends to shift the most units, is it heartening to see that a developer with the pedigree and calibre of Warner Bros can take such a family orientated title and turn it into the rampant success story that it so clearly is.
Graphics: Typical bright and boisterous Lego fare with the Warner Bros seal of quality running through every line of coding. Great looking and has no frame rate issues, nor does it have any glaring bug’s or glitches. Smooth as the proverbial and very easy on the eyes. Another hit for the Lego games. 8
Gameplay: The world, or rather Universe, that you are going to transport yourself into is going to hold you captivated for many a long winters night with its fun combat system and excellent side quests and missions. The gameplay always has something going on, even in a game that is so huge the player never feels solitary or bored. In a Universe so vast it is an achievement in its own right to be able to constantly hold the gamers attention. 9
RePlay Value: When we actually manage to get anywhere near the end of this title we will be better able to tell you if we would want to go through it more than once. But seeing that we have played through every other Lego title on multiple occasions I think that we can safely assume that the biggest and the best of the Lego games will be no exception to the rule. 9
Presentation: As always Warner Bros have taken the much-loved Lego title and put added effort and polish into a system that already looks so good, and has devoted followers from every corner of the globe. Lego Universe has supreme handling and graphic’s. The sound is top-notch and the gameplay is second to none in its genre. Yet again the Plastic Population have come up trumps showing the rest of the gaming world how its done. 9