Lego Dimensions: A Review
There are many different things that can bring back memories of childhood. What will evoke the memories depends on when you are born. For those who were born during the 1980's, and later, one of the things that have been consistent is video games.
Children of the 1980's grew up on the original Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Playstation. Sure, we also enjoyed the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and for a few, Sega CD. We embraced the Game Cube, Playstation, Playstation 2, Xbox, and all of their subsequent successors.
Along with video games, children of the 1980's and 90's also enjoyed building things with Legos. That is not to say that previous generations did not enjoy them as well, because they did. Now, if you take Video Games and Lego, you hit a couple of buttons of a segment of the population.
I have previously written a review of "Lego City: Undercover" over at The Tech Scoop. Well, There is another Lego Video game that I will review, Lego Dimensions.
What is Lego Dimensions?
Lego Dimensions is at its heart a video game that involves Lego Characters. As mentioned above, this triggers all sorts of good vibes for some gamers. With this, Lego Dimensions adds a new dynamic to the Lego video games that have come before.
With traditional Lego video games, a player can quickly switch players by simply hitting a button to do so. In order to get more in-game characters, players will simply need to spend the studs that they collect while in-game.
With Lego Dimensions, this dynamic has changed. Instead of purchasing characters all in-game, you are able to bring new characters into the game through the Game Toy Pad, which is included within the Starter Kit.
Game Toy Pad
The Game Toy Pad is a mechanism that is required in order to play Lego Dimensions. The Pad is included in the LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack.
The Pad is broken into three distinct sections, and has spots for up to seven simultaneous characters and vehicles. As a character, or vehicle, is needed, the player can swap in the necessary item.
Adding Characters and Vehicles
Adding Characters and Vehicles is one of the downsides to the game. While there is a mechanism called "Hire a Hero", which is where you pay studs to hire a character, it is not an inexpensive in-game endeavor, and it is not available at any time. For each story-level and open world, the cost progresses from 25,000 up to 250,000, depending on the number of heroes that you have hired. When you hire a hero, they only last for thirty seconds.
In order to be able to play as a character you are required to purchase the physical item. Each character has its own abilities, which add to the game.
The Starter Pack includes Gandalf, from Lord of the Rings, Wyldstyle from the Lego Movie, and Batman.
There are three different types of expansions; Level Packs, Team Packs, and Fun Packs. Let us look at each of these in turn.
There are currently Four Level Packs. Level Packs unlock the ability to travel to add another level to the Game. These are:
Each of these comes with a character, and a companion vehicle. In the case of Portal, a Weighted Companion Cube.
With each the Level Pack, you are able to unlock the corresponding dimension to travel through and play.
Team Packs are similar to level packs, but come with two characters and vehicles in one pack. There are currently four Team Packs, three of which are available now, and one being released in the future.
- Scooby Doo, which has both Shaggy and Scooby.
- The Jurassic World Team Pack has Owen, and an ACU Trooper included.
- The Ninjago pack has Cole and Kai from the animated series Ninjago.
- DC Comics pack has the Joker and Harley. This will be released on January 19th, 2016.
Fun Packs are as their name describes, fun. There are a myriad of characters that add some fun to the game. There are eighteen available now, with eight more on the way. As a note, Fun Packs only include one character, so each of the Fun Packs below are individual.
- Cragger, Eris, and Laval from Chima
- Cyborg and Wonder Woman from the DC Universe
- Bad Cop, Benny, Emmett, and Unikitty from the Lego Movie
- Gimli, Gollum, and Legolas, from Lord of the Rings
- Nya and Zane from Ninjago
- Bart and Krusty from the Simspsons
- Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz
One of the nice touches when you add characters is that they can interact and they sometimes make comments to each other. A good exampe is when Scooby says "Ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra...Batman", or when Wonder Woman quips, "Homer, somebody told me that you're a big fan of mine".
It does make it a better experience. Yet, even with the better experience in order to purchase EVERYTHING for a system, the retail cost for the starter kit, four team packs, four level packs, and twenty six characters would come out to approximately $770. That is a lot for Legos.
However, what TTGames, creators of the Lego series, has stated is that current Lego Dimensions charcters and team packs should work on future versions of the game.
There are many different things to do in order to complete any Lego video game. These include, but are not limited to, single player, mini puzzles, quests, getting gold bricks, and collecting studs.
The Lego Dimensions single player allows you to take the primary three characters, Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle and put them through a series of different worlds. These include The Simpsons, Portal, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Scooby Do, and more. The entire single player campaign can be done using just the standard three characters.
With standard Lego video games, once you finish the single player you are able to enter in "Free Play" mode. This mode allows you to switch characters at will. With Lego Dimensions, with the way that you are able to swap in characters at any time, there is no "Free Play Mode". Instead, you can effectively play all of the levels as "Free Play".
There are three distinct areas to Game Pad. Having this arrangement allows for different types of interactions to occur within the game. These range from having characters use fire, electricity, or wind elements to selecting the proper colors to solve a puzzle, or even escaping from Evil Bosses. The sections provide a new interaction level to the game.
As mentioned above you can progress through the story mode which will is playable with only the three built-in characters. There are four goals within each level. For each of these goals that are completed, you will receive a Gold Brick.
The first goal is to finish the level. The second goal is to get all of the Minikits. These are collectible items that all relate to the level you are in. The third goal is to reach a number of collectible studs. Once you reach this level, which is different for each level, you will reach "Rule Breaker" status. The final goal is to rescue
Besides the story mode levels, there is another playable area, the Open Worlds.
The second playable area is the Open Worlds. There are a total of fourteen open worlds, as of right now. In order to access any of these worlds, a character from that world must be on the Game Pad. With the three included with the Starter Pack, you are able to access "Lord of the Rings", "Lego Movie", and "DC Comics World".
Within each of these worlds you will be tasked with gathering Gold Bricks, Studs, assisting chracters with quests, and building areas to expand each of the worlds.
Each open world will take a bit of time to complete. I would say at minimum of four hours per world, but likely longer. Within each world is a Red Brick, which can assist you in your travels. Some of the Red Bricks will just provide fun extras, while others will truly be helpful.
Each open world also includes races on land, under water, and in the air. The worlds also require a player to assist characters with bad characters, finish puzzles, and use your character's abilities to get all of the Gold Bricks.
Every world has a different number of buildable areas, level for "Rule Breaker" in the world, and Gold Bricks to obtain. You will not be able to complete every aspect to any world until all of the characters are released.
Traditional Lego video games have achievements for completing different actions within the game. Lego Dimensions is no different, with one exception. With traditional Lego games, you are able to get an achievement for completing 100% of the game. Due to the immense amount of money that would be needed to complete every aspect of the game, there is no 100% achievement for Lego Dimensions.
Despite this, there are 50 achievements worth 1300 points that can be obtained throughout the game, and level packs. A complete list can be found at XboxAchievements.com.
Many of these you will simply obtain while playing through the game. Others, however, you will have to look out for and do yourself.
I purchased Lego Dimensions during Thanksgiving weekend has been playing it, almost exclusively, since then. In order to collect the "Gold Bricks" in the game, you have to figure out puzzles or complete tasks for other some non-playable characters.
When I started playing, the hint mechanism stated to look for the "flashing red dots" to help solve a puzzle or quest. I could never see this flashing red dots. That was, until an update fixed the bug.
This was not the only fixed bug that I have encountered. Another bug was that the game would not always detect the Pad, so I had to unplug and plug back in the game pad in order for it to recognize it. That too was fixed.
Even with these fixed bugs, there is still a bug that I have encountered. This one is still occuring. For the level packs, one of the open world Gold Bricks that you can get requires you to collect all of the "Minikits" in the corresponding level. For example, there is a story-mode level called "Meltdown in Sector 7G". Once you collect all of the Minikits in this level, you can unlock an event within the Simpsons Open World.
The bug that I am seeing is that this event is not being unlocked, despite having all of the minikits for the level, as evidenced with the two screenshots below.
It did eventually unlock, but only after I got all of the Minikits in "The Mysterious Voyage of Homer" level as well.
I know the idea behind Lego Dimensions is to generate revenue by providing all of the Level, Team, and Fun Packs, but it can be out of reach for some. If there was one feature request I could make it would be provide a version of the game that allows people to buy just the Starter Pack, and play the game without having to purchase all of the extra items. These could be in-game purchases, or digital expansion packs. Even though the players might lose some of the new interactions with the Game Pad, it would allow for a broader audience to be reached.
There are two tips that I will provide that I have found make the game easier in general.
The first is to buy the DC Wonder Woman Fun Pack. She has the ability to fly, dive, and is invincible. For the younger kids, this will make things that much easier on them.
The second tip is to save up one million studs, locate the Red Brick in the "Lord of the Rings World". You will need a vehicle, like the Batmobile, to be able to chase down the Red Brick. This is the "Dwarf's Bounty" extra, which will provide 2x the studs, which will allow upgrades, and "Rule Breaker" to be completed quicker.
Overall, Lego Dimensions is a good Lego video game. Multiple open worlds, as well as the various tasks to do in the single player levels, will provide hours upon hours of playability. The major downside to the game is the cost to reach 100%. It may not be a goal that everyone strives for, since there is no record for the achievement if a player does reach that goal.
Lego Dimensions is the start to a new type of Lego-based video game. With a plethora of characters, no two games will be the same. Even with the bugs that occurred when the game was first released, it has become quite solid and well worth the investment. If you are a parent, it is probably something you should think about beforehand, because the cost of the level packs and characters can quickly become an expense. Even so, with a small investment of $150 (including the starter pack), the game can provide enough fun for everybody.