LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean review

  • The gorgeous settings
  • Collecting studs
  • "The Port"
  • Mind-numbing/melting puzzles
  • Formulaic gameplay
  • Platforming sections

Half the fun of the LEGO games is seeing how they’ll render new movie universes. While combining a film series based on a ride with a videogame series based on toys might sound like a recipe for the biggest sellout this side of a Gaga concert, the LEGO series wards off cynicism by the boatful. That is, unless you're hoping for a LEGO game you haven't already played.

Like every other LEGO game, you run dumpy LEGO people around like they’re madmen, swinging your weapon nonchalantly and destroying everything you come in contact with. Most of the terrain is destructible and you're rewarded for your transgressions with the whimsical spilling of LEGO studs (game currency), which allow you to purchase everything from cheats to costumes in the home base, called "The Port." Sure, we've done it before, but it's still fun.

See, like a child who watches the same film over and over, there's a small comfort in knowing if you've played one LEGO game you've played them all. Pirates doesn't make any attempts to reinvent the formula, but differentiates itself in a few small ways. For one, Pirates is certainly the most gorgeous LEGO game ever. From motion blur to pristine water reflections the scenery looks great comically juxtaposed with LEGO trees and impossibly stocky LEGO people. The game is also more difficult than its predecessors.

You’ll still reduce your enemies to piles of plastic and collect thousands of studs each level, but to unlock everything you’ll have to play through multiple times with unlockable characters. And then there are those puzzles. Nine times out of ten you'll soar through a level paying no head to your enemies and no attention to the puzzles. The answers are always right in front of you - break something, build something, fetch this, fetch that - most of the time its a stretch to qualify the puzzles as anything more than "actions."

Until the other 1/10th of puzzles, in which you’re expected to break some random object to find the thing you didn't know you were looking for. Onscreen prompts are rarely displayed, so you’ll run around spinning your arms like a windmill on PCP until you finally solve what was presumably designed as a simple puzzle in a children's game.

The barely-fighting, barely-solving puzzles formula has worked for every other LEGO game, but in the course of Pirates’ twenty lengthy missions, that formula loses its flavor. The single system co-op will have one player doing everything while the other stands around - and the sloppy platforming sections, or as we like to call them, "the only time you die," remain as unfixed as a newborn puppy.

There's still plenty of fun inside the good ship, especially in the excellent home base where unlockables are abundant, but the LEGO series seems to be losing its new toy shine. Pirates has its moments, but we’re ready to set sail in a new direction.

May 18, 2011

More Info

Release date: May 10 2011 - 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii
May 24 2011 - PC
May 10 2011 - DS (US)
May 13 2011 - 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, DS (UK)
Available Platforms: 3DS, PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, PC, DS
Published by: Disney Interactive Studios
Developed by: Traveller's Tales
Franchise: LEGO
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief


  • pottyaboutpotter1 - August 10, 2011 6:22 p.m.

    @Redeater "Let's examine that claim for a moment former Commodore shall we?" Movie franchises made into lego games Star wars Indiana Jones Batman Harry Potter Pirates of the Caribbean Franchises not made into lego games Lord of the rings spider-man Sherlock Homes James Bond Bourne Alien Superman Iron Man etc not exatly every movie franchise ver made is it?
  • NicVargus - May 19, 2011 10:33 p.m.

    @Thorstein - That's a great point. Unfortunately, he's not always a part of your party and lord knows he walks at a snails pace with that compass out.
  • jackthemenace - May 19, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    So, is it worth trading in Brink for huge amounts of money while I still can and getting this instead? ESPECIALLY since it's something I can play with my dad?
  • BurntToShreds - May 19, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    I need to play a new Lego game. I may get this.
  • austincharlesbond - May 19, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    I think I'll get Harry Potter first :)
  • Klodz - May 19, 2011 7:46 a.m.

    I haven't actually played a lego game since I got Lego Star Wars 2 and I think I might give this a go. One downside of the games is that they remind me of the pre-telltale lego games that I had when I was young, which were mostly absolute crap. Lego Drome Racer anyone?
  • Spybreak8 - May 19, 2011 4:40 a.m.

    Would have loved Armada of the Damned even though I haven't played it. Seriously it sounded really good with the moral decisions they had to create a branching story.
  • Redeater - May 19, 2011 12:33 a.m.

    @HaVoK308 Wow son you have some anger issues to deal with. Last time I checked opinions were still subjective. In a market that is saturated with annual/half year/ quarterly releases I was just suggesting that perhaps they shouldn't make a Lego game out of every movie franchise ever made. Do you not find it strange that Lego Rock Band came out? The irony should be pretty obvious if you look at Guitar Hero or Rock Band this year.......oh yeah... I suggest you take your own advice and realize that there are people who don't have to share your views. Kids these days. :)
  • Tronto13 - May 19, 2011 12:04 a.m.

    I got this today and love it :) I love all of them except the star wars ones which just dont gel with me. Personally i dont find them that samey, mainly due to the new features, background and abilities in each franchise
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - May 18, 2011 11:57 p.m.

    I played the demo, and was stunned by how good it looked.
  • HaVoK308 - May 18, 2011 11:18 p.m.

    @Redeater How does the making of these games effect you? People like you make absolutely no sense. You think the gaming world revolves around you. If a game does not interest you it shouldn't exist. That is a ignorant and pretentious mindset. There is currently thousands if not millions of people who enjoy the Lego games. You would rather shit on their fun to ease your own dysfunctional ego?
  • mockraven - May 18, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    @NightCrawler_358 I second that motion for a Lego: Lord of the Rings. I enjoy the games a lot. They're simple and entertaining as breaks or transitions between some of the more difficult, heavily story-based, or in-depth games. They're fun for mindless running around without having to worry about getting that perfect score, time, or figuring out some elusive puzzle where the answer's right there but I've been focused on the puzzle too long to see it. Also the Lego games are always fun for at-home co-op. I like them for what they are: Mindless, destructive fun with re-imagined scenes taken from popular movie franchises.
  • NightCrawler_358 - May 18, 2011 10:16 p.m.

    I won't be getting this, but it looks better than Lego Indiana Jones 2 and Lego Batman. its true the novelty is wearing off, but its cool playing as toys I played with as a young'un. Although I will certainly buy a Lego Lord of the Rings game!
  • Redeater - May 18, 2011 9:53 p.m.

    I wish they would stop making these games. The novelty wore off a long time ago.

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