Guys, I’ve got a confession to make. I love Legos! I am well past the recommended age range on the box, but I still love playing with them. My son is 5 and has really only recently started getting into the regular size Legos and I honestly couldn’t be happier about it. Whenever he gets to pick out a toy and he chooses a Lego set I skip down the aisle hand in hand with him. I can tell he’s beginning to realize his parents are nerds, but he seems OK with it. Its cool. He gets me.
Five year olds are like that. Now the Lego video games on the other hand always made me feel much less enthusiastic. As a parent, all I could see is product placement. Until my son asked me to play one with him I had zero interest in any of these titles. But you know what? Looks can be deceiving and these games are actually pretty dang fun. So naturally, all three members of my family, myself included, were stoked to see that in July of this year Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Game would be free with the games with Gold on the Xbox.
It was originally for the Xbox 360 but hooray for backwards compatibility! Really it hasn’t been sitting in my backlog for very long and it certainly wasn’t lack of desire that kept me from playing it. It was mostly just a case of it getting picked over for other games. That and my son was still hardcore into Lego Batman. He was much less enthused about playing Lego Pirates of the Caribbean with me, especially since he discovered the all encompassing world of MineCraft, so I ended up playing more by myself than with him. I will say that with this game single player is the way to go, but more on that later.
The packaging for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean is much like the other Lego titles in that it doesn’t spark much interest in me. I mean the games are meant for all ages so a kid might think they are more fun looking than I do, but I’ve got M rated games to make my eyes sparkle, with their glorious M rated content splashed all over the box art.
These games’ box art is meant to draw a kid’s eye. Show off their favorite characters or just interesting subject matter if they haven’t seen the movies. My son hasn’t seen Jurassic Park or any of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies but the content is interesting enough for him to be easily drawn to it. Who doesn’t like dinosaurs or pirates amiright?
The best part of this game, much like the other Lego titles, is that the developers really put in an effort to make the games playable regardless of your age. The puzzles are fun and engaging but not overly challenging. Sometimes it was more a matter of it not being clear as to what I had to do that kept me at a puzzle longer than intended and sometimes it was just me being dense…or tired. Parents are like that.
For my son, on the other hand, who can’t read yet it was really nice that most, if not all, of the puzzles included visual cues and pictures to show what needed to be done or collected in order to complete an area.
From what I remember of the movies the game’s story-line seems to follow them pretty closely, with some changes of course since this is a game meant for kids. My personal favorite is how they swapped out alcohol for tea. The pirates are all dancing and singing and staggering around in taverns while barmaids pour them tea from teapots. Good job Disney! Also, anyone that appeared hanged was still alive and waving, but just a skeleton now instead. Good job Disney?
Either way both my son and I walked away emotionally unscathed; him for not seeing anything unsavory and me for not having to explain my way out of anything unsavory he may have seen.
Some major flaws I would say this game brings to the table are few but worth mentioning. No lie, multiplayer made me motion sick at times. The “split screen” will change depending on where each player is in the stage. If you are near each other then there is no division but if you separate at all that divider bar spins around like a compass as you swashbuckle your way around the stage.
This feature is something I, thankfully, haven’t seen in the other Lego titles I’ve played. Lego Batman multiplayer just tethers the players together and you can’t go too far out of each other’s reach, which can be annoying in its own right but at least is doesn’t make make me wanna yak afterwards.
Another flaw which I have noticed, that spans across all the Lego games,is that the camera angles often make any task requiring depth perception downright infuriating. Trying to walk across thin platforms or swing from place to place often resulted in a moment of silence for my irritated nerves. Naturally, this was also a big, frustrating deterrent for my son whose coordination isn’t that great in life yet, let alone in video games.
I will say that each individual Lego title, in its own right, is a great adventure especially if you are playing with a kid, but i wouldn’t recommend making a marathon of these games as they tend to be a little rinse and repeat with their game formats. Lego Batman was a much bigger franchise and therefore much more elaborate with its puzzles and designs and characters, while Lego Pirates of the Caribbean was more meant to be an accompaniment to the release of the fourth movie. This lead to a much more watered down version of what Lego games often entail.
Despite a few issues encountered throughout our playthrough though, when I asked my son what he thought he gave the game two little, peanut-buttery thumbs up and I’m not inclined to disagree. We had fun playing it both together and separately, aside from the nausea inducing split screen, and definitely look forward to playing more Lego titles in the very near future.