Game: Lego Worlds
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Console: PS4, Xbox One (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: March 10, 2017
**Disclaimer: Warner Bros. provided a free review copy of this game for the Xbox One.
In the current gaming landscape, we frequently get games more geared toward the “hardcore” gamer. Just in 2017 alone so far, we’ve been given Nioh, Horizon Zero Dawn, and For Honor — three games that are undeniably geared towards the serious gamer. Hell, even Breath of the Wild is more difficult and has a different tone that would appeal more to the frequent gamer, not the casual one.
So, it’s always refreshing to see a new game hit the market that does something to appeal to casuals, and if Lego Worlds does anything well, it certainly appeals to casuals. So, needless to say that we’ve been excited for LEGO’s latest to hit consoles, and we’ve been anticipating its release since its announcement, even including it on our list of the most anticipated games of 2017.
But was Lego Worlds worth waiting for, or is not what we had hoped for?
When you first jump into Lego Worlds, there’s certainly a lot to take in. First and foremost, the first few intro maps that you’ll play do a great job at introducing the game’s mechanics, basic quests, and the general flow of the game. By the time you reach the third world, you’ll likely have all of the tools you’ll have access to.
There’s a Build Tool, Copy Tool, Discovery Tool, Landscaping Tool, and more that you’ll use to complete various quests scattered around on each new world you visit. By completing these quests, you’ll earn gold bricks. Earn enough gold bricks, and you’ll unlock bigger worlds. Rinse, and repeat, and you’ve got yourself pretty much the full Lego Worlds experience.
And that’s the game’s first real problem; after about the fourth or fifth world, the quests start to feel repetitive, and more like a chore and less like you’re having fun. Where finding new gold bricks to earn and actually earning them was initially part of the excitement, it quickly becomes more of an annoyance.
On the contrary, using the Discovery Tool and finding new items that you can add to your worlds at any point you wish remains strong throughout the game’s entirety. The sheer number of items to discover is overwhelming, in a good way, and finding all of them in the game is going to be a completionist’s dream (or nightmare, depending on how you look at it).
Each unique type of world has a plethora of new discoveries for you to find, and many of them require quests to be completed before you can actually, officially discover them with your Discovery Tool.
There are numerous different worlds to discover with various biomes that contain their own unique items to discover. You’ll find a Fearsome Frontier set in a western world, a rainforest, a junkyard, polar plains, swamplands, snow-covered landscapes, and so many other different types of worlds with their own vibe. In these worlds, you’ll find new costumes, items, weapons, animals, and vehicles. I’ll also note that the sheer number of rideable vehicles contained in the game is one of its strong points — you can even ride a dragon!
Of course, if you were coming here for the cutesy comedy style frequently found in LEGO games and movies, there is some of that thrown in as well. It’s a bit more nuanced than you’d find in any of the scripted property-based LEGO games or movies, but it’s there if you’re looking hard enough.
Combat, on the other hand, is simply not there at all (read: it’s terrible). Generally speaking, it just doesn’t work how it should. The camera can be wonky when you’re trying to fight your foes (which range from zombies to criminals to pesky apes and everything in between). What’s more, switching to the weapons you want to use when you need to use it most is absolutely impossible, thanks to having to fumble through confusing menus and there not being a quick switch option (well, there is, but you can’t control that how you should, either). This wouldn’t be much of a problem given that it isn’t a combat heavy game, however, there are numerous gold bricks that have to go uncollected because you can’t fight off an attack quickly enough.
As far as having uncollected bricks, there are also a few glitchy situations where gold bricks might fall off a world’s edge after you’ve earned them, or into the water where you’re unable to pick it up. It’s frustrating to win a chase down or actually succeed in a combat situation for a gold brick, only to see that brick fall to an unreachable depth.
While the game does a great job in its few intro worlds, it does leave some key things out. For example, the fact that to properly loot underwater you’ll need to find an outfit for your Lego person that allows him/her to walk underwater (like a Skeleton or a diver). The game doesn’t tell you this, and honestly, I would’ve never thought to even try changing my outfit if I hadn’t looked it up on the game’s official forum.
But all of these minor issues are forgivable. Unfortunately, Lego Worlds‘ framerate issues are not. Although it’s not as noticeable in every world, there are certain biomes that appear to not handle framerate well (the junkyards and swamps were particularly choppy). Typically speaking, I’m one to be able to overlook minor framerate issues, but when a game’s framerate plays more like a sticky note flipbook than a full-motion video — as is the case here — it has to be docked some serious points. With the Xbox One version at least, it was too frequent an issue. (Note: we were playing on the Xbox One S).
Where LEGO Worlds is at its best is when you come across a new a world filled with new items to discover just when you think you’ve seen it all. Stumbling across a new vehicle you can ride (or, my personal favorite, a gorilla) is one of the game’s many high points. Its colorful landscapes built entirely of LEGOs and massive library of LEGO items you can use to create your own worlds are too bountiful to ignore. However, when you’re seeing a miserable 14 FPS and you’re unable to play smoothly, it’s a jarring experience that makes you never want to play with LEGOs again. If TT Games can swoop in with a patch of bug fixes, LEGO Worlds just might be a good Minecraft alternative. But until then, enter at your own risk.