Monday, November 2, 2015

Lego my Dinosaur Eggo: Lego Jurassic World (Wii U) Review


Overview

Never in his wildest dreams could John Hammond have imagined such a thing was possible.  A world not just of living, breathing dinosaurs, but of LEGO dinosaurs!

Welcome to Lego Jurassic World!

*Cue inspiring John Williams music*

"Jurassic Park Theme"

Ah yes, truly a movie for the ages, filled with moments of intense awe and boundless wonder....  

Not to mention kick-butt action and dinos gobbling guests like they were so much snack food.  Naturally a franchise that was box office gold and spawned multiple sequels was going to the video game treatment, and thankfully for us we are far enough forward in the timeline so LJN no longer poses a threat.  Not that we haven't seen our share of lackluster movie tie-ins for the Jurassic films, but that in my opinion they never felt like they were scraping the bottom of the barrel.  So when Jurassic World came out in summer of 2015 and made box office billions, it was only natural we'd see a video game made from it to further cash in on the popularity.

What game did we get from the Jurassic juggernaut? 

Que Lego Jurassic World, another entry from the gang at TT Games that has brought you every other Lego-themed game that's come out over the past decade.  Not that this is a criticism mind you, just that they've put out these games for a while now.  So how does this particular entry rate?


Control

As always, the control scheme for the Lego games remains easy to adapt to and a joy to use.  Admittedly, I was a little lost at first on how to control my character, but that's entirely my fault as roughly a year, possibly more, has passed since the last time I played a Lego video game.  This wasn't really a problem though because familiarizing myself with the style of control was a quick refresher and soon I was smashing every object in site in my quest to collect every possible Lego bit I could get my little, yellow claw hands on. 


Graphics and Style

 I still remember when I played the very first Lego game, Lego Star Wars, and was thoroughly impressed with how much the blocks mimicked the real deal.  10 years on and I can say it looks just as good, and even better than ever.  Funny how in other games having a character that looks a bit on the plasticy side would be considered a detriment.  Here though, TT Games shows they've really perfected their craft over time.  The greater hardware power has allowed TT Games to make the Lego blocks seem ever more like the blocks I frequently find strewn about the floor of my home.  Thankfully I usually have bare feet and can find those almost as quickly as I find hidden blocks in the game.

As far as style goes, just like the various other installments in the Lego video game franchise, you find yourself exploring a cutesy-fied Lego version of the various Jurassic Park movies.  Everything not only looks like Lego blocks, but the programmers got really creative in the ways that objects around the game are built.  It's just like seeing what you would do in real life if you had a set of Legos that you were using to build a Jurassic World Lego set.


Music and Sound

You can't go wrong with a classic John Williams soundtrack, and the theme music from Jurassic Park is about as iconic as they come.  The world might be made of Legos, but they don't pull any punches and those tunes are great to hear whatever the back drop.  I don't feel the need to include a music clip here as most of you should already own the original Jurassic Park soundtrack and if you don't, shame on you!  Stop missing out and grab a copy or download it today.  Seriously!  This music is just awesome.  Anywho--

Making a return to the Lego video game franchise are those familiar clacking and clicking sounds as you build, or destroy, various Lego creations throughout the game.  There's something cathartic about the building noises and I absolutely love hearing them every time I play.  However, I will say that I'm not a huge fan of how they sample actual movie audio for the game.  The first Lego games had a "Sims-like" speech and made funny noises rather than talk, and I liked the goofy charm that it added to the game.  Some how it just doesn't feel as cute with the actual dialogue there.  Speaking of speaking, so to speak, I'm not a big fan of how random NPC Lego people have "funny" dialogue they sometimes babble.  The humor is really hit or miss and it just seems to lack the charm of the goofy "Lego-speak" from the original PS2 and Wii games.  While I appreciate the designers trying something new, it just feels unnecessary.


Gameplay

By now the premise feels as welcome and familiar as a favorite t-shirt, or in this case movie.  It's still as fun as ever to control your little Lego characters and act out the movie in Lego form while completing various building (and destroying) tasks.  I like that they don't just drop you off at the beginning of the action from Jurassic World, but instead they have you play through the original Jurassic Park story from the very first moment on that dark and stormy night when raptors were transferred to their cages--to the those final moments of Jurassic World which...

 I won't spoil if you haven't seen the movie yet.

You manipulate various Lego-style characters, taking advantage of their individual abilities to overcome obstacles and, as you progress in the game, revisit certain areas with new characters you've unlocked which will allow you to explore previously unreachable areas.  It's fun and easy to switch between various characters and see how they react to various situations in their little Lego world.

It's like taking playing pretend to a whole other level.

Final Thoughts

One might think the Lego games would have overstayed their welcome at this point.  From Lego Indiana Jones, to Lego Harry Potter, to Lego Hobbit, to...well--it seems like if it was a family-friendly major movie blockbuster, it had a Lego game made of it.  I look forward to playing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it comes out as well!  

Although you could probably make the case that every Lego game is essentially the same game only with a different skin--it still feels fun and fresh every time.  Admittedly, there are some changes that have come along that I'm not overly found of.  The voice acting is okay, but the dialogue just gets a little annoying at times.  Sometimes the cameras aren't placed as effectively as they could be, which sometimes leads to "found" set of Lego nibs you didn't know were there and that makes you want to run into corner walls just to sure you didn't miss anything.

Overall, if you loved the previous Lego games, you'll love this one too and should pick it up.  True, it's more of the same.--but dang it, if sports fans can get over a dozen Madden games I should be able to get my goofy Lego game a few times over, right?



My Take On That

Graphics/Style  10/10
Music and Sound 8/10
Control and Gameplay  9/10

Overall Score: 9/10

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