The idea of a Toys-to-Life video game seems like the perfect fit for LEGO. They have been letting us play as toys for years now with their many LEGO games, and most LEGO fans are addicted to collecting. So LEGO Dimensions has been highly anticipated by LEGO enthusiasts and it’s finally arrived. How does it stack up against our expectations? Here are my thoughts.
I’ll first admit that I’m not a huge fan of the LEGO games this is based on. I have several, but have only completed the Marvel one, and that was because I had a friend to play it through with. Alone, they feel rather tedious. The basic premise is some story that takes you through levels where you have to use the various skills of particular characters to solve puzzles. I always felt the actual gameplay aspect was a bit light, almost non-existent. There are some racing and combat side missions usually, and you often have a barrage of enemy attacks while you try to solve your puzzle, but the main focus is on the puzzle solving. The big positive in these games has been the enormous amount of content and collectibles. The Marvel one alone probably had at least 100 unlockable playable characters.
LEGO Dimensions is a unique game, especially getting into it. I sat down to play, but instead of getting to play the game, I had to build. Early on you’ll spend a lot of time building your portal base, your minifigures, and their gear/vehicles. Once it’s all built, though, you can sit back and play a video game. The game itself is essentially a mashup of the various LEGO games, with all the franchises crossing over. For instance, Lex Luthor invades the Ninjago realm in the story and you have to deal with him. It also has free roam worlds for the individual franchises. These let you explore and complete missions at your own pace with no particular goal other than completion. The original LEGO games often had these as the neutral hub from where the characters would enter into the story missions. In Marvel, for instance, it was New York City. In one of the Star Wars, it was the Mos Eisley Cantina.
And speaking of Marvel and Star Wars, one of the biggest disappointments in the game is the lack of Disney properties. It’s not surprising, since LEGO Dimensions is a direct competitor to Disney Infinity. So I can’t imagine Disney ever licensing its property for use in LEGO Dimensions. That’s a shame considering some of my favorite LEGO licensed themes are Disney. Given this problem, I was disappointed that LEGO did not have many of its original properties available. No LEGO City or Pirates, for example. They did include Chima and Ninjago, but like LEGO as a whole, this game is suffering from an over-dependence on licensed property.
That being said, a lot of the licensed property is pretty awesome! In what game would you be able to have Jurassic World and The Simpsons and Ghostbusters?
While the game does have a lot of levels/worlds to play through and explore, I feel like the character offering is rather lacking. A few franchises, such as Ninjago and DC Comics, have a ton of packs available to buy. While others, like Scooby Doo and the Wizard of Oz, only have one. The good news is that LEGO made this a game that requires an Internet connection, and that likely means they plan on add-ons. Whereas Disney Infinity has had to relaunch every year with a new version, I’m expecting LEGO Dimensions to update free of charge and instead release new LEGO Dimensions packs to unlock the new content.
Speaking of unlocking, the game definitely needs more unlockable rewards and trophies. It feels like there isn’t much to work toward, other than tediously gathering studs (coins) and minikits. There are only 14 red bricks that unlock special “cheat modes”. In Disney Infinity for example, you are always leveling up your character and improving their skills, even specializing them yourself. And you have an almost endless number of toys to buy in their Toy Store that you can use to build in your own created world. LEGO Dimensions however just has arbitrary goals to complete because they’re goals. I want to see some real rewards, some unlockables I can put to good use. You can upgrade your gear/vehicles by paying studs, but I’m disappointed there is no way of upgrading the characters themselves. I’d love to be able to make Owen into a real badass.
One reason there isn’t much in the way of rewarding unlockables is there would be nothing to do with them. There is no creative build mode like Disney Infinity’s Toy Boxes, or LEGO Universe’s personal properties. This is something LEGO Dimensions desperately needs.
Another important feature that is missing is online multiplayer. I don’t believe any of the LEGO games have ever had this, and it will likely not be a priority for the LEGO Dimensions team. However, as I said in the beginning, these games are really tedious alone. And limiting your gameplay companions to the people close enough to sit on your couch isn’t great for everyone. I really hope they’ll work on online multiplayer for a future update.
The base is a big improvement on what Disney Infinity has done, with a lot more variety. There are a total of seven spots for characters and gear/vehicles. And it seems more responsive than Disney Infinity. The characters pop into the game almost immediately (jumping through a portal that appears in the game). Whereas Disney Infinity characters can often take a few seconds to materialize after being added onto the base. The base itself is also used as part of the gameplay, but I find this particularly confusing and an annoying hindrance at times. The way the base might work in one of the game’s puzzles isn’t immediately apparent, and can take some time to figure out. Maybe I’m just old, but it never feels right having to swap characters around in order to accomplish a goal in the game. I feel like the controller is the controller, and I’m not used to manipulating real world objects to play a video game. Sometimes this can be tough because of the design of the figures. I’m always knocking over or dropping the caped characters, for instance. Since my guy is usually getting shot on screen while I fiddle with the LEGO Dimensions base in the real world, it can be particularly frustrating.
Overall, I enjoy the game because it’s LEGO and there are a lot of fun universes (dimensions) to play in. The gameplay is the same as any other LEGO game, and we’re probably not getting a great deal considering those were about $60 each and all the content came with it, whereas LEGO Dimensions keeps you buying more and more while giving you less in game. But this is made up for by having real world figurines and LEGO blocks to play with and add to your collections. Is it a fair trade-off? Probably not, but it is LEGO so I’m going to spend all my money on it anyway.
- Strong franchises
- Great storytelling and humor
- Hours upon hours of gameplay
- Likely to have new content regularly
- Can play any character in any world
- Needs more LEGO originals
- No Disney/Marvel/Star Wars properties
- No creative/build mode
- No online multiplayer
- Using the base and figure positions for gameplay is confusing
- Not enough unlockables
- Can’t unlock everything without buying every accessory pack
Get yours on Amazon.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!