As with the LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 game we also reviewed this month LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is based on the films of the same name, more specifically it depicts the action from all the four films ("Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl", "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides") and each chapter represents a number of levels (with something like 20+ in total) that you can sink your LEGO teeth into.
For us the game was far better than the Harry Potter LEGO universe we explored previously. From the moment you start, and the first cut-scene kicks in, we were surprised at just how well the developers had managed to capture the spirit of the lead character “Jack Sparrow”.
In-game he runs and wobbles just like Jack does in the films and even though he doesn’t speak in human tongue (most of the LEGO characters just hmmm and errmm) they have almost captured the same voice tones of the iconic character and this certainly created plenty of laughs.
Graphics in-game are also top draw with most of the scenes depicted from the film replicated in all their LEGO glory. The plot of the game obviously follows that of the films but it has been tweaked slightly to accommodate the two-player option (the other player takes on a range of different roles i.e. Will Turner or Elizabeth Swann, though it depends on the stage you reach in the game).
Each level also contains a variety of different puzzles that require a lot of team work to complete - which is possibly one of the reasons why we enjoyed this game so much.
On top of this there is plenty of LEGO smashing to be done. Any object destroyed reveals a range of pieces that can be saved and then used later on to buy items from the port (more on this below) or more importantly go towards gaining the title of "True Pirate" at the end of each level.
Unlike Harry Potter your LEGO character smashes the objects in a more satisfying way with either his sword, gun or fists. LEGO objects can also be re-built to help you scale new parts of the level or complete puzzles.
There is so much variation (in terms of action/puzzle solving) and attention to detail that goes into each level that you never feel bored.
One level requires that you rescue your crew and each character then brings to the table a new set of tools and abilities which you need to invest in. For example some have guns that are required to shoot down obstacles in your path, while others are used to crawl through tiny spaces.
Additionally you also get to use mounted canons to take out obstacles or work on building catapults to defeat large sea creatures!
The variation in the game is definitely helped by the many locations that the developers had to work with and because there is a supernatural element in place you can get away with a lot more from your fight scenes - which there are plenty of!
Head Back To Port
At times you can return to port in order to go back into the game to replay previously completed levels. The reason being is that some portions can’t be completed unless you have unlocked different characters (the port allows you to buy these). This element, along with the collection of LEGO pieces, certainly helps with the longevity of the game. However the main storyline is still not that long, though in fairness there are still plenty of hours of fun to be had and compared to modern day games such as COD MW3 - with its measly 6 hours of single player campaign - it far exceeds this amount.
Gripes & Summary
Our only gripe with the game is the same one leveled at the Harry Potter LEGO game. The camera angels are still bad in places, and while you have the seamless split screen for multiplayer, those pesky camera angles certainly can get in the way of your fun - i.e. sometimes you think you are on a ledge when you are really nowhere near it!
However the game was certainly the best LEGO game we have played to date (though we have not reviewed them all we have certainly played most of them), it has great graphics, plenty of variation and most of all it's really good fun!