Tying-in with the release of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, LEGO has created another video game masterpiece that chronicles the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow and the rest of his crew. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean spans the entire breadth and width of the series starting from the first movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, all the way to the latest installation, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The game’s hook involves using cute LEGO version models of characters and objects. The tiny and attractive LEGO blocks are contrasted with amazing 3D backdrops spanning gorgeous locales and vicinities. This distinction of foreground and background makes the graphics extremely top notch.
In the game, you control mini LEGO figures of characters from the film’s cast including Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean doesn’t use any dialogue to further the story. Rather, it introduces charming, comedic cutscenes and cartoony actions which includes grunts, facial expressions, and slapstick humor. Once in a while, a storytelling bit involving paper characters and backgrounds appears and adds more charisma to this already elegant game.
The gameplay is a lighthearted romp throughout most of the four films locales including the Port Royal, Shipwreck Cove, the Black Pearl, and the streets of London. The players smash destroyable objects, collect items, and engage in lighthearted swashbuckling with a bevy of colorful enemies such as skeletons, soldiers, and bosses in over 20 wonderful levels.
The player can alternate using key characters of the film. Most of them have unique abilities that are required to get past puzzle obstacles and trigger events. With a full cast of over seventy characters, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean made sure not to exclude any fan of the series.
With no dialogue whatsoever, the game struggles with conveying the plot, especially in later levels. The first three films were hard enough to follow, but the game will have you scratching your head in some areas, especially in the fourth adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, whose movie counterpart was not yet released at the time of the game’s distribution.
Sloppy puzzles are a major drawback. Oftentimes, the game presents basic puzzle solving sequences which really don’t pose much of a challenge. Helpful indicators such as flashing arrows and icons make sure you never get stuck. Inexplicably, there are some levels wherein these indicators don’t appear at all. This leads to wandering the same area doing trial-and-error until you figure out what the game wants you to do. Other areas require specific characters in order to progress. Without hints, you’re left to figure this out on your own with the same do-everything-until-something works approach.
The AI is also poorly programmed. The Pirates LEGO Wii game allows the player to travel with a group of computer controlled characters. Oftentimes, the AI characters get stuck in some areas which lead to frustration. There are also instances where they crowd around the player in an elevated platform and literally push the character off the ledge. Having AI allies is always a good thing, but this game will frequently make you wish you were alone.
The Wii Pirates LEGO game is best played with the drop-in and drop-out multiplayer coop feature it offers. The major drawback is that there is no internet multiplayer option. Oftentimes, you’ll want to play with someone who is geographically distant, so the multiplayer option falls short. In addition to the exploration, combat, puzzles, and free play, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is chock full of explosive and enjoyable content.
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean has some genius moments which make it better than the films it mimics. Some game segments are incredibly endearing and addicting. However, the overall quality is marred by poor puzzle sequences, mind-numbing AI, and lack of Internet multiplayer. Overall, the Wii LEGO Pirates game still packs quite a punch, although you’d wish it struck harder.