Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developers: Traveller’s Tales/TT Games
Available for PC, PS4, Xbox One & Switch
(Reviewed on PC With Press Code)
In the case of PC’s there was an Early Access version of “Lego Worlds” that seemed to be the stick in the mud for many people on first release. I can see why, with the style of the game changing from an open world exploration to a planet based adventurer. But I can also see why TT changed it. I spent some time talking about this in a video but just want to point some acknowledgement toward it here as it’s something that has to be talked about regarding the PC version of the game.
Now on to the rest of the review;
There is one phrase that can sum up all versions of the game, “Perfect Parity”. Or at least something toward that is attempted. The game designs peg has be made in a way to fit in all of the platforms holes with little to no changing. What this means is that the version you play on whatever platform is largely going to be the same with every other version. Not just in the usual multi-platform way. I think the PC version and the Xbox console version is exactly the same besides the added keyboard key graphics. They could of just left those in the Xbox version and as there’s no keyboard it just never comes up so it really could be exactly the same. It plays like it.
By that I mean that the controls of the game head toward the more generic, all system style of control rather then adding the advantages of either. There are differences of controlling via a keyboard and via a controller. One has many buttons but their not spread in an even manner across both hands that’s intuitive but it has pointing precision through the mouse. The other has less buttons but they’re laid out better over both hands but lack overall moving precision because of the joysticks. So, if you have a PC controller, you’ll end up doing the half and half use, using the mouse to navigate menus and for selection and using the controller for the platforming and camera. What complicates it is the brick-by-brick building. This is where the precision of the mouse really strives so you’ll end up using a mouse over a controller, making jumping to and from the controller even more jarring.
The main reason for the controller preference in some areas is for the camera control. On a controller it’s the normal left stick move, right stick camera set up. Transferring that over to mouse and keyboard usually sets up WASD in place of the left stick and mouse as the right. But because of the heavy push to the building modes and with so many menus to navigate (everything is sub-menued through a main Tab menu) the mouse only becomes the right stick when holding the right mouse button. It’s unintuitive for a keyboard/mouse set up as the precision of the mouse is lost when you have to hold down a button (especially the right button) but it’s a solution to a problem that ends up being an undercurrent of the game, some really questionable design.
For example, the sub-menuing of everything ends up being an issue as some of the building tools can just be combined to a sole “building mode”. There’s the brick-by-brick tool, the copy tool and a landscape tool that can all be combined. The Discovery tool already pulls double duty by being the find and build pre-builds and spawn minifigurers tool so why not just combine all the building tools into one. The whole Tab sub-menu could just be shrunk to to the 1-2-3-4 hot keys with Personalize, Inventory, Discovery Tool and a Building Mode.
Looking the game game as a whole, the controls and all the issues that comes with it ends up being like a stone in your shoe. You know it’s there the whole time and at times it’s more then irritating. But you can still move and do wonderful things. There’s an effectively unlimited selection of worlds, once you get to the point of building your own huge worlds after about 20+ hours and after you get 100 gold (unlocking point) bricks. Then that’s combined with the ‘digital Lego’ aspect, that being you can edit the world and build down to the size a stud (about 1/8th of the normal 4 brick) with infinite bricks. You can build to such small and intricate detail as well as building to a huge scale as you can in a voxel/block game.
It does end up having the issue that games like this end up having at some point or another and that’s ‘what do I do now?’ syndrome, (much like physical Lego). After some time it falls to you to make your own fun by building or doing what you cant to do. But I can’t really myself faulting a Lego game for telling you to build things. It’s just not a narrative Lego game like “Undercover” or the movie tie-in games.
But other then those gripes, the game is fantastic. It makes the bad issues stick out all the more when combined with the good like the solid building modes, the scale of the worlds, the overall look, design and feel of the game. You really do feel like these worlds are really Lego worlds inhabited with living, digital Lego. In a way it wasn’t what I was expecting, but I really do adore it. If your a fan of the building games like Minecraft or Starbound, or just a fan of Lego more generally, get this game right now because (after the nitpicks) it is fantastic.