|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: NetDevil||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 26, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: MMO||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Sometimes you find inspiration where you would never think to look for it. In this case, LEGO Universe inspires me to be kid again. This is a game that I would probably never consider playing. It's obviously aimed at a young audience (E 10+), but it's designed to be enjoyed by all. I did have fun, much more than expected. How much enjoyment you extract will be determined by your ability to not pre-determine the gameplay. Just experience it for what it is. It's not the greatest game, and there are some technical glitches that are certain to confuse, confound, and anger, but the overall experience is quite satisfying.
Who doesn't like building things? Kids build sandcastles and adults build additions on their home, or at the very least play a part in the design. In LEGO Universe you'll get to satisfy all aspects of constructive creativity from meticulously placing thousands of individual virtual blocks to having a design created for you instantly. There are lots of things to build, lots of things to build them with, and lots of ways to build them. The next thing you'll probably want to know is why do you want to build anything in the first place? First of all, it's fun, and secondly, you have to follow an interactive story with a variety of objects to complete if you want to unlock all of the goodies. And let me add, you don't have to pick up all the LEGOs off the floor and put them away in a pail when you're done for the day.
LEGO Universe is a MMO: it's played online with other people. There is a ten-dollar per month fee, and at this time it's possible to complete most of the challenges within an intense weekend. As with traditional MMOs, you can expect more content in the future. Personally, I think a few weekends is enough.
The gameplay is an amalgam of platforming, puzzle-solving, action-adventure, combat, and RPG. There is a lot of freedom in the game to explore, experiment, and build. Some may think it lacks structure. But as a MMO it doesn't follow a linear, single-player format. There are different ways to enhance your character which will be determined by what you accomplish, what you collect, and what you choose to purchase. You can chat with other online players, perform some trading, and compete in a few mini-games. There are some instances where you'll band together to defeat monsters or construct a monolith, but the majority of the time you're on your own.
Missions include plenty of fetch quests, combat, puzzle-solving, racing, mini-games, and LEGO construction. Your LEGO world has been shattered into pieces by an evil force created by Imagination. This Imagination is a powerful force used throughout the game to help you construct various buildings, vehicles, and other items. Think of it as your currency. As you explore the fragments of your shattered world, you will encounter various quests as well as enemies. Armed with a shield, health, weapons, and Imagination, you will complete quests and destroy enemies that will shatter into collectable blocks.
There isn't a complex leveling as in traditional RPGs, but you will acquire upgraded weapons, shields, and accessories that will distinguish your character from newbies. Collect coins to purchase upgrades and weapons from NPCs. You will also need to keep your health up. If it's drained, then you'll need to be rebuilt. This is going to cost you in Imagination.