|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, 3DS, PSP, DS|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales|
|Pub: Disney Interactive Studios|
|Release: May 10, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comic Mischief, Cartoon Violence|
Though much has been improved for LEGO Pirates and the experience certainly stands head and shoulders above the last few LEGO outings, there are still some issues that prevent this game from being as awesome as it could have been. Though combat and puzzle-solving work well, extensive platforming sections suffer from poor visual design and a camera that just doesn't like to cooperate. Running through hidden areas is particularly exhausting. The camera won't follow you in, and you'll frequently run up against objects you can't even see. And even when you can see, it's sometimes hard to judge jumping distance. This can result in a lot of frustration when you are trying to clear challenging areas and you have to go through the character reset over and over again.
Another issue in LEGO Pirates is the A.I. Conventional wisdom says you should play this game with a friend, but the game doesn't have an online co-op mode. If you can't find somebody to sit next to you, you're out of luck. And that can be a deal-breaker in LEGO Pirates, as the A.I. is so bad it sometimes feels like it works against you. Need another character to pull a switch? They'll walk the other way. Trying to walk across a narrow ledge? All your A.I. characters will want to give you a hug and knock you right off. This is less of an issue if you are playing with a friend. (Occasionally a "third wheel" character will bump into you, but it doesn't happen that often.) If your only option is to play by yourself, however, prepare for some severe annoyances with the A.I. You may just want to grab a second controller and play as both characters, which is actually a lot less frustrating then waiting for the A.I. to trigger an event.
Visually, LEGO Pirates is on par with its immediate predecessors. The different environments have a very polished look, and the animated cutscenes feature extremely smooth animation with a great plastic look. Sound is also top-notch in LEGO Pirates, though hopefully you are ready to hear the Pirates' main theme quite a lot. Voiceovers, as usual, are minimal—with characters only making non-word vocalizations during animation sequences—but are still very entertaining.
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean is a great LEGO game, and certainly proves that the LEGO franchise is still capable of innovation. Though I was disappointed by last month's LEGO Star Wars III, LEGO Pirates has restored my faith in the series. And with four different movies to play through, as well as plenty of hidden areas and collection quests to complete, there's quite a bit of content to plunder in LEGO pirates. So if ye be lookin' for family-friendly fare, and ye ain't afraid of some treacherous waters, than you can procure yourself a copy of LEGO Pirates and have a rollicking good time! Savvy?
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer