Monday, April 5, 2010

Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (PS3)

Why did I buy a kid's game? Well, you see, all sorts of people whom I respect over on my favorite website suggest, in every game-related thread, that the Lego games are excellent and great light-hearted fun. And they're completely wrong. Wrong enough that I'm beginning to question their taste in general.

This game is garbage. I don't mean that it's juvenile and kiddy. I mean that it's not fun on any level.

I'm not sure what exactly I expected. I guess I expected that it'd be like Force Unleashed, slightly simplified for little hands, and thoroughly de-violenced. That's a reasonable expectation, right? But, instead, it's this nearly indescribable game-like thing. A pseudo-game.

First off, there is literally zero challenge. You cannot die. You cannot lose. You cannot be set back. If you are hit too many times, you fall apart, three seconds pass, and you are resurrected to exactly the same spot. Even as a child, I could cope with Sonic dying for the last time and having to start over. And because there was some feeling of risk, there was a feeling of reward when I finally triumphed.

There's some sort of mechanic wherein you collect coins during the level, and then lose coins for dying. So, in theory, you could say that the "challenge" in the game is to get as many coins as you can. But I can't find any use for the coins, or any reason to care about them. It's like getting the high score on an arcade machine set to free play... it shows resistance to tedium, not skill.

Lacking a challenge, I'd at least hope for some sort of spectacle or experience. But I'm disappointed on that front as well. Since it's a Lego game, the graphics are intentionally low-fi and plasticy. They're impressively photorealistic, though. They look exactly like photos of Lego.

The experience is horribly lacking as well. While the box gushed about more Force powers, they're all essentially identical. You press the circle button, and Force shit happens. Mostly what you'll be doing, though, is picking up Lego bricks and reassembling them. You achieve this by standing near the bricks and holding down the circle button until it's finished assembling. Exciting.

The combat is just as dull. You press the attack button, and the character attacks the nearest badguy (either with a lightsaber or a blaster). The attacks take forever to execute, so combat just drags. Also, getting around between combats drags, because all of your characters run like Jabba the Hutt.

There are some puzzles. Well, three types of puzzles repeated ad nauseum. 1) Use the correct kind of character to open a door; 2) Stand on a button; 3) Smash random set pieces until you find a pile of bricks, then reassemble them into a door panel. That last one is particularly obnoxious. I spent about ten minutes running around the first level bitching about lack of progress in a game made for children before I my wife told me I needed to use the Force on that particular pile of Lego rubble.

Anyway, don't buy this game. No, I don't care if you're the parent of a small child, enormously worried about the psychological and neurological effects of violent video games on young humans. If your kid is that young, and you're that worried, then you should just buy him or her a bigass set of actual Lego. You can get a fuckton of bricks for $60.

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