Recently there have been a lot of activity in the videogame industry. AAA titles galore, as well as a steady stream of quality indie projects have made the spring of 2017 unusually busy for the gaming world. The industry is booming with great games and great experiences. In fact, some of the titles are doomed to be ignored, forgotten or overlooked. Why? Reasons vary. After all, gamers don’t have infinite finances, and when they have to choose, they will likely choose their Zeldas and Horizons. And titles such as Lego Worlds are often overlooked or ignored.
How many of you even knew about the release of Lego Worlds? Or even cared? I bet not many. In fact, not even Lego nor Warner Bros. cared. They were almost no ads, nobody tried spread the word. It’s been two weeks after the release, and only a handful of journalists have gotten their review copies. It’s very chaotic – just like the game. But you have to embrace this chaos – and here’s why.
There have been a lot of misunderstanding about this game. Is it new or is it old? For more than half a year gamers had the opportunity to play the Early Access version, and most have tired of it since. That version was like a big sandbox. People used to call it “Lego Minecraft”, and they had a point. It was just like that: huge, boundless and hopelessly goalless. But unlike Minecraft, there was no ability to create huge cities, and the tools for creating were much more limited. It was cute – but that’s it.
After a while, the creators of the game – the good old TT games – decided to make drastic changes. Gone were the endless planets and meaningless gameplay. People needed not just a sandbox – they needed a full-fledged game. A game with quests, collectibles and some kind of structure.
And so the game that’s been released in 2017 fixed all of the issues. Some liked the changes, some didn’t. In Lego Worlds you no longer can create anything right off the bat – now you have to work for it. In the beginning, player has almost nothing safe for a couple of standard bricks. No use trying to create Millennium Falcon with that. When I bought the game, I expected to make all kinds of comparisons with Minecraft, but I was totally surprised when the game that kept coming into my head turned out to be No Man’s Sky! Like, what?
You see, this final version of Lego Worlds is a game about exploration, and then, maybe, building. In order to open the limitless sandbox, you have to play for at least 30 hours. Everything is gated – bricks, characters, biomes, buildings etc. In the beginning, you have almost nothing – even basic tools have to be won. It’s easy, mind you, and you can start creating by the 10-hour mark. Still, the emptiness of your inventory will haunt you and make you explore more and more. It’s the exploration that will make you fall in love with the game – or completely loathe it.
And it’s this exploration that reminds me so much of No Man’s Sky. A spaceship, a huge number of explorable procedurally generated worlds… it is the No Man’s Sky I’ve been looking for all these months! I mean I’ve never been so motivated by that game – everything there felt like a chore, while in Lego Worlds everything has a meaning, a reason. You can see your inventory growing and your powers of creation expanding. Let me tell you, it is a great feeling.
Of course, not everyone will be pleased with these shifts in the gameplay. Many gamers just want to create stuff with Lego bricks – and I understand that. In fact, this game badly needs a creative mode – just like in No Man’s Sky. Yes, that game again. Without the Creative mode, the game is way too huge and long for someone who has no interest in finding everything brick by brick. I liked it, but there should always be a choice.
In Lego Worlds, you have to find a lot of things. First and most important is to collect 100 gold bricks which will unlock a lot of stuff: starting with a camera and ending with the ability to create a world of your choosing. When you collect all gold bricks, you can say that you’ve finished the game, but that’s not strictly true. You still might not have all of the bricks and buildings and characters – those are obtained differently. Gold bricks can be found in chests, they can be given by NPC, they can be won or you can take them from the Troublemakers – despicable little creatures which roam all of Lego Worlds worlds (sorry) and mock you until you catch them. These pesky goblins always carry something with them – sometimes a new type of brick, sometimes a gold brick. In the beginning, you can get a lot of gold bricks from them, but after a while they will only carry new brick types (Lego Worlds is all about the bricks, if you haven't noticed).
Chests are littered all around Lego Worlds. They are high, they are low, they can be hidden or be in plain sight. Sometimes (oftentimes) you have to dig for them, and that can be tedious, especially considering the fact that they are buried dip, dig underground. Like, planet core deep. Inside are gold bricks (in the beginning), buildings, objects and other useful stuff.
So, you can discover new objects (like cars and windows), new types of bricks, new buildings, gold bricks… but that’s not all still. There are also legendary coordinates which lead to some legendary (duh) bricks. Now, those are tricky, because every set of coordinates consist of 4 pieces all of which when constructed create… a QR code! In a videogame. We’ve seen QR codes in games, of course (I’m looking at you, Deus Ex), but they are usually never used for something so important. These are not for a companion app or for some bonus; no, they are needed to 100% the game. Bizarre decision, that.
No game is devoid of problems, and Lego Worlds has a bunch of them. No matter what you think about the game’s structure, some things here are downright unforgivable. Let’s start with bugs. There are a lot of bugs. While TT Games has never been known for its super polished glitch-free games, it never released something quite as broken as Lego Worlds. Like a girlfriend with a bad attitude, you endure it because you like it too much, but at some point the harsh truth has to be acknowledged: Lego Worlds is pretty much broken. No one had it worse than Xbox users who repeatedly reported corrupted game saves. TT Games said they’ve fixed the issue, but users say otherwise. Other problems include godawful framerate, glitches galore and broken quests. Often something seems off. While I love this game, I admit that it needs more polish and months of work. But did I regret buying it? Hell no. But then again, I haven’t played the Xbox version.
Lego Worlds is a game which requires dedication. Sometimes, with all the lags, it is a game worth enduring. You have to really like it to get into it and forgive its many flaws. At its core, it is a phenomenally addictive game. The graphics are amazingly crisp and bright: everything here is created out of bricks unlike other licensed Lego games. Everything can be destroyed or rebuilt. The game looks spectacular in Full HD. Music is also surprisingly epic – like it was ripped from a big budget movie. And one should not forget the wonderful narrator, who was played by Peter Serafinowicz, the voice of Darth Maul and many others. His inspired performance deserves only the highest of praises.
Can I recommend Lego Worlds? Well, yes – but not to everyone. Looking for a game to play with someone? Something easy and engaging? Love Lego and can’t wait to create something without the risk of stepping on a brick? Then this game is for you. Others better wait until all of the problems are fixed.