LEGO Worlds PS4 Review

LEGO Worlds is a third-person and first-person building and creation action adventure platform game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. The birth of the building and creation genre technically began outside of videogames when building and creating with LEGO bricks originated when manufacturing of LEGO began in 1949 under the original name of Automatic Binding Bricks. The name LEGO was introduced as a replacement for the Automatic Binding Bricks branding in 1953 due to the LEGO Group’s foundation in Denmark as LEGO combines the words “leg godt” which is Danish for “play well”. LEGO forged such popularity leading to a total of over 600 billion LEGO pieces being manufactured ever since with two Toy of the Century to proudly show for their humble beginnings. LEGO Worlds has been long in-development for home consoles as it initially released for PC as a beta version was launched via Steam early access on June 1st 2015. The major question headed into the game is if LEGO Worlds can set a new benchmark for the building and creation genre above Little Big Planet and Minecraft by capturing the fun and imagination of building with real LEGO bricks, albeit in videogame form?

The story begins with the player controlling an astronaut or an intergalactic female whose rocket has crash landed on a planet, therefore requiring repair before continuing your adventure to other worlds.

LEGO Worlds is shaped differently to the majority of LEGO games as there is no story mode or free play mode as usually found in LEGO games as LEGO Worlds is all about continuous exploration and creation.

There are a wide variety of quests including tasks such as creating a pirate clock tower and a pirate throne in the first world, while the second world tasks players with utilising the landscape tool to shape surrounding landmass to free characters from being trapped in caves and from nearby lava. Tasks need to be completed in order to receive a gold brick as a reward with three gold bricks allowing you to level up your creator rank to be able to venture onto the second world and discover more, although every rank will require a larger amount of gold bricks before levelling up your creator rank again, while most importantly of all; 100 gold bricks are required to unlock the ability to create your own worlds. Another method of obtaining gold bricks is engaging in a chase with a troublemaker and taking them down to earn a gold brick or unlocking a brick to use with your building tool, although chases have the capability of playing out over longer periods of time and diverse terrains reminiscent of chasing egg thieves in Spyro the Dragon.

Before players are able to create an object; it must be found and scanned using the discovery tool which must then be purchased for a specific quantity of LEGO studs, therefore presenting a perfect balance of exploration to gather the LEGO studs and discover new objects. Inventory items include certain articles that are not classed as discoveries such as a skeleton head, bones and some life forms including varying types of fish. Inventory items such as a purple flame torch, guitar, football, binoculars, a telescope, paintball gun, glow gun, bow, rifle, candy launcher and much more besides can be found in treasure chests or as rewards for completing a range of quests. There are also a variety of unlockable items comprising of a camera to take photos of your surroundings, characters and creatures, a lantern, grapple gun, block gun and a jetpack which are unlocked when you have collected a total of 15, 20, 30, 40 and 65 gold bricks respectively.

The discovery tool has five categories worth of discoveries catalogued including characters, creatures, vehicles, objects and brick builds. The paint tool allows players to paint any object in 80 colours with four different types of brushes totalling to 320 possible combinations. The build tool provides over 300 unique LEGO bricks between five categories of bricks, plates, tiles, slopes and fixtures and fittings with almost 80 colours to choose from, although upon unlocking the build tool; players will only have access to the first six LEGO bricks, therefore hundreds of bricks will have to be unlocked for use in the build tool throughout your adventures. Copy tool allows players to copy any structure and even save it for later use, before pasting it elsewhere as a form of quick building or landscaping, while the landscape tool produces the capability of shaping the environment to your preferences by adding or removing a small or large sized cube positioned at ground level, underground or even above land amongst the clouds. Free build allows players to position any character, creature, vehicle, object, brick build, while also incorporating the build, paint and copy tools as well as adding and removing, raising and lowering, flattening, smoothing and replacing LEGO bricks, structures, environments and more besides; therefore providing total creative freedom on a pre-created world even before unlocking the ability to create your own world.

Despite the necessity of earning 100 gold bricks before being able to create your own world; players can still create within the pre-set worlds you are exploring with particular highlights of creations showcased on YouTube including Zebra Gamer’s motocross track, a motocross rider and an airport, while Team Epiphany Jake created a medieval aged football stadium and WackoJacko Gaming providing a full tutorial of how to create a traditional football stadium, alongside further creators such as Marluss who has created small towns and shopping centres.

I want to personally attempt to re-create such retro classics as BattleSport and Return Fire albeit in LEGO form. BattleSport could utilise a football stadium with futuristic looking materials and objects scattered throughout the arena to make the handling of your craft need to be all the more precise when guiding the ball and firing into the opponents’ net. Perhaps for Return Fire would benefit from the discovery of various flags in one of the earlier worlds which could be used on top of a structure to shape a base for both players who must capture the other player’s flag before returning it to their own base, while both players would also be defending their own base by driving a weaponised vehicle to fire at each other.

A Community upload and download feature is in development, although unlike Little Big Planet; players will not be able to share their created worlds as the system is currently only planned for players to share their individual models with another major difference being the requirement of downloading one model at a time for around 10MB each instead of streaming an entire map and discovering everything within it. Unfortunately, the design choice results in players only being able to potentially allow another player to explore their created world in the limited online multiplayer which somewhat reduces the motivation of creating themed worlds when almost no one would be able to experience your creations.

The character design is as varied as possible due to the LEGO minifigures characters you discover along your journey including pirates, skeletons, a caveman and cavewoman, construction workers, a paintball player, a jewel thief, gingerbread man and much more besides that are all added to your characters category within the discovery tool, while enemy design includes skeletons and zombies that attack anyone in sight, alongside troublemakers that taunt and run away from your character. Character customisation comprises of 12 categories including full costume, hat, head, hair, beard, body, arms, hands, hips, legs, attachments and capes with a very limited selection when you start the game, but gradually increasing in depth from completing quests and finding treasure chests.

The environment design is impressive as the worlds are quite expansive and full of life with construction workers, farmers, pirates, animals, birds and much more besides going about their everyday business in bustling surroundings. There are secret passages to be found underground that lead to treasure chests either from an entrance to the side of a structure or using a digger vehicle such as Cole’s Earth Driller to drill through the ground. An incredible underwater ecosystem of fish, sharks, dolphins, corral, shells, seaweed and more besides can be explored for a real underwater diving deep sea experience.

LEGO Worlds has a genuine sense of humour such as shooting a chicken with a paintball gun will prompt the chicken to chase you until it has caught up with you, so it can take revenge by continuously pecking at your character, while animals will react by bobbing their heads and spinning their bodies when your character performs a composition on a musical instrument, alongside troublemakers taunting your character before attempting to make their escape on foot with a LEGO brick.

There is a long list of potential themed downloadable content to progressively be implemented into LEGO Worlds and that has begun with a free LEGO Agents downloadable content pack comprising of new characters including Agent Chase, Agent Trace, Dr. Inferno and Dyna-Mite; a Glowing Octopus creature; Agent’s Car, Agent’s Heli-Pack, Henchman’s Hover-Jet and Henchman’s Prop Boat vehicles; and an Agent Pistol item. Downloadable content is available from the add-on content menu situated on the main menu with content automatically added to the discovery tools after having been redeemed.

It is disappointing to see LEGO Worlds not arrive on Vita, although remote play is a small consolation to the seemingly dropped support for LEGO games on Vita. LEGO Worlds’ remote play performance is excellent as it retains the quality of graphics, audio and general performance from the PS4 version. However, remote play during split-screen multiplayer is displayed in split-screen instead of a single screen when it would have been much better to have the player using remote play to have their own full Vita screen with the other player having a full television screen. Control optimisations include zooming the camera in or out with L2 or R2 being re-mapped to the top left and right of the rear touch pad respectively, while undoing or redoing part of a build with L3 or R3 has been re-mapped to the bottom left and right of the rear touch pad, alongside tapping the touch pad to display the map naturally being mapped to the touch screen; therefore producing a comfortable remote play experience.

The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with the control scheme consisting of pressing X to jump or double tapping X to double jump; pressing O to interact with an object or to perform an ability, create, use or activate; pressing triangle to select a creator tool, double tap triangle to open the creator menu or holding triangle to open a creator tool selection menu; pressing square to perform an attack; pressing L1 or R1 to cycle through characters; pressing L2 or R2 to zoom out or in respectively; pressing up, down, left or right on the d-pad to navigate through your item inventory; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to move your selected character; changing the direction of the right analogue stick to pan the camera; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu. Tapping the touch pad to display a map of the world you are currently exploring, while vibration occurs when engaging the thrusters on your ship when leaving a world to venture to the next world or when firing a paintball gun or glow gun. The light bar only changes colour when a second player joins the game, although LEGO Harry Potter Collection proved how creatively the light bar can be utilised in LEGO games such as a shade of brown when browsing the inventory, orange for the discovery tool, purple when using the paint tool, yellow when browsing the building tool, blue for the copy tool, green when using the landscape tool, white when browsing the free build tools, green when in pursuit of a troublemaker and neutral colours for everything else.

Graphically, LEGO Worlds is superb as it recreates active sandbox environments above ground, underground and throughout the seas that accompany the extensive landscapes with a charming appeal provided by the LEGO aesthetic, while the transition in the day-night cycle is simply beautiful.

The presentation of the game is exceptional with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, options menu and gameplay menus particularly including the easily accessible discoveries and tool menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons during pre-gameplay menus, while discoveries and tool menus also include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch pad. The background of the menu screens sets the tone as your astronaut and rocket ship spin out of control as a range of vehicles and objects pass them by in the midst of a universe of stars, while the appropriately designed title logo is positioned at the top centre of the screens.

An excellent narrative voice-over from Peter Serafinowicz welcomes players to their new surroundings, informs players about new discoveries, provides useful tutorials and introduces new gameplay elements in a manner that is just as satisfying as Little Big Planet’s Stephen Fry. Peter Serafinowicz has previously starred as Denarian Saal in Guardians of the Galaxy and Sommelier in John Wick: Chapter 2, while also having voiced various characters in LEGO City Undercover and Little Big Planet 3, voicing Duncan MacReady in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and more besides. However, characters you meet along the way who provide tasks do not have voice-overs with their dialogue only being communicated via speech bubbles. Sound effects include your character running, jumping, climbing, throwing, punching, firing weapons, driving ground or piloting aerial vehicles, building and collecting LEGO studs; creatures such as dolphins, pigs, chickens, seagulls, horses and snakes; music being performed on various musical instruments such as the guitar and saxophone; and much more besides; complimented by adventurous music during the majority of gameplay switching to comedy chase music when chasing a troublemaker. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation which is surprising as LEGO Harry Potter Collection showed how the DualShock 4 speaker could be used creatively to produce certain sound effects that should have adapted to LEGO Worlds through sound effects such as being in close proximity to a treasure chest, completing a quest, taking down a troublemaker, finding an item and discovering a new object.

The trophy list includes 62 trophies with 56 bronze trophies, 4 silver trophies, 1 gold trophy and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Into the Abyss bronze trophy for diving continually for over 3 minutes; the Rank – Learner Builder bronze trophy for starting your adventure; the Rank – Discoverer Builder bronze trophy for collecting 3 gold bricks; the It’s Dangerous To Go Alone bronze trophy for finding an item in a chest; and the Troublemaker Takedown bronze trophy for catching a Troublemaker. Harder trophies include the Rank – Master Builder gold trophy for collecting 100 gold bricks; the Designer’s Delight silver trophy for collecting every brick element; and the Billionaire silver trophy for collecting a billion LEGO studs. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.

There are no difficulty levels, although your character will immediately respawn after dying from enemy attacks and puzzles related to quests are simple enough due to pictures showing the required items. Tutorials are provided on-screen with a fun yet informative voice-over for every discovery and creation tool that simplify the learning elements required to build anything you desire; therefore resulting in gameplay that is pick up and play oriented towards any age range.

Split-screen multiplayer allows a second player to join in at any given moment via drop-in/drop-out multiplayer and play co-operatively, although split-screen multiplayer is not only for the purpose of co-operatively completing quests and creating together, but also competing with competitive elements allowing both players to punch or shoot each other’s characters which impacts upon the player’s amount of remaining hearts.

However, there is still room for improvement in split-screen multiplayer as it does not allow two players to simultaneously venture to separate planets and when a player views the map; it will freeze the other player’s screen for the duration of the map being displayed, while there is also a large amount of pop-in at short distance on objects and the environment specifically during split-screen multiplayer.

Online multiplayer is restricted to two players on home console versions instead of four players in the PC version, although every version of the game is limited to only allowing online multiplayer between two online friends which TT Games has stated is for the purpose of player and child protection; therefore if you select join game from the opening gameplay menu, you will be presented with an online friends list. There are plans to expand the maximum quantity of players to an unspecified amount, but the lack of online lobbies to meet other LEGO enthusiasts outside of your friends list would still be in place for at least quite some time yet; resulting in players still needing to know each other to be able to play the game in online multiplayer. Given the amount of gamers who play LEGO games from varying age ranges including teenagers and adult LEGO fanatics; I am most probably not the only long-term LEGO gamer who believes the decision to only allow online multiplayer with someone from your friends list needs a serious re-think.

There are no online leaderboards which is surprising as they could have included coverage of the fastest times to complete all of the quests, takedown all of the troublemakers and each of the worlds as well as how many treasure chests have been found and which players have created the most customised characters, models and entire worlds.

The replayability of LEGO Worlds stems from many areas including a vast amount of enjoyable experiences from riding a dolphin underwater to venturing through or eventually creating entire worlds, alongside a wide range of discoveries, completing tasks and building within the worlds you find. Split-screen co-operative multiplayer with competitive elements is always fun to play with a friend, while there is as much satisfaction as ever in customising your own characters and collecting LEGO studs. Welcome introductions to LEGO gaming such as unlocking hundreds of LEGO bricks to utilise when building your own creations and taking down troublemakers coupled with a greater emphasis on creativity places LEGO Worlds in its own lane as a unique LEGO game. However, despite more than enough content to have players returning for dozens of hours; replay value is reduced below what it could have been by limited online multiplayer and restricted user generated content sharing.

Analysis

  • Title: LEGO Worlds
  • Developer: TT Games
  • Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment
  • System: PS4
  • Format: Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
  • Cross-Buy: No
  • Cross-Play: No
  • Players: 1-2 (Local and Online Multiplayer)
  • Hard Drive Space Required: 3.77GB (Version 1.02)
Jason

Jason

Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel.Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

So what do you think?

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