The Games Of Christmas ’11: Day 18

By RPS on December 18th, 2011 at 1:22 pm.

Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho! HO HO HO! Father Christmas’s demands on the sex worker industry are frankly grotesque. He is a bad, bad man. Fortunately, you can distract yourself from his ways by finding out what is behind door number 18 of our 2011 calendar of gaming goodnessment.

It’s… Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars!

John: With the exception of the Lego Harry Potter games, Traveler’s Tales’ format is extremely repetitive. Loosely recreate the source films in episodes of multi-character exploration and simple combat, have players collect 902 billion things, and then do it all over again in Free mode to collect the remaining 3,204 trillion things they missed. Oh, and do it so amazingly brilliantly that no one minds at all, and wants to keep on playing each one that comes out.

LSW3 manages it all over again, this time without even the backdrop of the (increasingly un)iconic film series, but rather a TV cartoon set between the two most hated films in the franchise. Yet even here the magic occurs. And here, along with all the familiar ingredients, comes a new idea – something that’s pretty much an RTS popping up throughout.

It’s really smart. You’re gaining control of territory on a small map by destroying the units within it. But in order to take control, you need to have developed the correct weapons that destroy the brick type that’s building the enemy buildings or firepower. But joyfully, you gain such ingredients by smashing up the environment, baddies and everything you can find, letting you build your own equipment, including stompy-stompy AT-ATs and their cousins. And coming from someone who loathes RTS, let me assure you it in no way adds a frustration or a stumbling point in the game. It’s so in-keeping with the game’s larger themes, and essentially very simple to win, that it becomes a really entertaining diversion betwixt the usual jumpy, breaky, buildy fun.

It’s hilarious, sweet and ridiculously packed with fun, easily playable in co-op with a non-hardcore gamer or kid, and defies belief that it can remain this engaging and entertaining despite being the 289th Lego game they’ve made. Of course, as I mentioned in the original review, TT’s flippant disregard for criticism is still enormously on display. I wrote:

“TT clearly couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks, and I sort of wish their arrogance would bite them on the bum. But the rest of the game is so gorgeous they flipping well get away with it yet again.”

So every mistake that’s ever annoyed you in these games before will annoy you here, from an inability to sensibly select a target, to vehicles not driving backward, to the mindlessly stupid refusal to let the player ever control the camera. I really do think their ability to get away with this is running out, and with many more games in the various series already lined up, people’s patience WILL run out. Just, not quite yet.

Adam: Probably the least taxing and most sociable fun I’ve had in non-board gaming all year.

It’s tempting to dump all the Lego games into the same box, their component pieces mixed together, indistinguishable from one another once they’re broken down and finished with. They are undemanding invitations to play, preferably as one half of a pair. That would be particularly unfair in the case of The Clone Wars, which added a modicum of strategy with its large scale conflicts. Admittedly, they are simple affairs, with the player character dashing around the battlefield, in and out of the vehicles their collectibles purchase for them, smashing everything in sight in order to smash everything else in sight. Logic dictates that things will be smashed several times.

Here’s the thing. I don’t care about this particular bit of Star Wars, just as I don’t care all that much about Harry Potter, but I still thoroughly enjoy what Traveler’s Tales do with their licenses. It’s the most Lego-y bit of the games, the irreverence and affection with which scenes, characters and objects are adapted to the format. Odd, perhaps, that in this, their seven hundredth game based around the iconic bricks, there is still very little building to be done. Piles of bricks are thrown into prescribed shapes but there’s no real construction. No crafting.

Instead, Traveler’s Tales continues to use Lego as an aesthetic rather than a construction kit and the fact that they can do that to such success says a lot about how much affection those blocks and bulb-headed bits of plastic inspire. Batman is my favourite of the licenses used so far, with all the moodiness and menace converted into smiles and giggles. The game itself didn’t work as well as I’d hoped though, with the loosely strung together scenarios much less entertaining than the adapted plots of Star Wars and Harry Potter.

The Clone Wars could have suffered similarly. A great deal of the pleasure from the best of the Lego games has previously come from the thrill of recognition but my knowledge of this era of the Star Wars universe can be summed up thusly: there were some clones and they attacked, which led to a war. Or several wars?

However, the storytelling has taken a step forward. It’s still daft, knockabout stuff and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The moment I feel as if I’m supposed to feel anything other than joy or mild frustration when a legoman falls to bits will be a strange and unpleasant one, but there’s a decent flow to events here, with jumps between situation and character used effectively.

Lego Harry Potter seemed to signal a change, with the extent and importance of its hub world, which not only provided another great playground, but also allowed for plenty of gags and meaningless but enjoyable discoveries. It’s telling that The Clone Wars has its own tweaks on the formula rather than falling into the template set at Hogwarts. Maybe there is room for experimentation.

After all, this is Lego. There’s no binary status of broken or fixed, and hopefully there are plenty of additions and alterations to come. It’s not complexity they should ever strive for but improvements where they lack and more variations on what they do so well, which is the simple joy of play. Scores and studs to collect, bad guys to beat up and zap, interesting levels to traverse, and simple minigames. All backed up by a little bit of challenge but mostly the pleasure of silliness and success best shared.

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56 Comments »

  1. Inglourious Badger says:

    Lego Star Wars? Seriously?

    • Ringwraith says:

      I’m guessing you haven’t played/had fun with it.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Somebody didn’t get that Lego X-Wing they always wanted for Christmas…

    • Premium User Badge Hodge says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed some of the earlier titles, but I’ve not played any since the Lego Batman days. If this one keeps things up to that standard then it’s definitely worth anyone’s time, but I despair over the sheer number of quality games which clearly aren’t going to make it.

      I’ve been posting this list in the comments for the last few days, but increasingly it’s reading not like a list of predictions but like a list of puppies. Poor, abandoned puppies in an animal shelter. If no one comes to collect them in the next six days they’re going to be put down on Christmas Day. And now there’s not enough days left to for people to come in and collect them all.

      Still have a chance:
      Skyrim
      To The Moon
      SpaceChem
      Frozen Synapse
      Bastion
      Human Revolution

      Hoping for a miracle:
      Magicka
      The Stanley Parable
      Trine 2
      Gemini Rue

      Still, it wouldn’t be RPS if it was nice and predictable.

    • Premium User Badge Joshua says:

      Think Left 4 dead with humor and force powers. And lego. And two players on the same computer. That sorta thing.
      Its ridiciously fun.

    • Chris D says:

      @Hodge

      I believe that in a previous GoC thread one of the hivemind expressed surprise that SpaceChem came out this year. I suspect that doesn’t bode well for its chances. I’d probably switch SpaceChem and Magicka in your list on that basis, although if SpaceChem doesn’t make it in IT WILL BE A TRAVESTY! . Sorry.

      On the other hand I didn’t this coming at all, so what do I know?

    • johnpeat says:

      I was really surprised to see Spacechem in 2011 ‘Game of the Year’ threads – but it was released January 1st, apparently

      That it won at least one such poll kinda disappointed me tho – it’s a lovely idea but it’s wrapped in so much noise and confusion – it’s design intended to make it appear harder than it actually is – it’s appearance intended to deter people looking for a ‘game’ – it’s a bit pretentious tbh

    • Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

      @ Hodge/Chris

      Yup, there’s a few very worthy games which wont be in the list, I predict an honourable mentions article!

      As for Spacechem you could be right Chris, but on the other hand they do tend to get the hivemind past to contribute to the calandar (KG wrote some words last year and I’m fairly sure that was after he left) and Quinns is a big advocate of Spacechem. If it’s not there I’m all ready with my “What! No Spacechem?” comment on the 24th!

    • MasterBoo says:

      I have a strong feeling that Skyrim will be neglected from the list just because of what Bethesda did to the PC port (or did not do). Also, while I loved To The Moon, it was more of an un-game to me than a game. Magicka and SpaceChem deserve a spot. These games deserve more love than Skyrim for sure.

    • Wulf says:

      @Boo

      “Also, while I loved To The Moon, it was more of an un-game to me than a game.”

      I completely disagree. The notion of an un-game is that it punishes you for trying to interact unless it’s at a specific point where you’re forced to, as John went out of his way to try to explain to the likes of Kotaku (and you?) and painfully failed in doing so.

      To the Moon never, ever punishes you for exploring and interacting. In fact, there are a couple of things which result in the outcome of the game being changed if you don’t find and interact with them.

      It’s going to make John cringe every time someone misuses that term now, I think. Please do go back and reread John’s rebuttal to Kotaku.

      “Magicka and SpaceChem deserve a spot.”

      I disagree on both counts, here.

      SpaceChem was a good puzzle game, but it was just that, and if there’s one of those then there’s a billion of them. It wasn’t very involving to me, I’m sorry. And it was just a touch on the ‘more style than substance’ side of things, at times, which some might call pretentious but it wasn’t even so much that.

      Magicka is good, but there are other options I’d prefer to see in there, to be honest. Such as Trine 2. I honestly think that Trine 2 was more fun as a co-op game than Magicka was. This may be becasue I’m disabled and I found Magicka stressful in co-op, but hey, everyone’s going to have their own view.

    • MasterBoo says:

      By “un-game” I meant that it didn’t feel like a game to me, but an interactive story. I didn’t use it in the context that was previously used in RPS :)

    • Consumatopia says:

      Re: un-game, I have a wacky suggestion. I think John and others using that term should instead borrow the concept of duality from category theory and call it a “co-game”. As I understand it, your problem with games like MW is not that they’re “interactive movies” or “rail shooters”, but that instead of it being the game’s job to respond to the player’s decisions, it becomes the player’s job to “play along”–to guess what the developer expects the player to do. This process is still a “game” of sorts, in the way that the process of editing config.sys and autoexec.bat to get a game to work back in DOS days was a “game”. It is not the absence of a game, but a game turned inside-out. Un-game is too easily confused with “non-game”. Co-game, however, captures exactly what is so weird about these games.

    • Premium User Badge LTK says:

      Wulf: I disagree about Spacechem. I honestly think it’s something very special. What sets it apart from other puzzle games is that it allows open-ended solutions and emergent strategies. The game uses the periodic table of the elements, takes some liberties with regard to covalent bonding, and from this you can create, and eventually solve, an unlimited variety of puzzles.

      The mark of many puzzle games is that the player discovers the solution that the maker thought of. Spacechem allows you to create your own solutions, even if they are incredibly convoluted and inefficient, but you created them, and no one shoehorned you into solving the puzzle any particular way. If the game does steer you in the direction of the solution it wants, it does so in a way that makes you feel it was you all along. I’m honestly not sure which is true.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I have to say that I agree on Magicka. It’s fun and all, but I don’t know… It just doesn’t really capture me that much. Maybe it’s because I’ve only played with internet friends, as most of my PC buddies aren’t too keen on multiplayer games. Or they only do the console thing.

      I doubt we’ll see it, but I would love to see a nod towards Payday: The Heist. To me, it captures everything that made L4D so much fun before it became some kind of wanna-be pro-gamer troll-fest. Although, a lot of that burden has now been shifted over to L4D2…

      Anyways, Payday is just damn fun to me. L4D with cops and robbers, basically. It has a lot of multiplayer mechanics similar to L4D, but it plays more like CoD4′s singleplayer. A very arcade-like shooter. Also, OVERKILL (former GRIN, including Simon Viklund who did the awesome Bionic Commando: Rearmed OST) has been doing a very good job regularly putting out patches and the devs routinely post in the Payday Steam forums. They clearly listen and read comments from the community and have been very responsive. (shortly after drop-in was patched in, they released another patch with the ability to toggle this, set reputation limits, etc.)

      IMO, Payday deserves a nod not just because it is a damn fun game, but also because OVERKILL are showing what being a good PC developer is all about. Something iD could be good to recollect upon.

    • The Colonel says:

      Witcher 2 for the win!

    • Veracity says:

      If I’m understanding what a “co-game” is, the problem would be that describes 83.9% of adventures and all hidden object games, both of which the Walker broadly approves of, and “un-game” (or “non-game”, which is in more common general usage and seems to overlap) is almost certainly pejorative, even dismissive, though it probably shouldn’t necessarily be. At least part of the difficulty there is that “video game” is a bloody awful term for this medium, but until everyone spontaneously agrees on something else we’re stuck with it.

      There are seven games that derive as much complexity and flexibility from a handful of very simple rules as SpaceChem. Four of them were written by Zach Barth. It’s hardly surprising people get excited about that and (perhaps over-)evangelize it.

      Lists are worse than scores, incidentally. Hitler liked lists, and if a list were a car it’d be a Reliant.

    • Grape says:

      “To the Moon” was a bit lame. Not surprisingly, RPS loved it, of course, so I fully expect it featured very soon, complete with one of them bragging that it made them cry.

      Urgh.

    • Consumatopia says:

      @Veracity, my intention is that “co-game” captures what (I think) John Walker meant by “un-game”. I proposed the term because I wanted to distinguish it from “non-game” which, exactly as you say, tends to be used pejoratively but shouldn’t be.

      A lot of “games” are going to have “co-game” elements. I’m not sure about hidden-object games. There’s a clearly defined goal and a space of possibilities for you to search through to find the goal.

      Compare the experience of someone playing a hidden object game to John’s experience in the video he linked from here http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11/28/why-modern-warfare-3-remains-an-un-game/ There’s a difference between being told there is a hidden object and looking for it, and thinking “well, nothing is happening here, so I guess there’s probably some kind of scripted event up ahead.”

      Perhaps co-game should not be pejorative either. Ed Fredkin used to play a game in which someone would hand a multiple choice test with the questions covered up and he’d still managed to guess the right answer most of the time by the phrasing of the choices. There may be something of a “co-game” aspect to most games. But I think the phenomenon is interesting enough that it ought to be named and studied (though I’d have to admit that the first step in such studies is to find a much better definition then I’ve managed to come up with.)

  2. DrGonzo says:

    I actually didn’t like this game at all. I thought it was the worst of the lego games by a long way. Its even put me off getting any more of these lego themed games.

    I will be back when they make a genuinely original one again.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I’m with you, I really liked the Lego Harry Potter series, but they just dropped the ball with Star Wars IMHO.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I was OK with the first Lego Star Wars, but I didn’t finish it and couldn’t imagine voluntarily playing any more of the same.

  3. brulleks says:

    I thought it was set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, not Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

    I refuse to believe The Pharty Moonface could be considered better than RotS. It’s not even a matter of taste. It was appalling, even for post-2000 Lucas.

    • Premium User Badge Joshua says:

      Its between the Phantom Menace and the Return of the sith :P.

    • McDan says:

      True dat. The only Lego game I’ve played was the very first star wars one which was about episodes 1-3, and thought that wasn’t too bad. But then they released a load of others and thought it’s get repetitive, now I’m not sure how to feel about it.

    • brulleks says:

      @ Joshua.

      Lol. Good answer : )

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    RPS I especially love you for fucking with our expectations :D

  5. Prime says:

    The Clone Wars TV series is never going to win the hearts of the long-time SW fan (no matter how many original trilogy cameos they manage to shoe-horn in, or even the blink-and-miss-them appearance of the Republic Commandos from the titular PC game) but I enjoyed this adaptation of it enormously. It expanded on the template used in the first two games, upgraded the graphics and gave us some delightfully inventive hubs to play around in between the meat-and-potato levels. I seem to prefer the Lego Star Wars games over the other franchise mashups and eagerly await a fourth instalment (This game covered seasons 1&2, 3&4 should be next), although I’ll definitely be back for the LOTR game this coming summer! Top stuff, Traveller’s Tales!

    • bill says:

      As a long term starwars fan, i thought that The Clone Wars (the first animated shorts series) was the only good bit to comeout of the prequels.

      Haven’t really been watching the new 3rd series though as it started terribly and seemed to have all the flaws of the prequels.

    • Shadram says:

      I doubt the LotR game will be out this summer. They’ve not announced that they’re even making it yet. The Lego sets (as in, actual, real plastic Lego) will be out over summer, I’d expect any potential game to follow after that, so either late 2012 or 2013.

    • MattM says:

      I loved Star Wars: Clone Wars (the shorts) and think Star Wars: The Clone Wars (current series) is pretty good. It is a bit of a kids show, so the humor is pretty broad but it has some good writers and excellent animation for the action parts.

  6. YourMessageHere says:

    “After all, this is Lego.”

    No, it’s not. It’s a game, and thus not Lego at all. Lego is a physical thing. A game never is. This may seem like petty sophistry but it’s all the difference in the world. I dare say the games are fun if you like that sort of thing (can’t help thinking of them as extremely childish, but I dare say that’s just a personal prejudice; I loathe what’s happened on that score to physical lego over the last ten or so years, too – the film licenses and so on in particular) but the fact they look like Lego doesn’t make them Lego in any meaningful sense.

  7. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    Didn’t really feel the urge to play this one (I give nary a care about the Clone Wars) but ifit’s anything like the other Lego games i’m sure it’s utterly charming and rather good fun.

  8. Pemptus says:

    Bah, this was actually the least fun I had in a Lego game. Boring, repetitive and lacklustre. Harry Potter 1-4 still holds the crown.

  9. Premium User Badge Joshua says:

    I thought there was always a connection between the intro of the Games of Christmas thing and the game that has been elected to be the game of christmas. However, I really can not place hte link between sex industry workers and Lego.

  10. Sinkytown says:

    Not a single meaningful or worthwhile mechanic, plodding lock-and-key level design and ever-present hollow kleptomania. These games are more harmful to the youth than Grand Theft Auto ever was.

    • johnpeat says:

      You forgot something – fun – the Lego games have this in spades…

      You don’t have to innovate to create great entertainment – it’s just a matter of putting enough fun into the thing…

      I’ll admit you don’t need to play every Lego game as they’re all pretty much similar – but they all have charm at a level almost no other video game can offer.

    • Sinkytown says:

      You’ll note that I didn’t mention innovation at all?

      Ok, so the game is ‘fun’. It’s a wonder every developer doesn’t just set the ‘fun’ level to maximum and call it a day.

      The thing is, in videogames, ‘fun’ is a nebulous concept and one that is often mistaken for other things, in this case ‘psychological exploitation’. Collecting jangly things is not a game (in the literal sense), it is an ‘excercise’. Nothing is being asked of the player other than to remember to pick up all the little things that the game has told you it is important to pick up. Are you having ‘fun’ when you’re told that you’ve collected 132/463 Arbitrary Doodads? Or is it some base psychological itch being scratched?

      It’s entirely possible that within this mire there are snappy little puzzles, or combat that isn’t patronisingly simple (even for a child (why are children never given any credit?)), but as of now it has been walking from A to B, whilst numbers are constantly ejaculated all over the UI, screaming about how successful is my wondering, intermittently meeting a ‘puzzle’ which inevitably consists of ‘remembering which character/ability I need to bypass this arbitrary gate’, then employing it.

      I would argue that there is not enough ‘gameplay’ and far too much ‘structure’, which is the curse of modern game-design. Kids used to play Mario 64, now they play this.

    • Wulf says:

      Sorry guy, but if you think that collecting things is the point of a LEGO game, then you’re probably very obsessive-compulsive and thus it’s just not meant for you. See, thinking it’s about collecting things is missing the point. I never have a 100% completion ratio. That’s just there for the insane people who want their ‘cheevos’ (whatever the hell those are).

      If, instead, you just play it and forget about the collectibles, realising how much of your life it would consume in the effort to get them, and just have fun with the game from intro to ending, then that’s where the fun is. The fun is in the gameplay just being light, colourful, and silly, and the cutscenes being good for a laugh. It’s not supposed to be anything special.

      I used to think I was pretty obsessive-compulsive, but I managed to get over that hurdle. It’s just too much trouble to do anything with a game other than play it from intro to ending, and I judge the game based upon that.

      Like I said, you can spend time collecting everything, but to think that’s the point of a LEGO game seems to be missing the point. At least, I think so.

    • mondomau says:

      “These games are more harmful to the youth than Grand Theft Auto ever was.”

      Oh my word. I was expecting some idiotic replies to this entry in the calender, but BAM! Straight out of the park.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I don’t think it’s so much that collecting the doo-dads in itself is fun, as it is that collecting the doo-dads gives a reason, a goal, as to why to go back and play again. Whether collecting those doo-dads is a worthwhile investment is completely reliant on whether the game’s core mechanics are “fun” enough, or you might say, engaging enough.

      A good example from my own experience is Batman: Arkham Asylum. I’ve almost beaten it on every difficulty setting. I’m at the very end fight on the hardest setting, I just haven’t fully consummated the act. I’ve gotten all of the trophies. I almost got all of them on my playthrough on Normal, but I decided to instead collect all of them on Hard. I’ve played through that game probably about 5 or so times. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable game to me. It’s easy to learn and play, but to master it is something else entirely. I’m very close to having 100% achievements, and this will be the only game for which I’ve ever actually concentrated on doing this.

      Why? Because, going back and collecting all the Riddler trophies gave me a reason to play it again. Some kind of justification to go back and enjoy the game. It’s not the actual pursuit of these items. It’s that without them, what would my purpose be? I got some enjoyment figuring out a few of the puzzles, but I enjoyed the actual game itself more than finding the trophies. It’s like how pancakes are really just a vehicle for syrups. I mean, who really just eats a plain pancake? You smoother some butter and sweet syrups, maybe a dab of jam, and you have deliciousness! Having pancakes isn’t about pancakes, it’s actually about the syrup and butter combined with the pancakes. The game is the syrup, and collecting the pancakes just means you get to enjoy more syrup.

      I’ve hesitated a bit about beating B:AA on Hard. Maybe I’ll start over? Why? To push back the inevitable. Once I’ve done everything, there loses a purpose. Sure, I can still play through it again, but what am I striving for? I could always go for the leaderboards, I suppose… I remember beating the first Metal Gear: Solid three times in a row, even after beating it probably 4 or 5 times before. Why? Because I had lost my memory card and didn’t have a MGS save with the tuxedo and everything. Seriously. I loved that game, and I do think it is just that good. I would easily say it’s one of the best games of all time. Right up there with BG2 and FF7.

      As silly as it sounds, that’s what those things are: they are a way to justify purpose to ourselves, to add a purpose to the fun. It might seem silly, but without a purpose we tend to lose interest and sidetrack. If you can find a purpose, even a minute and trivial one, then you will most likely hold your interest onto something. In MGS they used unlocks. In FF7 they used the Weapons. BG2 had the massive amounts of choices and story divergences. It’s a great way to add a reason to keep playing. Reason and purpose give people a sense of order. And order is very comforting to people.

    • Premium User Badge Llewyn says:

      @Mcgee: AA is a bad choice for a comparison in this case because its core game mechanics are unusually strong – the act of playing AA is in itself an enjoyable thing to do, and the story progression, the collectibles, the stylistic appeal etc are all just bonuses on top of that. Yes, progression and collection add structure to the gameplay but they’re not essential to justify it.

      I’ve still not completed the game at all – I came to it late (and reluctantly) and have had a lot of other calls on my free time – but this is one of the few games in recent years that I’ve played just for the sheer joy of playing it, rather than to satisfy any obsessive progression itch. The only thing I can think of similar is a small selection of RB/GH songs that I’ll play just for the satisfaction of hitting particular sequences of notes.

      Sinkytown’s assertion seems to be that the core mechanic of the Lego games is essentially making numbers increase. I have no idea whether he’s right – the most I’ve played was the demo of Indiana Jones, and that was more than enough for me. But if he is then the better parallel would be to the score/xp in AA, rather than the Riddler items.

    • afarrell says:

      The core mechanic of the Lego Star Wars games is running around twatting things with a lightsaber, seeing them dissolve into Lego blocks, and using the force to build stuff with those blocks. It’s pretty much the dictionary definition of fun!

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Llewyn, I was using B:AA as it’s probably the most modern and closest I can get to what I imagine the Lego games’ combat mechanics are like. Also, the whole Hack’n'Slash/Adventure genre (which B:AA kinda is) is very much a love/hate thing. I would imagine Lego games to behave, obviously, a bit more simple. Mostly because of age demographic. Still, I would thknk that the gameplay mechanics drive the core of it, and not merely collecting stuff. In B:AA, if you didn’t ever pick up anything, you’d have a pretty low XP and not unlock some of the higher-end goodies. Just because you have a low XP doesn’t mean you can’t beat the game or enjoy it, but you won’t have as much at your disposal.

      I was under the impression that collecting stuff was just auxiliary, and Sinkytown was just engaging in a bit of hyperbole. I have not played the Lego games either, so I suppose that is a very valid distinction. If collecting items is required to progress, well, that’s kinda lame. Mario has done it before, to certain extents. New Vegas does it. Actually, Sonic was primarily based on it. I didn’t like it in those, either, but it has certainly been done before.

      Still, I would think that if there are that many Lego games and they’ve sold as well as they have, and been positively received as they have, I would think that they must be doing something right. They may not be the pinnacle of gaming excellence, but their audience seems pleased. I mean, yes, they ride on two huge kid franchises, but I just can’t imagine that alone being enough.

      I certainly concede to possibly being wrong, though.

  11. Chris D says:

    “Probably the least taxing and most sociable fun I’ve had in non-board gaming all year.”

    I envy you. All my experiences with the Lego series have involved a child with very firm ideas about what we should do getting increasingly cross because I was doing it wrong.

  12. Wulf says:

    I still preferred the Pirates of the Caribbean one myself, but this one was fairly good too.

    I think this is just going to be one of those things where everyone is going to have their favorite game in the series, the one that’s never topped, and nothing will ever change that. So this calendar entry would probably read better as ‘(Insert your LEGO game of the year here.)’ to most.

    They’re all pretty similar, this much is true, but it all depends on which setting and style you found the most charming. Everyone’s going to have their own take, as this thread proves.

  13. thatcity says:

    winner of the remarcable “most surprising game of the year contender on rps” award

  14. Sivart13 says:

    I bought this game full price on RPS’s recommendation. I regret it.

    The gameplay boils down to “smash whatever’s in front of you, switch characters if you can’t smash it properly”. The RTS segments are awful. A fixed, relatively low to the ground camera angle is not very helpful in a situation like that.

    • wu wei says:

      I don’t understand how for most people the LEGO experience seems to be collecting the pieces rather than putting things together.

      If all you did as a kid was look for the blocks, you were doing it wrong.

  15. Al__S says:

    “to vehicles not driving backward”
    Um, erm, they do if you hit “reverse”, If you were using a an xbox 360 pad, that’s B .

  16. sinister agent says:

    my knowledge of this era of the Star Wars universe can be summed up thusly: there were some clones and they attacked, which led to a war. Or several wars?

    Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrd-AH!

    I’ve never even seen someone playing a lego game, much less played one. I am 100% unbothered by Star Wars though, so would I enjoy one of the others more?

  17. Zankmam says:

    Deus Ex, Skyrim, Magicka and Bastion MUST be on the list, dammit!

    You put Dead Island on it, ffs. -.-

    • Shooop says:

      This isn’t necessarily a “best games of the year” list. It’s more “games that stood out for us this year.”

      Personally I think this idea is refreshing if only because it’s not quite what everyone else is doing.

  18. Tams80 says:

    I’m kind of loving the people who don’t like a game being nominated because it’s fun. Joyful and fun.

    OK, that is still subjective, but so are ‘innovations’ and ‘good game mechanics’ (though I’d argue Lego Star Wars and the other TT games do most certainly have the latter). Most of the list is more based around values other than fan (though including it; individually and as a some of a games parts),

    Anyway, I love the humour and relaxing nature (well, also the non-relaxing bits as well) of TT’s games. Having played the complete saga on the DS, I’ll certainly give LSW:CW a go.