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LEGO Universe Review (Page 2)

Posted Thu, Nov 11, 2010 by borticus

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Multiplayer

40LousyLEGO Universe is intended to be played primarily by kids. As such, every single social interaction is tightly controlled by a series of draconian checks and balances to ensure that children, and their parents are never subjected to inappropriate material. All words spoken in public channels must come from pre-approved lists, and you can't even give your avatar a custom name without being approved manually by the customer service staff. Most players seem to avoid grouping and interacting since these restrictions are so heavy-handed that they’re simply not worth the effort to work around.

Free your ImaginationThe best way to avoid the aforementioned social restrictions is by making anyone you know a Best Friend, an act that includes both of you revealing quite a bit of personal information to one another. Engaging in something with a total stranger on the other end of the Internet that you'd only feel comfortable doing with a real-life friend or family memberit is probably best avoided. Of course that's exactly the point, but it leaves the game world feeling like nothing more than a single-player experience you happen to be enjoying alongside other people playing the same game. Alone in a crowded room.

So what's the point of socializing? All of the mini-games included in LEGO Universe will score you against your friends whenever you complete an objective, allowing you to compete with them even if they are offline. There are also a few specific mini-games and quests that are nearly impossible if attempted solo. Unfortunately, the game fails to distinguish group content from solo content so it's never a matter of encouraging you to group but instead simply penalizing you for not doing so.

At this time there is no end-game content in LEGO Universe. There are no raids or dungeons, and there is also no direct PvP combat. Did I mention the game was light on content?

Value

87Very GoodRemember the low barrier to entry I mentioned before? Well, NetDevil followed the same design philosophy when setting up the pay structure for this game. The retail box will run you only $40 with a monthly subscription of just $10 (or less if purchased in bulk).

I'll gladly admit that this slightly lower-than-average price point makes up for a lot of the game's other shortcomings.$10 is less than a single movie ticket, and I'm likely to get more than a few hours of enjoyment out of LEGO Universe on a monthly basis. As long as I can easily obtain the bricks I need to build my next masterpiece, the Brick Build function alone is worth the retail and subscription fee.

However, not everyone is a fan of bringing their imagination to life through the Brick Build system, and many seek to enjoy the adventuring, questing and combat of LEGO Universe. For folks with that specific content in mind, I can guarantee you'll be disappointed in the value, due to the lack of different types of adventuring content to enjoy

Lasting Appeal

100SuperbNo other MMOG, and very few games in general (Minecraft comes to mind), offer players the opportunity to create and build in such imaginative ways. Until another contender comes along that can offer me a building system as rich and limitless, LEGO U will remain installed on my system for many months to come. I believe the same would be true for any other builders out there, as well.

Note that I'm only considering the Brick Build system in this rating. The adventuring content in LEGO Universe could barely fill one month of enjoyment. The replay is entirely in bringing your imagination to life in brick form.

Free Build

Pros and Cons

Pros:
  • Music and sounds are incredibly well-crafted
  • Appears stable and relatively crash-free
  • Low system requirements
  • Great value for the cost
  • Incredible, nearly limitless Brick Build experience
  • Backstory of the universe is excellent and appropriate
Cons:
  • Flat, unimaginative quests
  • Not enough content
  • Overbearing social restrictions
  • Ranged weaponry practically unusable due to unpredictable auto-aim feature
  • Sorting through massive piles of LEGO bricks is more fun in real life

Conclusion

If I could purchase nothing more than a standalone LEGO building set with an infinite number of bricks, I would. Until such a program is offered, I'm going to make-do with LEGO Universe. The adventuring side of the game is really just a distraction and a way to waste time until the next bout of brick-related inspiration hits, and will not offer sufficient content to satisfy the appetites of most gamers. Unless you, too, are a building fanatic – then you're in for a potentially limitless amount of creativity-fueled play time.

Custom Creation

borticus Review at Ten Ton Hammer

  • Game Name: LEGO Universe
  • Review Date: November 11th, 2010
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