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.
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
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?
Remember 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
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
. 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
No 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
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
could barely fill one month of enjoyment. The
replay is entirely in bringing your imagination to life in brick form.
Pros and ConsPros:
- 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
- Flat, unimaginative quests
- Not enough content
- Overbearing social restrictions
- Ranged weaponry practically unusable due to unpredictable
- Sorting through massive piles of LEGO bricks is more fun in
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
. 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.
- Game Name: LEGO Universe
- Review Date: November 11th, 2010