Published on December 23rd, 2010 | by Swaine Dillinger0
Lego Universe – Review
Summary: For those with children who love LEGO, this could easily be a good way to introduce them to the MMO genre
Everybody loves LEGO, whether you’re male or female, we all played with it as kids, making those little blocks into everything and anything that our imaginations could conjure. LEGO’s versatility – indeed the website for LEGO Universe proclaims ‘Build whatever you imagine’ – is well known and it has become the toy of choice for generations. The game has also translated excellently to the console market with a successful series of titles based on Batman, Indiana Jones and that sci-fi classic Star Wars. So the question is, how does their first go at an MMO turn out?
Quite well, actually. LEGO Universe doesn’t try to be WoW or EVE, or even one of the simpler MMOs on the market. Rather, it sits in the middle and sets its sights on kids, both big and small. For those with children who love LEGO, this could easily be a good way to introduce them to the MMO genre, as the game carefully teaches everything we bigger kids know and love about the genre, from class archetypes, lore to other important aspects found in MMOs, like doing quests and collecting pets.
The storyline explains how the LEGO Universe is under threat from the Maelstrom, a malevolent force created from imagination itself. Only a handful of the yellow-skinned minifigures have survived the destruction and so they form the Nexus Force to try and save their universe. Player characters can take one of four roles that emulate the traditional classes under a new name. There are the Mage-like Paradox who are able to harness the Maelstrom and fight back, the Warrior-esque Sentinals, the builders of the Assembly and the explorers’ Venture League. These four classes also introduce the black and white world of opposing factions, and it’s black and white as opposed to other games’ murky grey.
The game operates on a standard subscription model but parents worried about their little ones needn’t worry, as there’s plenty to keep them safe. The game allows players to connect with their friends but also has the in-game legend of the Mythrans, who offer lessons in online safety and helping others. The developers and LEGO Group have also taken time to lay out how the same is safe for younger players, and if you’re a parent of first-time gamers then this can be reassuring. LEGO have taken pains to outline their stance on safety, and it’s a refreshing stance from such a massive, well-loved company.
As for gameplay, LEGO is understandably all about playing and building. You take the roll of one of the iconic minifigures and set out on an epic adventure across a massive universe. There’s plenty to do, too. You can race and play minigames, you can build all manner of amazing creations using LEGO blocks and other accessories which drop from smashable mobs. The collectors out there will also enjoy the pets you can tame. This involves a minigame where you have to identify the blocks in a particular pet. By getting this correct, you get yourself one of a range of crittery companions that include everything from dragons and pandas to robo-animals and dinosaurs.
People expecting graphics found in WoW or Aion will be disappointed but for fans of the other games created in the LEGO style will see a very recognisable look to their first MMO. The simple graphics accentuate the whole experience. This is a game created from one of the world’s most beloved and iconic toy brands. What it might lack in sophistication, it makes up for in inventiveness and sheer fun. The learning curve is perfectly pitched so that even big kids will be able to get in on the act, Indeed, kids might actually end up teaching their parents. LEGO Universe is not just an MMO for kids, it’s an MMO for beginners so that young gamers will easily be able to graduate to more complex games like WoW.
LEGO, quite simply, offers the building bricks that teach gamers the ins and outs of the MMO and lets them have fun at the same time. So that’s not a bad combination for something that’s so fun.