Tag Archives: studs

LEGO Star Wars is from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

I’ve not played every single LEGO video game out there, but I’ve gone through a good amount, most of which were in order of release. For me, it began with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game back on the PlayStation 2, but it’s probably more accurate to say that the starting point for the evolution of these LEGO video games from TT Games began with LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. That’s where you began to see things like an enlarged hub world to explore and a split-screen camera option for when playing with a co-op partner, both of which have become mainstays for the series. Going back to play LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga recently has shown me just how far the series has come, for better or…no, just better. It’s only gotten better.

That’s not to say LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is a bad game or un-fun. Mel and I have been having a good time completing levels, collecting studs, unlocking red bricks, buying multipliers, and revisiting areas for hidden collectibles. We chip away at the larger beast. The LEGO grind is here, but it’s enjoyable because, compared to LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, not every level takes upwards of an hour to complete. Not every door requires you to solve a minigame to open it. Not every puzzle is dastardly obtuse. I guess there’s some worse in the newer entries after all.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is basically a compilation of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game and its sequel LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, that way you can play through them all together using one single product. Which is good for us because I only ever played through the former of those two, and Mel played the latter with her brother many moons ago. So we both got to experience some new areas together. Also, the game incorporates two previously deleted levels–“Anakin’s Flight” and “Bounty Hunter Pursuit”–though I’m only finding out about this now. Many other levels were redesigned and updated so that both games worked with each other and felt unified. Either way, the games follow the movies, which means you’ll get to see the exciting Trade Federation negotiations go down, young Anakin grow up, watch Luke learn about his father and The Force, and see Ewoks take down the Empire with sticks and stones. Since this is an older entry in the series, the cutscenes are wordless reproductions, but still silly when they want to be.

Here’s something I didn’t expect to ever say: Jar Jar Binks is essential. Early on, his ability to both double jump and jump high is pivotal for getting some hidden minikits, red bricks, or blue studs, which are the ones worth the most money. We brought him into every level we could during Free Play. I do miss the camera that would split in half and allow both players to do their own desires; here, you are stuck to each other, and often it made things easier for one player to simply drop out then for both to jump across sinking platforms floating in red-hot lava. Also, the flying levels are a struggle, especially when you need to get from point A to point B with missiles or a bomb being dragged behind you, and the whole world is out to make you explode. Later, we managed to make a door glitch out and not open despite doing everything right because glitches need stitches. Or something like that. Sorry, I didn’t know how to end that sentence.

We’re currently around the 65% completion mark, with several more levels to fully finish. Then there are special levels to do after you complete everything else, as well as challenges, arcade mode, playing online, gold bricks to buy, characters and vehicles to unlock, special cross-over Achievements to pop, and so on. Only after all that, after we see that 100.0% high in the sky, can we happily put LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga to bed. Still, this has been good co-op fun, which is not bad in July 2017 for the 23rd greatest video game of all time, according to the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition in 2009.

Turn LEGO Marvel’s post-game grind into power

gd lego marvel super heroes final grind

When I beat LEGO Marvel Super Heroes over the weekend–and by beat I mean finished all the mainline story levels and watched the credits roll–I was around the 17% completion ratio. Yowza. I’ve since then been plugging away at all the miscellaneous tasks in the hub world, finding new side levels to unlock, as well as replayed a level or two to get all its minikits or save that Stan Lee in peril I missed on the first attempt. I’m now around the 34% completion ratio–double yowza–and that’s after several hours of doing my thing. Yeah, these LEGO games are becoming more bloated with each new release.

Let me list everything out that I need to complete for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in terms of collectibles to convince myself that I’m not a crazy fella:

  • 150 Minikits
  • 50 Stan Lee in Peril
  • 11 Deadpool Red Bricks
  • 250 Gold Bricks
  • 156 Character Tokens
  • 40 Vehicle Tokens
  • 11 Hub Missions

Triple yowza. Yeah, this, as far as I can tell, is the largest LEGO game to date. If you’ll recall, I really struggled with hitting the 100% mark in LEGO Lord of the Rings, and I only just topped off LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean recently after keeping my distance for four whole years. At times, it can feel overwhelming or simply frustrating, as finding where the collectible is and gathering it are often two very different things. Here, it requires constantly finding the right character to use and then switching to another and then maybe even to a third. Also, I ran into a problem before completing all the story levels where, if you had Spider-Man or the Hulk in play and tried to hold the “change character” button, instead, they would perform a transformation animation. Which meant the only way to change characters then was to find a blue machine via the map; thankfully, this doesn’t seem to happen anymore now that I’ve kicked Galactus’ butt.

Replaying the story levels in Free Play mode continues to feel like the developers are stretching the content a little thin, especially when the only goal of going back is to get a few items previously locked off. Now that hub worlds are a bigger focus for these LEGO games, all collectibles should be kept there so that you only need to experience the story levels once. It’s not like the critical path changes because you bring in Absorbing Man or The Blob instead of the traditional heroes. Look, when I’m president, whether of this country or the Republic of Videogames, I’ll make this happen–I swear it.

All that said, I can’t stay away from these games. They are silly and fun and not terribly punishing in the moment-to-moment action sequences, though I did look up a cryptic puzzle solution or two. You can sort of pick back up where you left off and, so long as you’re gathering studs and got some multipliers on, you are making progress. Slow, but steady. Plus, while I don’t know every single character making an appearance here, I do have a deep fondness for all things X-Men, which means I’m constantly using Cyclops to destroy gold statues, Jean Grey to mind-control innocents, and Wolverine to dig up junk. Characters that fly or hover a foot off the ground can be tricky to use, especially since some like to speed up in the air on their own or never want to touch terra firma ever again.

Even now, as I’m grumbling about trying to finish off my current LEGO logjam endeavor, I’m still thinking about getting LEGO Jurassic World for the home console, as the 3DS version really did not do it for me. Plus, though I only saw the first of the three Hobbit films–talk about bloated, Peter Jackson–and didn’t much care for it, there’s also LEGO The Hobbit to consider. Let me look up what other ones I’ve missed out on in the last few years: there’s two other LEGO Batmans, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and a couple from the Star Wars universe that I’m not really foaming at the mouth for. Toss in the inevitable LEGO Ghostbusters for good measure. Yeah, I should have enough block-building, stud-collecting grinding for years to come. Join me.

Harry Potter and the LEGO videogame logjam

Let’s start with a quote from one wise and mysterious Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore:

Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

We’re there, evidently. The dark and difficult times in particular. That not-so-sweet spot in every LEGO videogame where one must grin and bear it to collect everything that remains because OCD demands it, as well as the fact that a straightforward playthrough unlocks a minimal amount of the game’s actual content. For LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7, we’re talking about red bricks, gold bricks, unlocked characters, Hogwarts house crest pieces, and students in peril.

Since completing the main part of the game earlier this month, Tara and I have been diving back into the world of magic and magical mayhem to chip away at the tower that is a 100% completion rank. It’s a slow process. Unimaginably slow. Like Dumbledore falling off the Astronomy Tower slow. Thankfully, we finally unlocked enough red bricks to turn on numerous stud multipliers and rack up the LEGO-based cash, quickly earning this zinger:


Knuts and Vaults (50G): Collect 1 billion studs (Single Player only)

So, we’re rich. Just like Harry Potter was in the beginning of his school career. Which is great, as now purchasing all the characters we’ve unlocked isn’t even a concern. But the problem is mainly finding the characters to unlock. Let me tell you this–there is nothing more tiring and/or disappointing than replaying a level via the free play format and then complete it without finding all the hidden secrets in it. Your mind immediately brings the hard truth to the front: you will have to play this level again. Possibly a fourth time if you are not diligent enough or paying attention to the level design, because sometimes building a specific LEGO piece completes the level, and you might not have been ready to do that yet. Whoops.

But we’ll keep on keeping on. Two more red bricks to go, about 35 gold bricks, and maybe 60ish more characters/character variants left to find. Oh boy.

The LEGO logjam has also been heavily present in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. For a long, long time. I only have three Achievements left to unlock for that game, but they also require me finding everything. Which I’ve tried time and time again. But like I previously wrote, there is nothing more fun-sucking than replaying a level to not find everything and then knowing you’ll have to do all that again. Ugh.

At some point, I’m going to have to play these levels with a step-by-step guide open next to me on my laptop. And really, that isn’t how it should be done. But it’s the best guarantee at breaking down this dam.

Games Completed in 2011, #19 – LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

“A LEGO pirate’s life for me” would’ve made for a good post title. I’m just saying…

Traveller’s Tales has pretty much cemented their LEGO videogame formula, and it seems like they like what they have in the blueprints and are probably not going to stray from it too much. This is both good and bad. The good comes from the aspect that, nine times out of ten, the formula is fun and silly and an OCD gamer’s utopia, with a billion different things to collect and tasks to complete. The bad is that if you’ve played one LEGO videogame, you’ve played every LEGO videogame, whether it came out today or five years back.

LEGO Pirates doesn’t do anything new or shiny, but it is probably the second most appropriate franchise for LEGO-izing next to Star Wars because the Pirates of the Caribbean films are fun, light-hearted, goofy, epic, and made up of a variety of wild locations. Plus, there’s the character of Jack Sparrow, a man that sways and sways your attention towards him immediately; I still can’t believe how perfectly they nailed him and his persona in LEGO form, right down to the drunken swagger. It truly is a sight to see.

LEGO Pirates covers the main cinematic trilogy, as well as the newest film On Stranger Tides. The cutscenes do a great job of moving the plot along humorously, but a lot of giggles were lost on the fourth movie as I didn’t really understand what was happening and why; these games certainly do benefit from a gamer already knowing the tales in and out, allowing the jokes to resonate more without losing out on crucial plot details. Here’s my guess for the fourth film: Jack Sparrow doesn’t want to grow old so he’s off to find the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard feels the same way. However, for the Fountain to work, they need to make mermaids cry or something. Then some stupid wannabe pirate girl gets stabbed, and we need to use the Fountain to heal her. Oh, and Captain Barbossa has a peg leg now. Maybe a mermaid ate it. The end.

As mentioned before, the gameplay remains the same. You play through a level by yourself or with a co-op partner, smashing everything in your path to collect studs and open new places to explore. Some new tricks include using Jack’s magical compass to find hidden treasures or looking through a telescope and tracking a certain someone as they move around. Other than that, the game is much more puzzle-heavy than combat-heavy, and sometimes the puzzles can be a little difficult to solve, especially when one requires you to have destroyed X over there to complete. I was particularly stuck on the final level of On Stranger Tides, mad to discover that all I was missing was pushing in a block that did not look, um, pushable. Grrr.

Strangely, I noticed that Traveller’s Tales did not include a level editor this time around, which previously showed up in LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 and LEGO Indiana Jones 2. That’s fine. I only tinkered with it a few times and just didn’t find it too much fun, especially since there was no way to share levels online or download new ones. No big loss. I still think drop-in, drop-out co-op via online would be marvelous, as the screen splitting up is often headache-inducing.

If you’re not a fan of the LEGO videogames, this one won’t certainly convince you. However, if you do love collecting studs and building items from broken LEGO bits and listening to dozens of characters mumble their way through a scene or riding giant crabs, then you’ll love LEGO Pirates. There’s plenty to do, to see, to be, and if you love carrots you’ll be especially pleased to know that there’s a lot of carrot humor. Whatever that means.

Living the LEGO life of a pirate

The demo for LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game begins with a young Elizabeth Swan punching a parrot in its face. It’s pure zaniness, but that’s what these LEGO games have always been about–retellings with a special touch. If you’re not laughing, you’re not having fun.

I started to play this demo by myself, but when Tara saw what I was doing, she quickly grabbed another controller and joined in on the fun. We’ve always enjoyed playing the LEGO games together, especially LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4, which was very close to us in terms of interests. Here’s a comic I did many moons ago about our time with LEGO Batman (the weakest of all the LEGO titles actually):

Much of the demo for LEGO Pirates (I’m shortening the title from now on) is actually cutscenes, setting the story up and giving Tara and I many reasons to giggle. The entire game will cover all four movies. We’re playing the first level of the Curse of the Black Pearl, which has Jack Sparrow arriving in town and getting locked up, Elizabeth accidentally summoning those cursed pirates and getting herself kidnapped, and Will Turner slowly becoming allies with a wanted criminal.

The first playable part of the demo is inside Will Turner’s workshop. One player controls Will, and the other controls, um, some guy I can’t remember the name of. His partner? Together, we broke items, collected studs, fed a carrot to a donkey, and repaired a machine, which revealed where Jack Sparrow was hiding. Then it was time for a sword-fight high up in the rafters, and even though I was just mashing the attack button, the swords clinked and clanked and swung wildly, giving the impression of a real duel to the death.

The next area has us controlling Will and Jack, trying to break our way out of jail. This involves using a dog and sniffing out keys. Once we’re done this area, we’re outside in the shiny, bright sunshine, attempting to get to the docks to steal a ship. Tara takes control of Jack and the laughs hit a high when he hops on top of a barrel and begins rolling around with it. We get to do some combat with some soldiers, and then we’re over by a ship, trying to figure out how to commandeer it. Staying in the water too long gets you eaten by a shark. After solving the rather simple puzzles and zip-lining over onto the ship, the demo ends, leaving us wanting more.

However, after playing the main part of the demo, you can go back and do “free play” on the first level, which just gave us an excuse to try out some other fun characters and explore a few locked areas. Tara ran me over several times with a donkey, and then we were officially done for the night.

So, the gameplay is exactly what we’ve all come to expect. For some, that might seem like a downer. However, it’s still the sort of gameplay I like, as it is not too intense for co-op play, and just enough of a collectathon for my OCD. Granted, there are not as many memorable characters to unlock in LEGO Pirates as there were in LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Harry Potter, but I think it’ll still be a blast to control Bootstrap Bill.

The full retail version releases tomorrow, and I’m gonna get that booty faster than you can say, “Oh, barnacles!”

Magically easy money strategy in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

There’s lots of things to buy in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. More so than any other LEGO games. Spells, characters, Gold Bricks, Red Bricks…oh yeah. One’s going to need a lot of studs–the LEGO equivalent to real world money–and I’m here to show y’all a good strategy for acquiring lots of them as you play. Yes, I’m totally aware that simple password cheats exist to help you rack up the studs via multipliers, but personally…that comes across as cheating in my mind. I’d rather earn everything over time than just simply unlock it all in under 30 seconds.

Anyways, once you have access to the Foutain Courtyard at Hogwarts (which further gives you access to the Quidditch Training Field and the Clock Tower), you’ll be able to destroy all the statues around the fountain. Do this. Then use Wingardium Leviosa on the resulting pieces to unlock a Red Brick, also known as a parcel for owl delivery. Bring it over to the local owl, and you’ll unlock the Red Brick for Collect Ghost Studs. Immediately go to Diagon Alley and purchase this ability, which I believe costs like 90,000 studs; the sooner you turn it on, the better your bank account becomes.

During the main missions of the games, a ghost (Nearly Headless Nick, I believe) will be your guide around the castlegrounds and to your next important location. He leaves behind a trail of ghostly studs, which, without this new ability unlocked, give no actual…uh, studdage. Once you do turn this extra feature on, each ghostly stud gives you 1,000 studs. Ka-ching, ka-ching! Now all you gotta do is follow him around each and every time, sometimes leaving an area and coming back to follow him some more. The studs will accumulate really fast. Once you’ve completed all four years, however, the ghost will no longer be active…so, the sooner you get this, the better. Remember, the spell Accio costs four million studs. Let me show you what that looks like in number form: 4,000,000. Get to it!

I’m currently replaying the game solo to collect EVERYTHING as my OCD demands and finish up the Achievements list. I’m leaving the game data Tara and I played together alone until we can get explore the castlegrounds as one happy couple; she’s gonna be so excited to unlock Mad-Eye Moody. Heck, I was thrilled to see that Neville could use his pet frog! This game should really be called LEGO Harry Potter: Fan Service. I’m still very happy with a lot of it, too, but the boss battles disappoint me each and every time.