Around 10 years ago, kid me was playing on his PSP, late at night, under his covers so as to not disturb his brother and to stop his parents from seeing him from the light. What he was doing may have been wrong, but it was transporting him into amazing worlds, learning how to drive, completing puzzles, and developing his coordination. These gaming sessions were also developing his personality and interests. One of these interests was LEGO, as a result of playing large amounts of Lego Indiana Jones and Star Wars. This is a review from the nostalgia me, who recently started playing his favourite childhood games again.
So these games weren’t perfect, they were built around a system that had not very much power, speed and memory… But kid me didn’t care about that, he cared about cool stories, especially about ones about a cool adventurer like Indiana Jones. The game when starting from the beginning throws you into the first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, progressing into a tomb to find an ancient artefact that the Nazis want as well. This mission isn’t hard, it’s even easier for me now, after years of getting better at games. The difference this time was that I was able to remember everything about the game.
I could remember where every little LEGO stud was, the techniques of how to cheat to get the maximum number of studs by tricking the game, where every Mini Kit was and the steps needed to get them. Admittedly I had spent a large amount of time reading into an instruction book that would walk you through the game, giving tips and telling you about other things in the game like specific parts of the game design or memories of what happened in the films… I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed it the first time.
It’s the way that it gives you the space needed to explore while being linear enough that you forget about the story. Gives enough combat to make the game fun but also gives you enough tools to make the fight stupid and fun. It’s not just exploration and combat that makes the game great; there are puzzles all over the place to complete, some pattern memory games, movement of objects that unlock doors or provide an item that enables another puzzle. They’re not hard, they’re not often enough that you get bored and has enough variation that you won’t do the puzzles over and over.
This is all without the important factor. Almost everything is made of LEGO, and as such, is destructible or buildable. At the time when the game came out in 2008, this was incredible. The reason why it took so long to produce games like the LEGO Movie Video Game, that not only featured objects that were made of LEGO, but also set in environments entirely made of LEGO, with detailing like the LEGO logo on every single nipple of every block (Is ‘nipple’ the official term for the rounded top of a LEGO brick?). This is really hard to render, so the amount that they managed to put into the game was incredible. There’s one level that is set in Venice, where you’re on the edge of a canal with café stalls and tables and chairs around that are all destructible. Despite the regular environment, it still looks great.
One of the things that have helped make the Lego games so great is the fact that the games are built off of someone else’s characters. Games have been created within both the Marvel and DC Universes using characters that have been seen on TV and Film for a long time now. People are interested in playing games with characters that they already know – It also means that the developers and writers don’t need to build any backstory for the characters. For example, with Batman, there have been 3 dedicated games for Batman and he has also featured in some other games including The LEGO Movie Game. This is especially good for the LEGO games because the early games didn’t have voice acting. Other than over the top body language, there is relatively nothing that can be done to show the way the character is feeling, or give detailed backstory. Indiana Jones already has this backstory; he also has multiple films that the game could potently follow and do. The story’s fit really well in the LEGO style and seeing the story’s that I enjoy in a different, interactive medium just makes it more enticing to me.
So a game that that held my attention for a huge amount of time as a kid still holds up. It deserves a score of 6.5. This is because of its age today though, of course, the graphics are poor and the load times are astronomical, but the fun I’ve had revisiting this game, and all of the others that I have (Star Wars, Harry Potter, anything pre-open-world) has been great fun. For the longest time, I haven’t really understood the power of nostalgia within games, especially over games like Ratchet and Clank or Crash Bandicoot or Spyro, as I never played them when I was younger… But this has opened my eyes; I now see why people want the remasters. Remembering a game you once played is great fun. Just avoid the second LEGO Indiana Jones game…