This weekend I started playing the new Lego: Lord of the Rings games. And somehow I forgot how much fun the Lego games are. You might find them immature, or juvenile, but the Lego series does some things that other games can’t. A lot of developers could learn a thing or two from Lego’s games, starting with:
1. Bringing Comedy Back to Video Games
Video games now a days are serious business.There might be some comedy here and there, a funny one liner in a cut-scene or a weapon with a funny skin, but comedy isn’t what’s important. All of the really popular big release games focus on killing and war. And games don’t need violence and gore to be fun. They can just be simple and funny. The first video games just had simple combat like the original Mario and Zelda, and they’re still great games. It might not be amazing to smash a Lego character into pieces, but it’s funny, and it’s fun.
2. Keeping it Casual
Another constant in the Lego video game franchise is it’s simplicity. When you start up a Lego game you can sit back and just enjoy playing the video game. You don’t have to worry about your K/D or unlocking specific achievements. You can just enjoy playing the game! And while I love getting immersed in a game, it’s time consuming, and draining. Not every game has to be as in-depth as Skyrim, and you shouldn’t have to worry about your score or kill to death ratio every time you turn on the console. Lego keeps games casual, and that’s quickly becoming a rare thing to find in AAA title games.
3. Giving Us a Fair Price
The price of a game is just as important as the gameplay. Nowadays its rare to find a new release that isn’t $60. Not all games are created equal, and so their price shouldn’t all be the same. Lego: Lord of the Rings was released with a $40 price tag for consoles, and an only $30 price tag for the PC. While I find the Lego series quiet enjoyable I wouldn’t think of shelling out $60 for one of their games. Actually, there’s not many games that I get on day one because of the $60 price, it just doesn’t seem worth it. Unless the game is really really good, I’d rather just wait for a price drop. Lego gives players a game that’s worth $40, so that’s what they sell it for. And is Lego going to charge another $20 every season for additional map packs or DLC?
4. A Great Storyline
Sure, Lego doesn’t use their own story lines, they copy popular movie’s stories. But they pick good movies to do games on. Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman, even Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter are all pretty good series. And what’s even more important is they do the movies justice. I’ve played many games based on recent movie releases and they don’t follow the same story at all. Lego makes sure that they keep true to the original franchise. Lego: Lord of the Rings uses the original dialogue and soundtrack from the movies. What other movie based game does that?
5. Collectibles Worth Collecting
This might not be a big selling point, but it’s an important one. I’m not much for collecting things for achievements. Killing pigeons in GTA, collecting flags in Assassin’s Creed, even finding skulls in Halo never really made me feel accomplished. I always thought it was just a way for developers to shove a couple more hours of repetitive nonsense in a game for hardcore fans. But in Lego games you collect other characters to play as. Not only does it game the make more unique, but I don’t feel like I have to collect every single one of them. It retains the casual feel, but still gives you something to strive for.
Lego games might not be the most intense series, and many gamers might write the franchise off. But Lego does some things that other games could learn from. How do you feel about the Lego video game franchise?