LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean Preview: Shipwreck Cove and Swashbuckling Aboard the Black PearlBy Nikole Zivalich - Posted Apr 06, 2011
What We Know: Last time we saw LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game was at GDC. The folks over at Traveller’s Tales Games showed us a level where Jack Sparrow was stuck in Isla de Pelegosto, and he had to maneuver through round cages to get through the level. During my initial session with LEGO Pirates, I was amazed with how much more detailed and textured the settings were than previous LEGO titles. And little has changed.
What We're Seeing Now: For our latest loook, TT Games showed us two levels we hadn't seen before. The first, Shipwreck Cove, is a level based on the third Pirates movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. There will be 20 levels in the final game, five levels per film. Even the upcoming movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, will be included.
Shipwreck Cove is what the name suggests: a rocky cavern level with skeleton's of former ships scattered throughout. The background wasn't shiny or plasticy like you'd expect from a LEGO game. Instead it the wood was grainy, the caves were dim, and the level seemed to be it lit by the glow of lanterns. The soundtrack for this level, and the entire game, might sound familiar, and that's because TT Games licensed all the music from the movies for the games.
In this particular level, you're core mission is to gather the Brethern Court. Jack Sparrow, who actually walks like a drunk, unbalanced LEGO character, must find all the eight characters littered throughout the level. I can’t emphasize enough that LEGO Jack actually flails like the character Johnny Depp made famous. Jack, like all the characters in the game, has a special skill. As in the films, Jack Sparrow the LEGO character relies on his compass to find what his heart desires, or rather what your heart tells him to desire. Will Turner can throw axes and hit high targets. The cursed characters can walk under water, just like they did in the movies. You will need to utilize all your characters’ skills to progress through the game.
One thing I noticed during this play through was the amount of signs. There are signs telling you where to go, where you've been, and where you need to go. Once an objective is accomplished, it's checked off so you know you no longer need to search for it/him/her. This was one of efforts made to keep the attention of more casual gamers. Another feature was sticky beams, meaning you can't fall off of ledges. You can jump off though, but since this is a LEGO game, you don't die; you'll just respawn with a few less coins.
The second level we saw was the battle between the Black Pearl and The Flying Dutchmen, also from the third movie. You must gather together the precious Pieces of Eight, although they've been tweaked a bit from the movie's. Calypso freaks out just like she does in the movie but somehow LEGO crabs are a million times more creepy than the real ones. This level goes from tossing a few items into a barrel, to being attacked by a ship, to engaging in combat with dozens of enemies.
Teamwork will be a major part of LEGO Pirates, and with over 70 playable characters, you'll have plenty of team members to choose from. Puzzles play a major part and one must be solved to save each member of the court. Puzzles aren't terribly challenging since the game is designed for younger gamers, but that doesn't mean they were easy either. When I was going through the level, I had to destroy everything made of LEGOs around before figuring it out.
The core gameplay mechanics from any LEGO game are still there. Gamers will be rewarded for exploring, there are plenty of items to collect, and the drop-in drop-out local co-op returns as well. What makes this game stand out is the Pirate cannon the developers were allowed to work with. There was a lot of effort into making it feel "piratey” with audio and ambiance.
I was promised the game would have plenty of surprises in store as well, but the TT Games reps were mum about those details. I'd like to take this opportunity to speculator that the final un-lockable playable character will be the Kraken.
LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean will be released on May 10 for almost every possible platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, 3DS, and the DS.