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LEGO Universe Hands-On Impressions -- This Isn't Just For Kids

pklepek
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Posted January 11, 2010 - By pklepek





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LEGO Universe Hands-On Impressions -- This Isn't Just For Kids

Alright. Fine. I realize I'm no longer the target demographic for LEGO, even though I consistently find myself playing every single LEGO game that comes out and the upcoming LEGO Harry Potter is one of my most anticipated games of 2010. So when I realized CES 2010 would provide the first opportunity for me to go hands-on with the upcoming LEGO MMO, LEGO Universe, I smiled wide.

At first glance, LEGO Universe doesn't actually look very different from the LEGO games that Traveller's Tales popularized before it, a move the developers told me was done on purpose. Developer NetDevil wanted consumers who have played other LEGO games to come into LEGO Universe with an immediate sense of familiarity. As such, tiny pegs spawn from built LEGOs and the characters even stack them with a strikingly similar set of animations. It's the good kind of familiar.

Most TheFeed readers are probably in my camp, interested in the possibilities of LEGO Universe but unsure whether the game's design will actually make it interesting to play longer than 10 minutes.

The verdict?

While my hands-on time with the game didn't make the former clear (largely because it was in the game's opening world, where the gameplay's very basic), the nearly hour-long demo the folks developing the game presented to me at CES 2010 made a better case for it. LEGO understands there are people who don't have access to a pile of LEGOs in their apartment but would relish the opportunity to bring their LEGO ideas to life and share them with a vibrant online community.

LEGO Universe CES 2010 Trailer »


LEGO Universe currently contains more than 80,000 different kinds of LEGOs. Here's an impressive fact: whenever NetDevil produced a piece of concept art, it was immediately sent to the folks at LEGO to have a professional LEGO builder make sure it could be properly recreated with actual LEGO pieces. When you build something within LEGO Universe, there will also be an option to have the game spit out a build order that will list what real-world pieces you need to purchase to make it. And when you design something in the game, it'll populate in the world as an example for others.

You can get more ambitious than that, too, in the game's world editor, which provides complete design control over an entire LEGO-based world. You can script the AI movements of enemies and objects using an impressive visual-based scripting language (meaning folks myself won't be completely left out) and if the prospect of building an entire world on your own seems daunting, bring some friends into the mix. LEGO Universe allows multiple people to be building within the same world simultaneously. It also means other users can act as beta testers of content you're building in real-time.

Thousands of CES attendees were signing up to become part of the upcoming LEGO Universe beta. There's no launch date for the beta, but since everyone who signed up at CES was being guaranteed a spot, it sounds like LEGO and NetDevil are going to make the beta pretty open.

Are you excited yet? I sure am.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

LEGO Universe Hands-On Impressions -- This Isn't Just For Kids
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