(Editor’s Note: Rawr.)
We get back into the podcast game with the first episode of Little Kid Podcast, starring my youngest son. He wanted to talk about dinosaurs in the first episode, so this week’s theme overall will be dinosaurs. I will start the discussion with one of our favorite games over the past few months.
We’ve always been fans of the Lego games. So, naturally, after watching Jurassic World (more on that Friday), we had to try the game. I ordered it from Gamefly, as I do when we want to try before buying them. Hey, we’re cheap gamers!
It took me a while to finally get around to play the game. Aiden, Quinn, and LIam hogged it for the first month or so. More accurately, Quinn and Aiden played the game daily with Liam jumping in every now and then to help out. I didn’t start playing until they needed help on a particularly difficult mission. Once I played the game, I was hooked.
This should not come as a surprise. I have been playing Lego video games since I discovered Lego Star Wars on the Playstation 2 many years ago. However, the early games left much to be desired in the gameplay department. First, and they quickly fixed this, the original games had only one save slot. That became quickly apparent when the boys went to play the game and erased my almost 100% complete game file. I finally did finish the game 100%, but that’s still a pain in the neck.
As an aside, Pokemon games still only have one slot for save games. Numerous times I’v wanted to start a game only to realize that I will have to delete Liam’s or Aiden’s hard earned progress. Otherwise, I have to buy a new version of the game. And that’s really what they hope will happen.
Thank goodness that the Lego games learned from that mistake and fixed it. I will say that they are one of the best developers when it comes to fixing their games. The only other one I know of that tinkers as much publicly is Blizzard and their “balance” patches are sketchy at best for some of their games. Take Two doesn’t have that problem. Every change is necessary, in my opinion, and addresses a valid complaint.
First, these games are meant to be played cooperatively with your kids. I’ve already mentioned that they asked me and Liam to help them with difficult parts. Sure, you can plant them in front of the electronic babysitter and call it a day, but they will get to parts in the games that are difficult and frustrating for them. Hell, some of them are downright impossible because they were tough for me. When playing with a young child, the main frustration in the game comes from only being allowed to travel as far as the other player will allow you. When that player is constantly running into the “wall” at the other edge of the screen, you lose interest very quickly.
In order to prevent a plague of unplugged controllers and reset consoles, Lego fixed this issue by splitting the screen when one player gets to far away from the other. This broke the tether completely and allowed both players to explore the entire map independent of what wall your partner decides is his best friend. Makes the games infinitely more enjoyable and they were already illegal levels of fun.
The final quality of life improvement in the games is that they’ve made the main stage of the game more interactive. It used to be that they were mostly just for moving from level to level, occasionally hitting things for coins, or creating your character. But, they’ve added secret places, characters wander through the area and allow you to purchase them to play in the game, and even have their own missions to complete.
Overall, the Lego games have come a long way in the time that I’ve been playing them. Instead of resting on their laurels and pumping out game after game with the exact same graphics, story, and gameplay, Take Two continues to improve the game with each new release. The graphics get better, the controls get slightly more responsive, and the gameplay gets better by leaps and bounds. If you are someone who swore off the Lego games due to the limitations of the original releases, come back and play them again. You won’t be disappointed. And, if you are, go back to play some more Call of Duty: Good Luck with the VA department when you retire or whatever the latest version of that run down series is called.