How the LEGO games could easily innovate
If there’s one game franchise that best encapsulates the phrase “comfort food gaming”, it’s most definitely the LEGO games. Not only has the series been able to transcend some of our favourite entertainment franchises for over 10 years now, but they are the perfect way to switch your brain off when a game such as the next Dark Souls rolls around.
One aspect of the LEGO games franchise that finds itself constantly under criticism is in its formula which for some leaves them wanting more. In recent years, Traveller’s Tales (TT) games have introduced such aspects as open worlds (LEGO Batman 2), toys-2-life gameplay (LEGO Dimensions) and toy box areas (The LEGO Movie Videogame), but it’s quite true that there are still plenty of ways to shake up the formula. Here are just a few ways the LEGO games could get some extra spice to them.
Perhaps above everything else, online co-op is the most demanded feature amongst fans of the LEGO game genre. Believe it or not, there was once a PS3 generation LEGO game that did this in the form of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, but this was swiftly swept under the rug when it came to future instalments. TT games state the reasoning as to guarantee that the experiences found in each game always remain “family friendly”, and while this may be a valid concern it inhibits the full enjoyment one can possibly have when playing a LEGO game.
Honestly, I love couch co-op as much as the next person, but an online buddy would be very much appreciated when hunting down the final 50 of those evasive gold bricks, especially in versions that boast an open world. Hopefully one day this is a feature TT Games will one day see the value in, until then it’s back to the collectable guides.
LEGO games are renowned for their large and expansive character rosters, allowing players to fully take control of some of their favourite licenced characters. The most impressive example of this is undoubtedly LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, never in a million years did I believe we’d see The Protector in a game, thanks to the LEGO games we have! Despite this factor, odds are that most players will not utilise characters such as this much more than once. Introducing character progression would be an ideal way for people to become more invested in each available character.
Imagine selecting a specific character when booting up LEGO Jurassic World, working your way through the 12 missions as a single character as he levels up throughout. The stud mechanic could no longer solely act as a form of currency but also XP, readily making skills and bonuses unique to each character unlockable. Although this would require TT Games to introduce more variety, some might appreciate this added attention to detail as opposed to an additional hundred characters that players are likely to never touch. Character progression, an easy way for the LEGO games to add depth in their games whilst still remaining accessible for all audiences.
More interesting boss fights
Let me put this out there, I love the fact that the LEGO games are one of the few game franchises left out there still championing the idea of boss fights. Whilst there will always be games such as Dark Souls, Shadow of the Colossus and Shovel Knight that still continue to explore the aspect of end level bosses, it’s really in the LEGO games that you’ll find them in a triple-A franchise.
In terms of the boss fights often featured in LEGO games, it largely boils down to hitting them between 3 and 5 times before they eventually retreat only to send more of their minions towards you. Imagine if these boss fights were far more varied, with enemies that transformed into various forms that needed to be tackled differently by introducing puzzle elements or bosses that grow stronger over time. Suddenly you bring a sense of freshness and surprise that would always keep you guessing at the end of each LEGO level, able to be likened more to that of a Zelda game rather than a punch bag simulator.
Varied weapon/fighting style types
At present, there are two main modes of combat within all of the LEGO games, characters that prefer to be all punchy-punchy and ones that prefer to be all shooty-shooty. Of course there are specific fighting styles unique to the bulkier shaped characters, but it’d be great to see this expand further into different fighting styles or more unique weaponry other than swords or sabres (IP permitting of course).
To be fair this is something TT Games has already been experimenting with, a key example being the Flash’s move set in the LEGO Batman series which sees the character spin around enemies to catch them off balance before dispatching them accordingly. Expanding on this experimentation would make things a lot more interesting when playing with friends, and could even influence your decision as to what character to play as in Free Play mode.
Whenever if been put through the gauntlet of an Uncharted’s Crushing mode or find myself dying 600,000 times when tackling Rogue Legacy, there’s nothing I like more than to gorge on a good LEGO session to cleanse my pallet. If any of these suggested features compromise any of the fun that can be had when playing, by all means throw them out the window, a few subtle changes to the formula however probably wouldn’t hurt.