Danny and Pedro ransack Tortuga, the Flying Dutchman, Blackbeard and more...and let you know if they had fun in the process.
Danny: Since last generation, Traveler's Tales has delivered LEGO based titles featuring numerous franchises including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Harry Potter, and even Rock Band. The inclusion of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean seemed like it would be a good fit for the format, and apparently Disney thought it was a good idea as well. The game features segments from each of the four Pirates of the Caribbean movies with a mix of the quirkiness that is found throughout the other LEGO titles and does so while staying true to the canon.
Pedro: For me, while I've always enjoyed and respected the LEGO games, I've never been into them too much until this release. I love Disney and I especially love the Pirates film franchise. LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean does a magnificent job of capturing the Pirates myth while bringing its own sense of humor to it all.
Danny: LEGO Pirates holds true to the movies in the fact that there is an ample amount of action throughout each of the levels in the game. The game is split pretty evenly between puzzle and action elements. The game's hub, called The Port, initially starts out pretty small, but becomes more and more expansive as you play the game. The Port also gives you access to areas for each of the four Pirates movies, each containing five playable levels. Not all of the levels are crammed full of action, there are also unique aspects from the movies presented for players to experience. For example, Davy Jones' Locker and Tortuga focus more on finding items and people in order to progress. This is a great contrast from other more action oriented levels and really helps give the gameplay a balance of styles. While the Port is the main hub to get into the story of the game, there are also a number of things that you can do, such as obtain more LEGO studs, customize characters, and purchase characters that you came across in the story mode. To purchase most characters, you simply go up to them and confirm that you want to purchase them, whereas enemy characters, such as Davy Jones or crew from the Black Pearl or Flying Dutchman, have to be spanked a few times with your weapon to the point of yielding before you can purchase them.
Pedro: LEGO Pirates does stay true to the movies, presenting us with a summarized version of the film's plot on each chapter and highlighting important moments. While the way the game mocks the characters and the storylines may come across as insulting to the franchise, it is all done in good fun. It is a gentle and affectionate parody towards the films that everyone from casual to hardcore fans of the series can appreciate. Even the representations of some of the darker themes are presented with a lot of humor. The only downside to this is that if you have not seen any of the four movies, the game will spoil some of the best moments. Even though the cutscenes are presented in pantomime, they are clear in what they are trying to say.
Danny: Visually, Traveler's Tales did an admiral job bringing Pirates of the Caribbean to life in LEGO form. The game might not blow other Wii games out of the water visually (no pun intended), but the colorful, exotic locations are well crafted and run smoothly on the Wii. I did, however, run into some instances where some of the character models' colors would freak out. For example, I was in the hub world destroying crates and collecting more LEGO studs. Suddenly, a multicolored flashing Davy Jones comes running into the area wreaking havoc and attacking good townsfolk. Actions such as these are something that you normally see throughout the hub world, but from what I remember, Davy Jones was never pink, purple and blue all at the same time. This happened to me on more than one occasion with various characters. It doesn't break the game, but it is a notable glitch nonetheless.
Pedro: In comparison to the high definition versions of the game, the Wii version does pale when it comes to lighting, textures and character models. The haunting yet captivating atmosphere of the films is somewhat lost in this version of the game. But it all works well, especially the characters, which are very expressive and detailed in their design. There are times, however, where there are too many elements on-screen at once, causing a lot of slowdown when there is too much action. It should be noted that just like previous games in the series, LEGO Pirates features songs from film's soundtracks, which adds a very authentic and epic feel to the gameplay.
Danny: In most cases, the controls in LEGO Pirates work very well. Most of the characters have special abilities that other characters do not. For example, Jack Sparrow uses his compass to help him find hidden objects, Will Turner can use small hammers as projectile weapons, and Gibbs can mend broken machinery with a welding hammer, and so on. While there are a lot of different abilities, there are a number of characters who have the same skills and items. It does not detract from the game one bit, as it is still a ton of fun trying to unlock all of the 70 plus characters in the game. While the controls work very well in most cases, the platforming elements can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance. This is sometimes due to the odd camera angles that the game gives you, making it hard to judge distance. It does not ruin the experience, but can be annoying to go across the same plank for the umpteenth time.
Pedro: I found the platforming to be glitch ridden on occasion. Even if it isn't bad enough that it ruins the game for everyone, there are still quite noticeable nuisances. The worst I've encountered is that characters will sometimes get stuck in place. Sometimes it is so bad that you have to either switch to another character or restart the level. Then there are times in which the platforms are slippery for no real reason. Even when you manage to land on a platform, your character will sometimes slip and fall off, causing unwanted deaths and loss of hard earned studs.
Danny: LEGO Pirates features two-player local multiplayer, but no online mode.
Pedro: Two player mode has been cleverly implemented. Whenever the characters are apart from each other, the screen will split in two, showing where each character is. Once the two characters are united, the screen will return to normal. This makes the action easier to follow when the players are working on different elements of the level. The lack of online play, however, is still disheartening.
Danny: Traveler's Tales consistently delivers enjoyable, funny games to players and LEGO Pirates is no different. If you are a fan of the LEGO series of video games or of Pirates of the Caribbean, there is fun to be had here. While flaws with gameplay and lack of online play are a bit of a downer, this is a great game with an abundance of things to do.
Pedro: Even with nearly ten games in the LEGO series, the formula is still as captivating as it was from the first day. The use of the Pirates license is respectful while gently poking fun at its iconic moments. The gameplay could use a bit more polish, but there is indeed a lot to do in this game, making it one of the best Pirates games to date. To sum it all up, LEGO Pirates is a lot like the main character of the franchise, Jack Sparrow. Sometimes its messy, confusing and even annoying, but you still love it anyway. Savvy?