Travellers Tales have produced gold for years, but does Lego: The Ninjago Movie Videogame remain true to that standard or is it just another brick waiting to be cast aside?
Alright, so before we get into anything, let's talk context - I have a godson who absolutely loves Ninjago and not just that, but Power Rangers, that weird-ass Umi Zoomi and the incredibly bizarre Pacman show, which uses a racial slur as a pet name for a widely loved and influential character. Curious of the latter? Google it. I dare you.
In short, anything that involves physically hitting something else, I guarantee my godson will be into. If I were to count the number of times I've dodged makeshift weapons thrown at my head, I would have spent more time counting than dodging. With that said, this is a co-review between me and my little buddy Grayson (Yes - Named after Dick Grayson aka Nightwing).
|No villain can prevail when at one with body and mind.|
In the unlikelihood to title didn't already give it away, this Ninjago title is based on the movie and not the TV series, of which I've seen both and man is season 5 is awesome! Players are involved in a typical Lego game experience, using one of many characters in a third person perspective to fight baddies, solve puzzles and of course, gather those lovely Lego Studs that are used as currency throughout the game.
In terms of story, the game sticks to the movie plot, so for those of you (like myself) who have been following the TV show, the change is a little jarring. This is made even less enjoyable due to cutscenes being ripped directly from the movie, and worse still, the audio isn’t great either. At various points I encountered stuttering and framerate drops, but in the spirit of the game and Grayson’s enjoyment, I was able to look past this. The problem only really seemed to occur at points when the vast Cityscape popped into view, which luckily was few and far between.
Gameplay is as you’d expect and no different to every other modern LEGO game released. Simply hammer buttons for a range of basic, though visually impressive combos as you level and expand your abilities through a combo tree. There are some pretty fun Dojos on offer. These are combat challenges similar to the Arkham series style; “Defeat X enemies in X amount of time using X moves etc". These challenges bring a certain level of difficulty and replay-ability to the table, which is a good distraction from the grating plot.
The Graphics are exactly as you'd imagine. The LEGO series creates imaginative and interactive environments with plenty of things to destroy, which in turn grant you those ever sweet Studs and LEGO pieces needed to solve the environmental puzzles. However, when travelling between areas, the loading screens are less than ideal and somewhat game breaking. At a certain point, my little co-reviewer required additional distractions or a Cadbury's Creme-Egg just to help keep him engaged.
|To succeed, you must master the way of the Ninja.|
I’d also like to point out that this game offers local co-op split-screen play, which I cannot praise enough. Travellers Tales know what they’re doing when it comes to offering a fun, family experience. Playing these games guarantees a safe and enjoyable environment for both the long term fan and your everyday family, as they continue to cultivate great gaming experiences with your loved ones. This time, even the little ones get to hold a controller.
As a final verdict, let me say this; Ninjago is fun, but also a case of missed potential. Following the movie as opposed to the several show seasons means it misses out on hours and hours of character development. It could have been an awesome interactive addition to its own mythos, but sadly became nothing more than a movie cash in. Does it stand above some of TT’s other work? Definitely not, but at the same time it, nor is it the worst title they've ever produced. It is however a safe play for people of any age and by the time the story was done, Grayson and I had already turned off the system to re-watch the movie.LEGO Ninjago is good, but not great and if you haven't picked it up already, you're better off playing Lego Dimensions.
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