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8.0

Lego Battles review
Lego Construct Another Classic

The good:

It’s huge; if you are in it for the long haul, you are going to get plenty of hours out of this title.

You can collect Lego studs during play which will allow you to buy all sorts of things from the in-game shops.

It feels like a real RTS. It sticks to the bare bones of the genre and succeeds.

The bad:

Sometime units snag on terrain which will hinder their route.
There isn’t much story emphasis in some parts of the campaign mode.

Summary:

I remember to this day that when I was just a young’n I would spend most of my free time swimming in what seemed to be an ocean of tiny studded bricks, constructing the tallest of towers and wackiest of little cars. Of course, nowadays, I am too old for it, so my horde of yellow-skinned friends were banished to the attic where they still reside today, but the fond memories I have still remain. You could say that gaming severed the bond between me and my Lego fetish, but in adopting a liking for video games, I was pleased to see an influx of Lego games being released for both the PS one and the PC.

Lego Racers was my first Lego game and I loved it, in fact I still love it so much I wish that they made it a digital download on PSN or ported it onto a DS cartridge. Then I was greeted by Rock Raiders, a bird’s-eye adventure set on a sci-fi mining planet. Of course, we had the Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones games not long ago, both series proving that Lego is still massively popular; a developers is even thinking of taking the whole Lego experience into an MMO game.

Lego Battles is a hand-on-heart RTS (Real Time Strategy) that takes from Age of Empires, possibly the pioneer of the RTS genre along with the original Warcraft. The game opens into a menu from which you can dive into the huge story mode, play a quick match against CPUs, play online, or view your collectibles and options menu.

The story mode consists of six separate stories, each with three acts, with roughly 5 missions in each act. The playable forces are: The King and his knights vs. The Wizard and his undead horde, Captain Redbeard and his crew vs. The Admiral and his men, and also The Space explorers vs. The Space criminals. Basically, there are 3 scenarios, and you get to play either side. Each act opens with a brief yet hilarious Lego man cut scene which fleshes out the situation in each chapter with the use of yellow-headed silence.

The first few missions in the game will simply act as tutorial missions, allowing you to get accustomed to the game at a pace you are comfortable with without too much of a learning curve, especially for those RTS fans out there. In the first missions you will be required to build up fortresses and settlements by constructing farms, barracks, and mills. Unlike most RTS games, Lego Battles only requires you to harvest one single resource, bricks, which can be obtained from chopping down trees (or crystals in the space scenario) or gathering them from a mining point. These bricks can then be used by builders to construct a number of different buildings such as farms, defense towers, bridges and siege workshops, very much like a conventional RTS. Building up your resources is a vital part of the game, in fact one of the multi-player modes is just based around gathering them, and the first team to reach a pre-set number of bricks is the victor.

It’s not just about having a flashy little settlement in battles either; you will also need to construct an army of yellow minions. Of course, each faction each has their own special kind of soldiers including Knights, Oarsmen, Trolls etc. You will also be able to construct ships and siege weapons too, which will each play a part in taking down your enemy.

The actual missions within the story mode will usually have you retrieving an item of importance, protecting a settlement for a pre-set time, or simply destroyed your enemy’s settlement. The objectives are driven by a small amount of dialogue fleshing out the situation of each mission, but don’t expect Warcraft 3-inspired dramatic conversations.

The game plays out pretty smoothly for an RTS, you simply use the stylus to lasso groups of soldiers or workers and then tap depending on whether you are attacking or just moving, and that is pretty much the entire gameplay wrapped up in one. Tapping on building will bring up side-menus which allow you build thing or recruit soldiers (this is represented by a red brick in the top left corner of the screen), and heroes also have magic abilities that can have awesome effects on the fight (represented by yellow brick).

In terms of presentation, the game looks just how an RTS should look; not too much detail, but retaining solid animations in the character models. The cut scenes are pretty well made, but I would have liked to have seen more. As for the music, it’s what you would expect, again from an RTS title; it loops constantly, but changes when you reach different stages of the battle.

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