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June 20, 2016

Lego Dimensions (2016) preview: Harry Potter, Gremlins and more

by John_A

Warner had already announced the upcoming wave of franchises for year two of Lego Dimensions ahead of E3, but going hands-on with the minifigures was where the real excitement started.

Having pulled out all the franchise-stops in its first year, with the likes of Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future and Doctor Who, the challenge for this year’s Lego Dimensions freresh was to find as rich a range of stories to bring in brick form in 2016.

In a nutshell, Warner has done it again. And in style.

Lego Dimensions: Wave 6 assembles and characters

At E3, we got to play with Wave 6 of the expansion packs, both on the screen and with physical Lego. The new Ghostbusters movie, Adventure Time, Harry Potter and Mission Impossible all looked the part and expanded last year’s gameplay considerably.

The biggest change here is the new Story pack for Ghostbusters. The box includes a set of bricks to enable players to remake the Toy Pad in Ghostbuster form. It also includes minifigures of characters from the new film that unlock an adventure world, 6 new levels and the new battle arena mode.

Lego Dimensions: Battle arenas

This battle arena feature is an addition for any of the new minifigures (each denoted by an orange rather than blue base this year). It’s a four-player split-screen challenge that can be strung together to create multi-player tournaments.

Lego Dimensions: Game director speaks

It’s a nice touch. Not only because it offers a new mode of play but because it’s another way to continue using your existing collection of minifigs. And all this is available without the need for a new Starter Pack this year – unlike competitors in the toys-to-life genre.

We had a tour of the new levels with game director Arthur Parsons. He was keen to underline this fresh approach to compatibility. “It’s the second year of Dimensions, nothing is incompatible, everything works with everything.” This is a very nice touch as it offers good value and does away with questions over what works with what.

Talking about Wave 6 Parsons highlighted what will be coming in September: “Mission Impossible and Ethan’s minifigure is great with voice work from the movies. We’ve also got Adventure Time which is such a popular show. We’ve got Harry Potter, Ghostbusters and the A-Team,” he continued.

“Then on into November we have Fantastic Beasts. Then onto Sonic and Goonies.”

It’s an impressive line-up but it is important that pricing is appropriate. The new big Story expansions have yet to get an official price but will likely be quite a bit more than even the £25 Level packs from last year.

Lego Dimensions: Hire a hero returns

Helping negate some costs is the return of the hire a hero feature which Parsons confirmed would be in Year 2 of Lego Dimensions. This enables players to try out characters before actually buying them. That way, they can decide which offers best value for what they want to do in the game.

Parsons confirmed that there are still no plans to offer upgrade trees for the Lego minifigure characters like players are used to in Skylanders, although again you can do this with the vehicles and gadgets that can be rebuilt in different ways.

Lego Dimensions: Updated packaging

Also on display at E3 was the retail packaging for Lego Dimensions. This is similar to last year’s although offered some expanded information about which Battle Arenas each pack would unlock when placed on the Toy Pad.

Lego Dimensions: Retail packaging

With the demise of Disney Infinity and the rise of various start-up competitors, like Anki Overdrive and Infinite Arms, the toys-to-life space is on the move. Lego Dimensions and Skylanders are still the two big incumbent games and neither are resting on their laurels. At least, that’s our take after E3 2016 closed its doors.

Lego Dimensions will be hard to beat. It has such a wide ranging and well known line-up of TV and film stars at its behest. Who could resist Knight Rider, Gremlins and the A-Team?

Not us, that’s for sure.

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