We'll admit it - we were a bit cautious about LEGO Dimensions to begin with. As much as we love the idea of LEGO Dimensions' adorably bricky take on the Skylanders-style 'toys to life' genre - where you buy actual real-life figures to use as your characters in game - there were a few aspects that left us feeling a little bit uneasy. While there are so, so many things the game gets right, mashing up a multitude of different properties, from The LEGO Movie to Back to the Future to The Simpsons, and seeing all the different characters mix is pretty cool (not to mention the LEGO style humour), the biggest issue the game had was in quite getting the balance right between adding value to figures, and locking chunks of the game off to those who don't own a specific figure. Luckily, the latest LEGO Dimensions patch puts things right - and makes a huge difference to the game overall.
One of the highlights of most LEGO games is the fact you can replay levels once you've got a new character, and unlock extra bits and pieces that were previously locked off to you. Every now and then, you'd come across some gold LEGO, or a portal of some sort, which you could only use once you'd unlocked a certain character (by playing the game) - and as soon as you got that character, you had reason to dive back into one of the earlier levels again. Obviously, with LEGO Dimensions, things work a little bit differently, as rather than having to unlock characters in the game, you have to buy them separately. And that wouldn't have been too much of an issue if there were only a handful of abilities you needed to get - but LEGO Dimensions has a tendency to lock things off to a single character. As an example, you'll come across a patch of rainbow Lego bricks, only to find the only character that can put them back together again is Unikitty. Or you'll find some ghosts, and get told you need Peter Venkman, as he's the only one that ain't afraid of no ghosts. And our wallet wept when thinking of how many characters we'd need to buy to see the whole game. Until today!
With the latest update, the folks over at Travellers Tales have totally eliminated one of our biggest issues with the game, and made it feel a whole lot fairer in the process. Now, you have the ability to rent a character for a limited time (using in game money), to get you past particularly pesky obstacles, or access hidden areas. Called "Hire a hero", this is nothing short of a game changer. Here's how it works:
When you come to something you don't have the character for, you'll usually find a "?" box nearby.
Give it a whack, and a helpful hint pops up telling you which characters can be used to get past this obstacle.
The twist now is that as soon as you close the menu, the block will explode into an all new 'Hire-a-Hero' point, where you can exchange 50,000 studs (the game's standard currency, which you collect in game - so no micro transactions here) for thirty seconds time as a character with that ability.
And this is fantastic news. Now, there's a heck of a lot less pressure to buy every figure going, and so much more of the game has been opened up to people who only own the starter pack. While it may be fairly pricey in in-game terms, it's a great way of rebalancing the game - and, if you ask us, will likely leave people more likely to buy extra characters. After all, now we're free to buy whichever favourite characters we want, without having to worry about feeling like we have to buy a character we don't want or like just to get access to a bonus area. Suddenly, buying characters that have the same abilities doesn't seem like such a waste of money.
And while 50,000 studs may be a high asking price, you can make things a little bit easier for yourself by heading to the Lord of the Rings free roaming world (which you'll have access to straight out of the box, even if you only own the starter pack), where you'll find a red brick hidden away that unlocks a x2 stud multiplier, which is sure to make saving those studs a lot easier. And as another nice touch, the game actually won't let you waste your studs on hiring a character for something you already have the figures for - for example, you can destroy silver Lego objects with the 3rd upgrade of the Batmobile, so if you own that, it won't offer you the chance to waste your studs on something you could have done for free.
To say we're surprised would be an understatement - in fact, we're pretty ecstatic. This is a game changer for LEGO Dimensions, and one that everyone will find incredibly useful. Now, even if there's only a few characters you actually want to buy figures for, it looks like you'll still be able to finish the game, as you would with any of the other Lego games you might have played in the past. Everything is most definitely awesome again.