We’ve always been big fans of the modern Lego games, ever since the original Star Wars adaptations that we played on the Wii, back before we considered ourselves console gamers. In many ways they are the perfect couples games, as I have written in the past such as this article available on The Digital Cowboys website.
The games took a good step forward in playability with the relatively recent Indy Jones 2 introducing some key aspects to improve the co-op game play such at the attach/detach split screen. And now the Harry Potter (Years 1-4) game has gone even further keeping the fun level high and being faithful to the source material, whilst still injecting the essential Lego charm that keeps the games feeling fresh. It is perhaps the perfect example of the power of restrictions on developers. They have their story given to them, their characters can’t articulate past the odd grunt, laugh or mumbled “I don’t know”, and yet they feel more alive than most of the characters the Unreal Engine powered games have had to inspire us with over the years.
These days we play on the 360, and this has the added fun of earning achievements as we go, as well as having some fun ones to drop back into a completed game save to pick up. Almost always fun, and with some excellent naming such as this titles ‘Solid Snape’ which you get to sneaking around in a barrel as Professor Snape. However there is a two edges sword aspect to the achievements when it comes to playing as a couple. There is a large proportion on the achievements tagged as “(Single Player Only)” which basically means whoevers save game it is gets all the achievements, whilst the second player only gets achievements that occur during any given gaming session. This is a real drawback, and requires the other person to then have to play through the whole game again on their own save file to obtain the missing ones. And as fun as we find the Lego games, playing them through once on Story mode and once in Free Play is enough for us. We really could do with an option to start a co-op only save, which can only be loaded when both players are signed into the XBOX but would allow both players to obtain all achievements.
With more Lego games on the way, Pirates of the Caribbean sounding like another good source for a Lego game, we’ll definitely be ploughing more hours into these titles, so with any luck things will become slightly more co-op friendly for the series which is probably at the forefront of co-op couples gameplay.