View Full Version : SA Special - Pirates of the Caribbean pack

Shining Aquas
03-21-2010, 11:14 PM
I do exist, by the way. I haven't died. I'm still here.
Due to the recent releases of tons of other awesome games, LBP got shelved for a bit. Now that I'm finished/temporarily satisfied with most of them (still working on FFXIII), I've had a chance to see what's new for LBP.

I never realized that the Water pack that had been hiding in the shadows for so long had revealed itself in the form of Pirates. Somebody I know had to tell me.
Well, better late than never I guess. PIRATES! :arg:

So, I'll review this pack in the same way I reviewed the Metal Gear Solid pack, talk about what the levels have to offer first, move on to the new gameplay mechanic (water), and finish it off with the afterthoughts.

Level wise, it's the same sort of package as last time. Replace 4 levels of beige gunmetal stealth action and an insanely mechanical boss fight with 4 levels of seafaring high-tailed adventure and an oversized calamari/cannon ship combo.
Top that off with a survival level focused almost entirely around the new mechanic, Frank's a donut and then you're done.

In my last review I noted that while the entire pack was stylized in Metal Gear Solid fashion, the actual gameplay came a lot closer to Ratchet and Clank than Metal Gear due to the stealth aspect being overly minimalized and the gun-toting antics being pumped way the hell up on the division scale. I didn't have a problem with this, nor do I think anyone else did since the whole experience was a blast to play through and provided large quantities of enjoyment for us all. Well, it appears that Media Molecule has worked their magic yet again only this time with Pirates of the Caribbean stylized levels that play exactly like all of the underwater Crash Bandicoot levels all rolled up together, and all the non-water segments pretty much played like standard LBP anyways so the overall theme is once again a tad misleading. For the second time, I'm not complaining about this.

The levels were all excellent fun. I think I played through the whole thing the first time with 3 other chums so the experience was of course amazing, but even going back to get all the Pirate Booty the second time I ended up enjoying the levels just as much. They are all very well built (exactly what I've come to expect from Media Molecule), very well organized, and were stuffed with more fun flavor than a Thanksgiving dinner. My only beef would be that the levels didn't really present any real challenges....like, at all. Yes, water is a fairly unfamiliar mechanic to all these new players, but the levels felt a tad oversimplified even for players experiencing the unfamiliarity. I don't doubt that water probably took a lot of time and testing out of the Media Molecule team, but for such a complex build the mechanic made everything so simple. Still, the levels were certainly fun to play, and that's all they really needed to be in the first place, right?

Now for the tricky part: Water. Is it good? Fantastic is the only way I can describe it. I consider Water as a game mechanic almost infinitely cooler and stronger for the game and its community than the Paintinator.
Now, do I think it is as fun as the Paintinator? Maybe not so much. Yes, water is overall a much better mechanic for the game and its future than the paint gun, but its significantly easier to have fun with the game with the silly gimmick than the deep level mechanic. People will still tend to be more naturally drawn to the paint gun than they will to water in my honest opinion. (By the way, I'm not worried about that because I know there's still plenty of people out there that want to get their hands dirty with water, so I know there will still be plenty of water levels to come)

Afterthoughts? I think LBP really needed this. Deeply, in fact.
For the longest time, many people have been making levels with simulated water effects, temple levels with underwater segments, and levels that take place completely underwater (Azure Palace ring any bells?). People found both the means and the inspiration to make these stages without sufficient tools, driven to make the swimming styled stages for the many nautical explorers out there. Now, they can make those stages 100% better than ever. I think the future of LBP is looking mighty bright with this one.

Final Score: 9.5 / 10
(9 on levels, 10 on mechanic)
Water will help to revolutionize new levels in LBP, and to make it even better the levels are immensely fun to play. This pack is totally worth the $6.

On a side note, here's a few things I'd like to see in the future:
- Underwater temples with the story level candles (since those flames don't go out in water)
- Constantly sinking survival levels
- Swimming in the dark (I'm actually working on this, remaking Trail of Valor as we speak)

03-22-2010, 01:22 AM
Really nice review, I feel almost exactly the same as you.