First off, full disclosure, I consider myself a novice gamer and by many people’s standards, I’m probably being generous. The only video game I have ever beaten is Journey and most of my gameplay was on a Nintendo 64 as a child in the late 1990s. That in mind, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to check out the Doctor Who level of the new Lego Dimensions game at San Diego Comic-Con!
Right off the bat – Lego Dimensions looks amazing! It is a beautiful game that understands the constructs of the medium it is being designed in and creatively renders characters, props and settings across a wide variety of properties that are massively popular. We’re here for Doctor Who, though and the classic BBC series easily shines the brightest. Not only are familiar characters like the Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald and Missy present, along with the latest update of the TARDIS, but Lego Dimensions has twelve (or thirteen, depending on how you count!), very cool Easter Eggs for Whovian gamers. Every incarnation of the Doctor is available for gameplay! The minifig players start out with looks like Peter Capadi’s Twelfth Doctor (with the Scottish actor himself providing the voice), and when players call down the TARDIS and go inside the machine there is an option to switch to any past regeneration of the infamous timelord – yes, that includes John Hurt’s War Doctor from the 50th Anniversary Episode. Each regeneration speaks in the voice of their respective actor (or a darn good match, in the case of some of the older incarnations), and when you re-enter the TARDIS the interior will match that Doctor.
For example: when the First Doctor enters his TARDIS the interior is rendered in black and white with a layer of static over top, the Fourth Doctor’s TARDIS matches Tom Baker’s and the Ninth Doctor’s is as fans will remember from the pilot relaunch.
Bonus Easter Eggs: when players “die” as a specific Doctor they regenerate into the next, One becomes Two becomes Three all the way up to Twelve who regenerates into One and begins the cycle all over again. A Dalek is playable in the game and the Doctor can ride around on it and shoot enemies and K9 is available as a vehicle.
As far as the actual gameplay, it is very accessible. As a total newbie gamer I had no problem figuring out the controls and it’s very helpful that in the Lego games characters are constantly telling players what to do. If this is problematic for some gamers, I would encourage them to remember that Lego games are designed to be for children. To my understanding, controls are similar to those from previous games and the introduction to the Doctor Who level is lengthy enough for players of any skill levels (even me!), to figure out how to do everything – including how to jump on the Dalek and ride it around like a madman with a box!
The main criticism that I would have with my Lego Dimensions playing experience would be that Clara Oswald is not rendered very well. Whereas the Twelfth Doctor very much resembles his human counterpart, Clara is a generic minifig in a brown wig with a scene that does little to nothing to enhance the story in any way.
To conclude, Lego Dimensions is a must-play for Whovians, not only for the variety of Doctors available, but for the awesome chance that you could have your Doctor of choice, Scooby-Doo and Batman all in the same place fighting a gigantic Cyberman. The starter pack is affordable, although as Lego Dimensions expands in popularity it is certain to break the bank in the most wonderful way.
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