I’ve never been the biggest toys to life person. I never saw the appeal in buying a game, more expensive than most, having to buy a bunch of toys to fully enjoy the game, in a year buy another game just to have the right to buy more toys. When Lego announced they were stepping into the game I didn’t care much. I like the Lego games and thought it would work pretty well since Lego is already toys but it was even more expensive than other toys to life games so I lost interest pretty quickly. Then a year passed and no new game announcement. The plan instead seems to be releasing “story packs” for some bigger franchises that cost more (about $50) now giving the option if you want new worlds or you can just buy the Level Packs giving you access to a single new level or Fun Packs which give you access to using that character and their vehicle. Each franchise also has a HUB world you can access with any character from their (some splits such as new Ghostbusters and original Ghostbusters as well as Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts). This is a really nice pricing model as if I really want to play Fantastic Beasts related areas and don’t have the money for the story pack I can buy the Tina Goldstein Fun Pack and access the HUB World.
If you’ve played a Lego game you will quickly understand Lego Dimensions. The game comes with Wyldstyle from the LEGO Movie, Batman from DC Comics and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings. You also get the Batmobile. It is entirely possible to beat (and get all achievements) with just these from the starter pack however there’s collectables that require diving or flying or a certain ability that require you owning other characters and vehicles. You also have the ability to pay studs to “hire a hero” to perform the task for you but this often costs quite a bit and usually you have to be grinding to get the amount they need.
The gameplay, as mentioned, is just like previous Lego games. One difference is the removal of a free roam mode as you can access any level with any character any time after you’ve reached it while playing the story. While playing story levels you are pretty much required to have Batman, Gandalf and WyldStyle on the portal which can be annoying. This is because they know you’ll have them so any puzzles required to progress that aren’t using Key Stones will use one of them. I found this annoying as I don’t really like Gandalf’s play style so he was wasting a slot as I never played as him but having him beside the portal and constantly switching him with someone else would be just as annoying. There are some parts others can replace (I’d imagine the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts characters can do any of Gandalf’s magic for him) but that still requires having a specific character on at all times. I also noticed most of WyldStyle’s puzzles were either her being a Master Builder (so Benny or Emmet could replace her) or just unlocking something for Batman to use making her feel pretty useless.
The Key Stones I mentioned are 5 objects you spend the first bit of the story collecting. Once unlocking these allow you to affect certain things depending on portal placement. This could be changing the LED colour of the portal’s areas by walking into blobs of ink with characters on that section or giving your character elemental powers depending on where on the portal they are. While the like the idea the set-up of the portal is annoying as there’s 3 sections, 2 have room for 3 characters and 1 has room for 1 meaning if I need electricity which is usually on the solo spot I’d need to either look and see who is there and switch to them or switch the character I am using with them physically. While this is certainly a minor annoyance it still is one.
So what are HUB Worlds I talked about earlier? These are fairly large areas based on the franchise you are accessing. Getting in requires a character from that franchise and you can wander around completing missions for characters, completing time trial races, finding gold bricks or paying studs to build new things. I found it fun discovering all the secrets and references hidden in HUB Worlds for series I liked such as Portal or The LEGO Movie but for things like Lord of the Rings that I’ve never seen, I just rushed through doing everything I could as quickly as possible so I’d imagine these would be a lot of fun for a kid who loves Scooby-Doo or one of the other franchises.
Other things you can do in the game include upgrading vehicles which costs a lot of studs to fully upgrade, play around with Red Brick extras (which requires finding that specific Red Brick in its HUB World then buying it) or going for Rule Breaker (filling the stud bar at the top) in all the levels and HUB Worlds. Lego Dimensions has a lot to do with just the base game and every new pack you buy (even Fun Packs if you didn’t have access to the HUB World before) add a lot more.