For those of you that have followed the YouTube channel, I’ve been doing my retrospective series on TT LEGO Games for some time now, replaying the games and pitting them against current standards while also analysing the innovations they’ve brought to the series overall. In this crazy time of lockdowns and uncertainty I thought now would be a good time to pause, reflect, and try something a little different.
I’ve been looking back over the last couple of years and reflecting on all of those gaming hours I’ve piled into the retrospective series and I thought I’d put together a list of my personal top five LEGO video games of all time.
Remember folks, this is just an opinion and I’m sure you all have very different lists, in fact I’d love to hear them, so please do let me know what your top five are. For now, though, let’s take a look at my favourite LEGO games of all time.
5: LEGO City Undercover
Starting off with one of the few games that didn’t come from movie/comic book source material, an original LEGO creation, LEGO City Undercover. I only played this properly to completion recently for the series, having missed the chance during it’s initial release.
What I found was a game that did a lot of things very different from any other LEGO game, and required more effort than a Tolkien novel to 100%.
It’s biggest downfall is also one of it’s biggest bonuses, it’s huge and due to a lack of map hints requires a lot of exploration to complete. By the end of it, you’ll find that you’ve explored almost every inch of the large open-world map.
LEGO City Undercover also sits high on my list of favourite LEGO games because of the innovations it made to the series, changing things up and trying new things. This is probably most notable in the character selection, as technically you’re always playing as the one character, just in disguise, and depending on the disguise, you get a number of the abilities to play with.
It’s a fantastically fun addition to the LEGO games history, with so many unique features that you won’t find in any other game in the series. Well worth a playthrough if you’re yet to spend time with Chase McCain.
4: LEGO Harry Potter – Years 1-4
In at number 4 is the first LEGO Harry Potter game, Years 1-4. Why would I choose this over it’s new successor? Despite the fact that the later movies may have been stronger, the early years of Harry Potter in the LEGO games made for a far more fun game in my view. Years 5-7 didn’t do enough to set itself apart from it’s predecessor in my opinion, with all of it’s best ideas being carbon copies of the first game – also the layout for the open world Hogwarts was far better in the original game.
I’ve always found that the most fun games in the series are the ones that push the template, try new things and rejig the established mechanics. The first Harry Potter did just that, replacing character abilities with spells which you learn as you progress through the story in school classes. It was a genius move and integrated the open world and core story levels brilliantly, probably better than any LEGO game that came before it.
With six levels per movie, totalling 24 levels across the game, this was and still is one of the most content heavy stories that TT games has created as well. While six levels for a movie as action packed as a Harry Potter adventure might not seem like much, the game never feels rushed, they managed to balance core story components in the levels with filler scenes as part of the open world perfectly.
One of the main highlights of the game has to be the recreation of the Goblet of Fire and how the trials are adapted for the LEGO experience, it’s masterfully done.
Despite the inferior graphics, and it’s noticeable even in the remaster collection that released only a few years back, when compared with it’s sequel the game as a whole is the far more enjoyable of the two.
3: LEGO Marvel Superheroes
Well, there had to be a Marvel game on this list, and despite being an avid fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s not LEGO Marvel’s Avengers. The original LEGO Marvel Superheroes game will always have a special place in my heart, and despite all of the advances that have come since in Avengers and Superheroes 2, every great idea that brings Marvel’s best characters to life came from this first game.
Releasing so early in the movie universe’s timeline, many of the core characters we know and love on the big screen now didn’t exist at the time and so TT Games way of dealing with this and in order to not totally alienate the movie lovers was to combined the best of both the movies and comics to create a unique storyline which integrated character models from both….including Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Clark Greg, Agent Phil Coulson himself, voicing his character in the game.
While we don’t get Robert Downey Jr, or the other core actors providing their vocal work for the game, the crew from various animated Marvel shows stepped in to give the game that extra level of quality.
The story itself is superb and involves S.H.I.E.L.D., The Avengers, The X-Men and Fantastic Four all working together to take down an array of Marvel’s best bad guys, from Doctor Doom through to the ultimate big bad, planet-eater Galactus.
The best thing for me with this game is that this was years before Disney finally brought the rights to X-Men and Fantastic four and so this was fans first chance to see some of the movie Avengers working with those iconic characters. It gave me hope that one day I’d see this on the big screen…of course now we know it’s coming….
2: LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
You cannot have a list of best LEGO games without a LEGO Star Wars game in there somewhere – I’m really hoping that The Skywalker Saga takes my top spot later in the year. For now, though, I’ve picked LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. The first Star Wars game I loved and the Original Trilogy game I loved, but this game makes it into the list because it combined them into one 36 level behemoth of awesomeness.
Setting the stage for pretty much everything that followed, the LEGO Star Wars games were the original template for TT Games and the lovingly recreated iconic scenes (with a little extra LEGO humour thrown in) would inspire all movie creations in the series for years to come.
Playing it more recently, I won’t lie, it hasn’t aged that well in places, the mechanics are clunky and lots of things that we now take for granted such as the quick switch between two characters, didn’t exist here. Even so, this is still one of the most fun LEGO games to play by far, and easily one of the best Star Wars games period.
That fun aspect comes from a number of places, but outside of the lightsaber play, where this game truly shines (and I’ve said this many times before) is it’s vehicle levels, and no LEGO game since has nailed them quite as well. There’s something very special about flying the Falcon through that asteroid belt that still warms my heart even now.
If you’re a Star Wars fan and you’ve some how never played this game, then you are truly missing out on something special.
Well, I’ve got to throw a couple of honourable mentions in this list as well, because despite being truly brilliant games, they didn’t make the cut here.
The first is DC comics’ latest outing, LEGO DC Super-Villains, it’s the first time that LEGO has switched things up properly in DC and they finally gave the villains the spotlight. There’s plenty of fun new mechanics to play around with here and the merged open-world with Gotham City and Metropolis at its heart is well worth some decent exploration time.
It’s a great game, but didn’t make the cut for me because it’s too much like the LEGO Batman games that came before. Added to that, the character customisation functionality was drastically over-sold in the promotional material leading up to the release, and it didn’t have as much of a wider-reaching impact as it promised.
LEGO Lord of the Rings would definitely have made my top 6, it’s one of the best movie adaptions and was the first LEGO game to add audio ripped straight from the movie, which at the time added a ground-breaking new element to LEGO games.
This game does, however, struggle in some areas. The open world is so vast that it feels empty and under-populated, something that LEGO The Hobbit actually fixed successfully.
It’s not flawless, but LEGO Lord of the Rings does a great job of bringing the movie trilogy to life, while throwing in a few theme-specific innovations to keep fans of TT Games interested.
I have deliberately left LEGO Dimensions off of the main list because it is so different from every other game in the series, but really the toys-to-life franchise mashing epic would have been my number one for a number of reasons.
I loved the idea of building mini LEGO sets as part of the experience, and thanks to how LEGO and TT approached the genre compared to other companies, they made sure that the physical aspect and interactivity with the virtual was as important as the in-game experience.
The downside is that you could probably buy a second-hand car for what the full set across the two years would cost at the time of the release, but with that full collection the amount of gameplay on offer is insane. 15 core levels, multiple add-on levels, tons of theme-specific open-worlds to explore, this is one game that really takes effort to complete.
LEGO Dimensions is a work of art, in my opinion, but given it’s extreme difference will the rest, it rightly shouldn’t be on this list.
1: LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
My number one did not take much thought at all, LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes is still my favourite game in the TT Games LEGO games franchise. It’s just brilliant.
First and foremost, this sits ingrained in my memory with so much love for so many new things that this brought to the table at the time of it’s release.
This was one of the first games in the series to not only add voices to the characters, but also bring in a superb voice cast to tell an original story. Troy Baker and Nolan North, two of the biggest names in gaming voice-over work are in this game, this LEGO game, it was a massive deal at the time of release and added a huge amount of gravitas to the series at the time of the release.
Secondly, and while huge city open worlds are an everyday thing now, having a full Gotham City of explore back then was mind-blowing for a LEGO game, it added a wow factor that you just don’t see these days because it is now an every day thing we every LEGO game release.
Outside of that, LEGO Batman 2 took the best of what the first game had made and enhanced it in every way. The character models were improved, the suit abilities got an upgrade, and even the minor interactions between characters are objects were tweaked for the better.
These are all reasons why this was my favourite game at the time of release, but why is it still there now? Well, aside from the nostalgia element, it’s still a great game even now and while it doesn’t have all of the advances that have come since, it’s doesn’t need them. There is enough of the core LEGO template here so it to have aged really well compared to it’s successors.
Also, who doesn’t want to drive around Gotham City in the Batmobile? Seriously, that’s still very fun to this day.
Out of all of the games from the early days, LEGO Batman 2 has definitely aged the best in my opinion and you can definitely forgive the lower resolution character models and cut scenes where you have a great interactive story and close to crisp gaming mechanics which still hold up against the best.
So there you have it folks, my top 5 LEGO games (as of writing). There’s probably a couple in there that you don’t agree with, so please let me know your top five and why.
I’ll revisit this next year and see where The Skywalker Saga sits in this list, here’s hoping it knocks LEGO Batman 2 off that top spot.