Lego Dimensions Preview: More advanced portals

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lego dimensionsLego Dimensions is all about portals. Portals between different Lego worlds. A specialized portal peripheral that allows up to seven figures to be active at once across three different zones that influence characters’ abilities and appearances within the game. That isn’t even counting the Portal cross-over, which adds an Aperture lab to the game with GlaDOS testing, Chell reprising her heroic role and Stephen Merchant reappearing as Wheatley.

As I mentioned, Lego Dimensions is of the mindset that all Lego worlds exist within their own separate realms. The thing is, masked villains have been visiting these locations and stealing away iconic characters. As an example, when the baddie comes to Gotham, he steals away Robin. Middle Earth loses Frodo and a number of other characters. Dorothy, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow are all plucked from Oz. Players initially follow Wyldstyle, Batman and Gandolf as they go through some initial worlds, attempting to piece things together and accumulate abilities and vehicles that will allow them to save the day.

Thus the portal hopping. In the E3 2015 presentation, the Lego Movie, Portal, Scooby Do, Batman, Wizard of Oz and Lord of the Rings regions were shown, as well as a hub world that acts as a home base for the heroes as they attempt to accumulate glimmers and return things to the natural order. Lego Dimensions is taking that title seriously.

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What it does with the portal is perhaps the most intriguing part of the game, though all of the Lego Dimensions cross-over opportunities are intriguing. It can host up to seven figures and vehicles, and is divided into three regions. These regions can light up to become color coded or indicate when characters positioned in certain regions will be influenced by certain statuses. It’s about more than plopping a character down and leaving it there. The Lego Dimensions portal is an active game element.

For example, the Lego Dimension portal arrangements could factor into a battle. In a boss fight against the Wicked Witch of the West, she may release an area of effect attack. Characters on the portal in that space will be stunned, unless a player moves them to another position. To solve a puzzle, it may be necessary to use a Chroma ability that allows you to link certain characters with specific colors to pass through blockades.

Chroma is only one ability of many. There are multiple that will be unlocked as people play. Someone may be able to shift characters from one area to another, a form of teleporting, using Shift. Elemental changes affinities. Scale allows someone to make a character smaller or larger, allowing access to new areas. Locate allows you to find hidden objects or opportunities.

Lego Dimensions really seems to be exploring the possibilities of NFC play. It’s offering more active peripheral use, which should have an interesting effect on gameplay. It should be exciting to see how its received come September 27, 2015.

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