An Obituary for LEGO Dimensions (Opinion)

Friends, Brickfans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Dimensions, not to praise it…
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Dimensions. The noble fans,
Hath told you Dimensions was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Dimensions answer’d it.

-- From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (But slightly modified.)

It has been a while since I have discussed LEGO Dimensions. The game is long dead, and the last waves of sets still warm the shelves. I still have several sets left to review, but I will probably never get around to it. I just booted up the game to play it for a while, and all I have left are the menial tasks of collecting minikits and gold bricks. I didn’t find it too interesting. I honestly would rather play other games I own, like Minecraft, Pokemon or Final Fantasy. It’s sad; LEGO Dimensions was really hyped up. You could bring your real life figures into a video game, what could be cooler than that?

The problem was the LEGO flooded a dying market. Disney Infinity and Skylanders have both declined, with Infinity being a now dead game. The sets were expensive, and there were kinda odd licenses. The ones based on licenses from the '80s played off of adult nostalgia, which doesn’t sell sets to children. Some of the other sets were late with their release. The Adventure Time sets were coming at the tail end of the show. The Chima sets came at the end of the theme. The Ghostbusters set from the newest movie was tied to a controversial IP. Eurogamer also pointed out the themes like Ninjago and the LEGO Movie had way to many sets. It just seems like the flooded the market with an undesirable product. 

I also think the game had an identity crisis. At its core, it is a LEGO game. It also tried to be a toys to life game. And I think the mix of just the two would have been fine. But it also tried to be open world game with very small and smooshed worlds. And it also became a fighting game like Super Smash Bros. If the game had stayed more focused on actual levels and not all the other things that it dove into, it might have been a better game. I cannot say that for all, but it would have improved the game for me. I think when companies diversify too much, they end up losing more then they thought they would. 

I think as a series, it could have done much better if they threw out the toys to life formula. If they had released the game as a normal LEGO game and did something else to get the new figures in the game, it could have been better. They could have included codes in normally released sets to get the new characters in the game. They could have released a minifigure series with the codes in the bags to get characters. I think they could have removed the vehicles as real models and instead just include them with the codes from the sets. It does open the door to cheating and getting the codes from other people. However, Pokemon has a similar system. The Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) packs and decks include codes for online packs that you can use in their online TCG. It seems to work for them, and they don't take too many losses. This proposed format wouldn't bring in money like a toys to life game, but it might have allowed for the game as a whole to last longer.  There wouldn't be an excess of undesirable sets warming the shelves, maybe just a couple of Minifigure blind bags. 

The theme wasn't all bad. We got amazing new minifigures and new IPs for LEGO. I love the E.T, Chell, Cyberman, Michael Knight, Stay Puft, and Sonic figures; we probably would never have gotten any of them without this game. New molds, new colors for existing parts and new prints were introduced. I will also have a somewhat personal connection to the game; I spent much of last year trying to make the gameplay last as long as possible for me. But I hit a block when I could only buy so many sets, and now much of the game will end up permanently locked away from me. I bet there is a lot of good content in the game; it costs $30 to get to it, and I don't have that kind of money. I wouldn't normally pay thirty dollars to get a tiny LEGO set and a short video game level, but I somehow justified it to myself.  I'm glad I bough the sets that I have, and there are more that I would like to get, but a kid's wallet can only go so far. Parents, kids and collectors probably had the same issue where they felt that what they were buying wasn't worth what they were paying.  

I think that is all I have to say. I probably won't post reviews of the last couple of LEGO Dimensions sets I bought. At least, not for a while. I may return to them in a few years and revisit the theme. I have the Doctor Who Level pack, and the Legolas and Gimli Fun packs left. If anyone really wants to see those reviewed, I'll probably do it. (No promises.) But other than that, I think I am done. I've beaten the game's story mode, all the level packs I own, as much of the adventure worlds as I feel like doing. So that's it, I'm (75%) sure I am done.