In case you don’t pay attention to kids’ games as much as I do, it may have passed you by that there’s a new LEGO game out. It’s called LEGO Dimensions, and in the vein of games like Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and maybe Amiibos, it’s one of the games where you put little figures on a reader and they appear in the game. LEGO does you one better though, because you get to build the figures as you would most LEGO things before you put them on the scanner. In fact, this game takes it a step further and allows you to customize vehicle figures into 3 different configurations, and each configuration will appear in the game. That’s legitimately cool!
You wanna know what isn’t cool though? The “in-real-life downloadable content by way of toys” that games like these have. There are three types of add-ons you can buy from the store. Green striped boxes are called “Fun Packs” and feature one character and one vehicle, orange striped boxes are called “Team Packs” and feature two characters and two vehicles, and the yellow striped boxes are called “Level Packs” and feature a character, vehicle, object, and additional levels. This IRLDLCbWoT model can be quite costly, as team packs and level packs are $25 and fun packs cost $15. The base game? One hundred dollars. But that’s par for the course on games like this, right? Right? Besides, it’s got cool stuff like Scooby-Doo, Doctor Who, Simpsons, DC Comics, Portal 2, Back to the Future, the Hobbit, Jurassic World, and holy crap was that PORTAL 2?
That’s right. One of Valve’s beloved games is mere DLC on an unrelated game, separated completely from the Steam universe by being a console game. Let’s ponder everything that’s wrong with this. To start, what does this actually mean as far as how much Valve cares about its own IP? It’s not as if LEGO isn’t trustworthy to produce quality content, that’s far from the truth. But still, Valve used to have a near OCD level of quality assurance when it came to its own games, and now it’s willing to let someone simply just borrow one of their games? “Yeah, we don’t really feel like doing anything. Here, you guys can have it.” That’s what I’m hearing when I see this game on the display shelf in the LEGO Dimensions display shelf at my local electronics superstore.
Here’s another weird question: Why is this content called Portal 2 and not just Portal? Is the content during Portal 2 specifically? After it? Should it be Portal Two-and-Three-Quarters? I doubt that, since we all know LEGO can actually count to three. But this isn’t actually Portal 1 or 2, since on top of featuring Chell, the game also features the Dimensions protagonists, Batman, Gandalf, and Wildstyle. So, maybe it’s Portal -1 or something.
What’s worse is, say you’re a big fan of Portal and want more of it. Portal 2 was a pretty stellar game, and now you can play more of it. That is, if you’re willing to ‘Chell’ out $125 for the base game and level pack for a game you might not even care about playing the rest of. Again, not that LEGO games are even bad, as Dimensions reviewed fairly well. But what if you just want to play more Portal? Do you have to do the whole campaign first? HowLongToBeat shows the campaign length at roughly 11 hours for the main game, but that’s from very few users at the time of this editorial. Can you jump straight into Portal 2 instead? How long is the level pack? Well, I did some more digging and found the actual length of the pack. It’s 30 minutes, plus or minus additional content you may or may not bother playing. So yeah, $125 will get you 30 minutes worth of new Portal content, how about that? Come to think of it, I’m sure we’d all pay $125 for 30 minutes worth of Half-Life 3.
The idea that Valve is so unbothered by letting someone else simply “do a portal game” as DLC for a larger game has some dire implications, especially for our beloved Gordon Freeman. If they’re willing to just let Portal slide by and let it be some content in a wacky kitchen-sink of IPs, then what next? Why not just hand the script for whatever Half-Life sequel was originally planned and have another team do that too? Can we get LEGO Half-Life 3 instead of regular Half-Life 3? Because at this point, it’s been about eight years since HL2:Ep2, and some more Half-Life in the form of anything is probably better than no Half-Life at all. Heck, I’ll play it even if they decide to ditch crowbar guy and have Batman, Gandalf, and Wildstyle fight the Combine instead. That’d be pretty rad, actually. Your move, Traveller’s Tales.