LEGO artist Brandon Griffith and I spent the day at E3 trying out some Battle Arenas at the LEGO Dimensions booth. We spent some time playing the Capture The Flag and I honestly think it’s the best thing to happen to a LEGO video game ever. Before I get into why it’s the best thing ever, here are some details about the Capture The Flag mode:

  • It’s a four-player game with any number of real players and CPU-controlled players.
  • You start the level by free-falling into your base. Once you land you make your way to your opponents’ bases and try and capture their flag.
  • You gain a point for every second you are holding the flag, three points per second if you hold two flags, and five points for three flags.
  • You can return your opponents’ flags to your base for 50 points or just hang onto them for as long as possible to let the points rack up.
  • If you are using a flying character, you cannot fly while holding a flag.
  • You can bring vehicles into the field, but cannot get in one while holding the flag.
  • You run slower while holding a flag.
  • If you die while holding a flag, the flags will drop allowing your opponent to come pick them up. They will automatically return to their respective bases after some time. If you recover your flag in this way, it will go back to your base.
  • The matches are timed at five minutes.

They’ve covered pretty much every concern I had about the mode since the video surfaced the other day.

Sounds pretty basic but that’s precisely why I think it’s going to be great. LEGO games aren’t known to be complicated and they’re so easy to play that anyone can just pick up a controller and go. The ease in which one can start playing is its greatest strength. You ever go to your friend’s house back in the day to play a game that he owns and you just get your butt kicked because he owned the game and you didn’t and he put in hours and hours of game time compared to the mere two minutes you just put in since you got to his house? That situation probably happens less and less these days since most games nowadays are all online-enabled for competitive or co-op play and if you and your friend wanted play something, you’d both have to have copies of the game anyway. TT Games’ choice in only having local co-op play may seem a bit odd and some may call it a bad and/or questionable choice, but it hearkens back to the days of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark where you get together with some friends and talk smack while trying to outdo each other in four-player split-screen mode. Whether TT Games intended it or not, these Battle Arenas will be great party games because anyone can just pick up a controller and give it a go. All it takes is one five-minute match to get acclimated to the environment, the controls, and after that, let the games begin.

There are a total of four different Battle Arena game types, and each pack in Year 2 will have it’s own map that any of the arena games can be played on. We saw two maps today: Adventure Time and LEGO Harry Potter. The two maps weren’t simply reskins of one another as the castle which holds your flag was very different between the two maps. Only Capture The Flag and Objectives were playable at E3. I didn’t get a chance to play the Objectives one but basically you’re placed on the same four-player map and have to complete a series of objectives such as collect the studs or break three crystals to get points. If I have time, I’ll try and go back play a round or two.

I wouldn’t be surprised if battle arenas made its way out of Dimensions and in to future standalone LEGO games. And I’ll tell you what. It’s invigorated my interest in playing LEGO games like nothing has before.