Saturday, 2 January 2016

Lego Dimensions: Portal 2 Level Pack (71203)

Series: Lego Dimensions
Set number: 71203
Year: 2015

Riding the curious yet genius trend of collectible figurines that can be used in video games started by Skylanders, Lego Dimensions burst onto the gaming scene earlier in 2015. Now though it’s awesome that we get a bunch of existing Lego licenses turned into digital form, one of the most interesting aspects has also been the new licenses thrown into the mix – Dr Who, Back to the Future and the subject of today’s review, Portal 2. I don’t care for all of them, but it’s good to see just how broad Lego’s palette has become.  

Somewhat annoyingly, the box doesn’t include the full instructions. After you’ve built Chell’s minifigure and placed her on the stand, the instruction booklet simply advises you to continue building using the in-game instructions. For someone like me who’s not so much interested in the game as simply building the set, it’s pretty irritating. Fortunately, you can download them here

The minifigure is based on her look from Portal 2. Either version of Chell would have been fine, but this is the more colourful of her two looks. She’s been printed with two faces; passive/blank and cranky. I prefer the more passive one; while more aggressive one isn’t bad, they would have been better off using a print similar to Wonder Woman’s angry face. Her gun is an all-new mould. While cool, it’s cast in the soft rubbery plastic that Lego sometimes uses for its accessories. I don’t mind that for some accessories, but I think it would have been better if her gun had been the usual hard plastic. The rubbery material also makes it more difficult for it to slot into her hand, though it can be done.

From my perspective, there are two details missing from the current version. Chell’s long-fall boots are (understandably) rendered as being solely white; though I’m sure customisers will quickly figure a workaround, it would have been difficult to work in the stilts aspect of their construction and have her still be able to stand. This is an issue that also affects the NECA figure (I need to get around to reviewing her at some point), though they did include a specialised stand for her. Additionally, there isn’t a spare orange bulb piece to create a “player 2” gun. This isn’t a major drama, as anyone who’s been collecting Lego for any amount of time is likely to have a spare in their bits box. Still, it would have been a nice, if not essential, inclusion.

The other two elements are the Sentry Turret and the Companion Cube. I think the Sentry Turret is about right in terms of size, but it’s been a long time since I’ve played the games and I couldn't find any good reference shots of the two of them together from the game. The Companion Cube seems to be more ambiguous. It looks too large to me (though understandably so, given the nature of Lego bricks) but again, no good reference pics that I can find. Cosplayers seem to have run the gamut from massive to tiny with their own accessories, so I suppose it works well enough. 

Each of these two can be reassembled into a few different forms – not accurate to the original source material, as far as I know, but they have differing functions within the Lego Dimensions game. It adds some additional value to the set in gameplay terms, if not so much from a collector's perspective.  

Speaking of someone who’s not playing the game it’s definitely on the overpriced side. I’m prepared to wear a bit of a premium given the in-game elements, but this thing retails for $49.95! Shop around a little and you can find it a bit cheaper, but I think it would be better value if they managed to have sold it for around the $30 mark (and of course, had the other character/team packs cheaper). Still, Lego has always been a premium brand – both in quality and in price. Concerns about price aside, I think this is a really fun set for Lego and Portal fans alike. If you can find it at a reasonable price or get given it as a gift, it's a great addition to just about any collection. This one is likely to go for big bucks on the aftermarket the moment it gets discontinued. just for the unusual nature of the license.


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