Lego Dimensions: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Story Pack
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the second of three Story Packs released for Lego Dimensions. The expansion includes several new levels which recreate the story from last year’s spin-off movie. If you are a fan of all things J.K. Rowling and Lego games, there is lots of fun to be had here. But is it worth the steep sticker price?
It’s been a little while since we talked about Lego Dimensions. There were a few reasons for this. One was that product that was scheduled to be released earlier in the year was delayed. This fed into rumors that future expansions for Lego Dimensions had been cancelled. Although these rumors have yet to be confirmed officially, the lack of any announcements of new product is all the confirmation most players need. The next wave of releases is scheduled for later this month and it is likely that will represent the last of the game’s expansions.
Another reason I put the Dimensions write-ups on temporary hold has to do with this Story Pack specifically. I had chosen it as my next subject to follow up on the Harry Potter Team Pack because they fit thematically. But when I started to play Fantastic Beasts, I ran into a glitch that stopped my progress. I knew how to solve a puzzle, but the game simply wouldn’t allow me to do what I needed to do in order to advance. I had read that some players had experienced similar glitches with Lego Dimension, but up until this point, I had not.
So I set the game aside for what turned out to be several months. Over the summer, Dimensions has received a number of updates for new content as well as patches. Recently, I installed an update for this expansion and gave it another try. The good news was that I was able to play glitch-free. But I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons the game has been unofficially cancelled is that players who paid $50 for a Story Pack encountered frustrating technical difficulties.
I don’t want to overemphasize this. Let me be clear that I have played a lot of Lego Dimensions. As the coverage here at the site indicates, I have most of the expansions packs and this is the only time I have ever had an issue. It is possible if I had restarted my game I would have been able to progress regardless of whether or not I had installed a patch. But I have read complaints from others that the game was “glitchy” and this experience supported that criticism.
Like the previous Ghostbusters (2016) Story Pack, this one includes two figures and a new base to replace the original portal. I was initially skeptical of these decorative bases. They offer no in-game advantage. But once I started putting the bricks together to actually build the bases, I found them to be fun and appropriate for a toys-to-life game based on the Lego brand. This one recreates the American branch of the Magical Congress as depicted in the movie. The doorway in the middle slides open and the two structures on the ends are elevators that raise and lower with a switch.
On the one hand, this gateway helps justify the hefty retail price of the Story Packs. On the other, if you are only interested in playing the game, the bases are purely ornamental. I wonder if they could have sold a few more Story Packs if they had dropped the price and omitted the decorative bases.
The playable character in this set is Newt Scamander, the magical zoologist or “Magizoologist” played in the movie by Eddie Redmayne. The dialogue for the game is taken directly from the movie, so all of the original actors’ voices are used in the Story Pack.
Newt has an impressive array of abilities based on his magical prowess. Obviously, he has the Magic skill. Like most magic-users in the game, Newt can conjure a msgical shield. He can shoot and deflect lasers and illuminate the darkness. He also has some abilities which are unique to characters created by Rowling such as Diffindo and Apparate Access which allows players to pass through magical portals.
Unlike some of the other Rowling characters, Newt can’t fly. But he has several other abilities representing his scholarly background. He has the Intelligence skill and can fix broken objects. He can spray water and use it to grow plants or clean up hazardous materials. Newt’s magic can also be used to destroy silver Legos or for targeting.
Additionally, Newt has two unique abilities. He is able to access the world within his briefcase and he can pick locks using a plant-like bowtruckle creature. Finally, Newt can be switched out for Jacob Kowalski just in case you really wanted to play a muggle. As a baker, Jacob can’t do much but it’s kind of cool to have him as a playable character in the game.
The mischievous creature Niffler assists Newt. Technically, Niffler is classified as a gadget in the game. His only ability is to dig which is useful, but there are plenty of other characters who can do that for you. He can be upgraded to a Sinister Scorpion with a special acid attack or a Vicious Vulture who can fly and shoot lasers. This is all useful if you don’t have any other game expansions beyond the Fantastic Beasts Story Pack. As is often the case, the gadgets and vehicles in the game are not all that useful if you have a hefty collection. In the future, I will swap out Niffler for Scooby Doo who can do a lot more than just dig.
In terms of new content, the Story Pack includes six new levels and opens up the Fantastic Beasts World to explore. That should present most players with several hours of gameplay. It also introduces a new type of keystone which allows players to summon magical creatures to help them solve puzzles and overcome obstacles.
Story Packs retail for $50 which is a pretty high price for an expansion to a game you already paid for. Is it worth it? Probably not. I have purchased all three of the Story Packs when they were 40%-50% off. If you are willing to wait for a sale, you can almost certainly pick up this pack at a reasonable price. I paid $30 for it last Christmas and I feel like that is a fair price. Of course once the game is officially cancelled, I expect a lot of stores will have Lego Dimensions on clearance. So if you really want to do some bargain shopping, wait until later this year.
Overall, aside from the glitch I encountered in my first game, this is a really solid pack. It has all of the attention to detail I have come to expect from Lego Dimensions. Fans of Rowling’s creations will feel immersed in the world of Fantastic Beasts. And thanks to the game’s customizability, you can find out what it would be like if one of Newt’s magical creatures was a talking cartoon dog.