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The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: Feb. 26, 2019

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Xbox One Review - 'The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame'

by Adam Pavlacka on March 14, 2019 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame reunites the heroes of Bricksburg in an all new action-packed adventure to save their beloved city.

Buy The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame

When it comes to LEGO games, players generally know what to expect. There's some puzzle-solving, basic action, and a lot of bricks to break. While none of the LEGO games reinvents the wheel, TT Games usually builds on what has come before when releasing a new game in the franchise. Unfortunately, that didn't quite happen with The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame.

Loosely based on the events of "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part," the game breaks the film into eight worlds. Each world has a series of story missions that track the adventures of Lucy and Emmet. They're partners in this adventure in order to ensure that co-op play is always an option.


Unlike other LEGO games, the story levels aren't separate from the rest of the world. In fact, there is no appreciable difference between the way the story missions are presented and the way side missions are presented. They're all shown to the player in the same manner, so as a result, the entire game feels like a series of side missions. It also means you can't replay any of the story missions without restarting a new game.

Another disappointing element is the way the game goes out of its way to eliminate any semblance of challenge. LEGO games have always been family-friendly, and ghost studs have traditionally been LEGO's version of an in-game GPS. Here, the ghost studs have been replaced by a waypoint marker — except the waypoints appear for every single mission objective in the game, including in-mission objectives. It's an extreme level of hand-holding that makes the gameplay feel very superficial. Instead of exploring, you're just running from checkpoint to checkpoint as the story plays out.

Also odd is how little of "The LEGO Movie 2" license is used beyond the level designs. The traditional LEGO cut scenes are here, but they're generally shorter and less detailed than those of prior games. There is an extended cut scene, but it doesn't appear until the very end of the story mode, when Lucy suddenly does an exposition dump of the film's plot. The same is true of "Everything's Not Awesome" and "Catchy Song," which were featured tunes in the film. They're here but not heavily featured until the end of the game and the credits roll. It's a missed opportunity. I would have preferred to have the story bits (and the songs) be better integrated into the story mode, especially since the ending movie does cover all the key plot points of the film. It's not like they're hiding any secrets or plot twists.


The core The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame characters are unlocked simply by playing through the story mode, while nearly everyone else is unlocked via random chance. As you adventure through the world, you'll find glowing chests. Break them, and you'll randomly get a type of relic. These relics act as loot boxes for characters, items, vehicles, and building sets. If you get a duplicate, you get a relic shard. Collect enough shards, and you get a full relic to open up. Some items can be collected during play by scanning them with one of your tools. This is an aspect borrowed from LEGO Worlds, though it isn't as simple here as it is there. Instead of just quickly scanning something by shooting it, you must wait a few seconds while each item is scanned in. Individually, it's no big deal, but if you're trying to scan in a bunch, it adds up. If anything is grinding, scanning items is it.

There are no microtransactions at play in The LEGO Movie 2, but the loot box aspect is still annoying because of the random factor. You can't just hunt down the item or character you want. You need to wait until you get lucky with a relic draw. With that said, character selection doesn't really make a difference here, as your abilities are tied to story items that you unlock in story mode, not the character you are using. The character you choose is nothing more than a basic visual skin.

One character element that is worth calling out is the inclusion of Blacktron. The Blacktron line of LEGO sets dates back to the late '80s, and they were the "bad guys" of the classic Space line. Seeing them appear as enemies in The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame — and as a playable character — is a deep cut that is certainly meant to appeal to adult LEGO fans rather than the kids of today.

 


Building anything in The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame requires raw materials, which are acquired from chests (along with relics), as well as by breaking down existing items into raw bricks. In theory, it's supposed to be similar to the resources and item crafting in LEGO The Hobbit. In reality, bricks are so plentiful that I was never at risk of running out. It was basically a non-issue once I got past the introductory section, which told me I needed to break bricks.

After you complete the story mode, you can go back to the eight story worlds to continue unlocking things with relics and collecting all of the Master Pieces, which are purple bricks that are roughly equivalent to gold bricks in previous LEGO games. To progress, you have to collect a minimum number of them in each world during story mode. Collect all of them in a world for an Achievement. There are also six bonus worlds (one of which is locked until you've collected 400 Master Pieces) to explore. These feel smaller than the story worlds and are based on locations mentioned in both LEGO movies.

There was potential here to really knock it out of the park with the exploration aspect of the game, but like the main story, the collection of Master Pieces fails to deliver a compelling experience. There are some mini-missions to complete, but like the story missions, everything is called out. As for collecting the Master Pieces that are "hidden" around the worlds, let's just say that calling them "hidden" is being generous. The vast majority are sitting in plain sight, with most of them requiring no real effort to acquire. This is a far cry from collecting gold bricks in prior games, which often required a little bit of thought.

 


Finally, there is the one world in the game where you get to do a bit of customization, as all the side missions require you to build items for other characters, such as a house or a school bus. You can place things as you see fit, making this world more personal than others. It's like LEGO Worlds lite, giving you a taste of what the creativity title offers but not letting you go whole hog with the full set of tools.

In many ways, that sentiment defines the entire experience with The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame. It's great that the team at TT Games is experimenting and trying new things, but it shouldn't be at the expense of core gameplay.

Nearly every element of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame can be described as basic or simple. It doesn't hold a candle to other LEGO games, and while the world-building can be interesting, it is much more limited than LEGO's proper sandbox title. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame game is the definition of average mediocracy. Rent if you're curious, but don't bother with a purchase unless you find it on deep discount and want the Achievements.

Score: 5.5/10

Editor's Note: Looking for other recent LEGO releases that are worth playing? Check out our reviews of LEGO DC Super-Villains and the LEGO Harry Potter Collection.



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