If there is one good thing I can say about LEGO videogames, it is that they truly bring out your inner child. Whether said LEGO video game revolves around a tomb-raiding maniac who finds himself in all kinds of dangerous situations, or simply just a tale of a lost space-farer; there is some decent fun to be had. The issue, however, is that, for as long as I can remember, the LEGO videogames do not have much substance. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is no different, but at least it tries.
I have not yet seen any of the LEGO movies, and as such, cannot attest to how well the games hold up to their movie counterparts. What I can say, however, is that The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame plays and feels just like all of the previously released LEGO videogames. With that said, this game tries to break the mould by introducing interesting new characters with a strong and forceful message that women can be heroes too. In this Vamers The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame review, I take a look at how this game tries to reinvent itself, but fails miserably in doing so.
Short and sweet with a lot left to the imagination
As the direct sequel to The LEGO Movie Videogame, and by extension the LEGO Movie (and its two spin-offs), players are once-again thrust into a story featuring Emmet and his friends. This time around, Brickburg has been turned into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The now-named Apocalypseburg is a rough place where only the toughest of the tough can survive.
As the game shifts into its new “five-years-later” narrative, we see Emmet’s friend being kidnapped, the appearance of a mysterious new queen, and more. It is now up to Emmet and a new team of friends to catch up to these mysterious new forces, get back the minifig companions, and get to the bottom of it all; one brick at a time.
That is literally it. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is a stock-standard and uber predictable title with a narrative that does nothing to make itself stand out. I will commend it for its bold approach to traditional masculinity, and how it teaches younger audiences that men have feelings, women can be strong and independent, and that all kinds of other races and creatures should always be tolerated. I have not seen a similar message in any of the LEGO videogames that I have played in the past.
With that said, one of the mainstays of the LEGO videogames is that you can swap between characters, or perhaps even create your own. The same is true for The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame.
Same old song and dance
As expected, the core gameplay of all LEGO titles remains steadfast. In The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame, the same holds true. You explore each level with either a predetermined character, or one of seemingly hundreds of others that you can select from within the in-game menu. Thereafter, you continue to platform your way to success. The game features a brick-tonne of collectables, and more platforming puzzles than even Indiana Jones will care to complete.
Every level also acts as its own hub area. Here, players are free to complete objectives at their own leisure, play around and attempt to collect all collectables with their currently unlocked characters, or even take on a handful of side quests – which are necessary if you would like to collect all of the ultimate collectables, the fabled Master Pieces. Other than that, gameplay offers nothing more than any other LEGO video game out there. With one large exception.
In The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame, players begin their journey in Apocalypseburg. Here, players are introduced to the opening beats of the story, and a number of the established group of friends. It is also here that the game reveals its exceptional scale. Apocalypseburg is vast! It is so big, in fact, that there are vehicles that players can drive if they want to get around faster. The only other LEGO video game that did this, was 2016’s LEGO Worlds, and I kind of like it!
Of course, as with all open-world games, or, ar the very least semi-open world games, you can expect a lifeless area or two as you go from one area on a map to another. This makes using vehicles absolutely necessary. It is always possible to get out and do random brick collecting, but the game has so much of that on offer anyway, that it makes collecting bricks in random open areas completely trivial. One neat thing to look forward to at the end of every level is the unique boss fights. These take the form of puzzles, with each boss having their own gimmick that needs solving. This is great, considering how combat is generally quite repetitive.
Fighting things is also a very straightforward affair. While puzzle platforming keeps you from going braindead as you jump across rooftops or untangle some roots, the combat boils down to general button smashing and brick collecting. There are no fancy abilities or combos that you can pull off either, save for one super move that is charged by combat.
Aesthetically pleasing… at times
The most surprising thing about The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame comes by way of its exceptionally poor performance. An aspect of LEGO games that I have lauded in the past – regardless of their content – is how they always perform really well. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame, on the other hand, does not.
I think that TT Games struggled to make The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame an open sandbox, like they did with LEGO Worlds, while also retaining core elements from other titles. Whatever the case may be, there is a surprising amount of stuttering that happens in the game. Load times are serviceable at best, and frames rates drop quite a lot. However, the worst offender is when the game would just randomly slow down – for no apparent reason. It happened once after a lengthy fight, again right after a pre-rendered in-game cutscene, and again as I jumped into a vehicle to do some ‘exploring’.
Performance issues aside, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame excels in a department where The Lego World videogame was very poor: aesthetics. The locales, while not as expansive as LEGO Worlds, are huge and fun to explore. They also look incredible – or as incredible as a LEGO construct and building can be, anyway – and make for some breathtaking scenes every now and then.
Just another LEGO Videogame
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame tries its darndest to be the best game TT Games have ever developed. It tries to bring back the most beloved elements of some of their one-off titles, such as LEGO Worlds, while also making the game as accessible and story-driven as other LEGO releases. It may not be linked to the typically licensed properties that made LEGO games famous, but it certainly stands on its own in a market saturated with its own brethren.
I am fully aware that the game follows the plot of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, but having not seen it, I like how The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame tells a tale of its own. I also like how it conveys a message to children that is modern and with the times, one of equality and respect.
Sadly, the game refuses to reinvent the genre that its predecessors made popular, and therein lies my biggest issue with it: for all intent and purpose, it is just another LEGO videogame, and they were never great to begin with.
|Time Played||10 hours|
|Acquisition||Warner Brothers Interactive|