I suppose I should start this review for The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame with SPOILERS for the first LEGO Movie; although I feel if you haven’t seen or played it by this point, you’re not going to now.
LEGO games are not my normal go-to, I get rather frustrated when games aimed towards the younger generation leave me stumped and turning to Google for help (Thanks LEGO Marvel…) Having said that, I do love the LEGO movies, so when the code for LEGO Movie 2 pinged into my emails, I found myself looking forward to installing it that evening and joining Emmet and Lucy (Wyldstyle) on their next adventure. So much so, I even went out that same day to watch the movie so I would have a general grasp on what was happening in the game (and so that I didn’t spoil the movie for myself by playing the game).
If you watched or played the first LEGO Movie, you’ll know just before the credits roll aliens show up from the planet ‘Duplo’ threatening to destroy everything. Well, they weren’t lying, and years later, Bricksburg has been turned into Apocalypseburg and everything is no longer awesome. This is where we start our journey in LEGO Movie 2 (the game), our friends have been taken by the enemy, and we will stop at nothing to get them back.
From the get-go I had to really try to enjoy myself, from a technical point of view LEGO Movie 2 does not run well, I suffered countless frame drops, screen tearing and in general, it felt like the game was really struggling to run properly. Occasionally the camera had a mind of its own and would swing wildly around leaving me disorientated and somewhat annoyed. I also encountered a bug about halfway through the game that meant I had to quit and restart for the path ahead to open back up so I could progress with the story.
I had expected the narrative to follow that of the actual movie, and it does, sort of… The main theme is there, and some of the locations from the movie pop up at random intervals, but there are mini-bosses and zones that have been made up entirely for the game, and the main plot points don’t get revealed until the end when Wyldstyle gives you a thirty-second audio description of what has actually been going on in the game and the ending of the movie; as a whole the storytelling, unfortunately, feels somewhat underwhelming.
One of the main changes in LEGO Movie 2 is the characters, rather than having a small roster with individual traits that you jump between to complete tasks, you can play as whatever character takes your fancy, instead of using items and coloured blocks to build, fix and tinker your way through the puzzles. This is an interesting change, but the controls can feel cumbersome when you have to keep swapping between items to progress through the game.
While not all the areas we encounter are true to the movie, they all have their individual style; they’re colourful, themed and fun to explore. Aside from the main story, there are several hub worlds that offer a small story and a scattering of inhabitants to assist and masterpieces for you to collect. One is almost entirely empty and gives you the freedom to erect the collection of buildings you horde throughout the rest of the game, everything from shops to a Unikitty shrine.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, LEGO Movie 2 has lots of things to collect, characters, vehicles and accessories, being a small and in no way exhaustive list; while the collector in me loved this, it also acts as a wonderful filler for the woefully short story. Without all the added things to find, break, and rebuild the main story arc is pushing the four-hour mark. Collecting isn’t all bad however, you get almost every LEGO character you can think of to control (once you’ve unlocked them) and running around as Gandalf in a pair of boxers is endless fun, and nobody can tell me otherwise.
As this review comes to an end it’s likely you’ll have come to the conclusion I hated LEGO Movie 2… but actually, even though it has it’s many, many faults, after I got through the first hour or so I started to enjoy my time in game; I messed around with the different characters, I smashed up all of the items, I ran around carrying a cat before accidentally throwing it into some water – resulting in its untimely death and my heart breaking. LEGO Movie 2 won’t be a contender for game of the year, but if you enjoy the movies or the previous games, there’s a certain addictive charm that prevails, as long as you keep reminding yourself that they’re supposed to be aimed at kids and let yourself get lost in the over the top colourful worlds that LEGO do so well, you’ll have a not totally unawesome time.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*