Remember when everything was awesome in 2014 and Emmet Brickowski became the LEGO hero nobody ever expected him to be in The LEGO Movie? Well, he’s back with the rest of the gang – Lucy, Batman, Benny etc. – for a sequel in the form of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and to coincide with the theatrical release, TT Games have developed an accompanying videogame. Can the appropriately titled The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame prove that everything can still be awesome?
As teased at the end of the first film, some alien DUPLO characters have invaded Bricksburg and in The LEGO Movie 2 there’s a five year time jump in which the whole place has been turned into a wasteland known as Apocalypseburg. Life isn’t so rosy with regular invasions from the strange DUPLO creatures, but Emmet tries to make the best of it. That is until General Mayhem, the leader of their army, arrives and takes his friends to the Systar System.
From there The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame only follows the story loosely, with Lucy avoiding capture as well as Emmet, unlike the film. To be quite frank, the narrative is rather simplistic as Lucy essentially just narrates most of it in past-tense, whilst the cutscenes are short and bland. What’s odd though is that the final cutscene divulges a plot-twist that isn’t built up to well at all, to the point where most gamers will most likely just shrug it off as nothing. It’s disappointing to see a lack of decent storytelling and a refusal, or the inability, to use the film’s voice actors to add more authenticity to it – although the stand-ins do a good job with what they’re given. So far, not so awesome it seems.
Fortunately, the gameplay is here to save the day as it doesn’t follow the slightly tired formula of other LEGO games (LEGO Marvel series, LEGO DC Super-Villains, LEGO Jurassic World etc.) by going through a fairly linear level for story progression. Instead, it has more in common with LEGO Worlds by borrowing a few ideas – including putting more focus of quest completion and additional freedom to build. Essentially though, The LEGO Movie 2 sees you tackling a variety of main quests within a number of sandbox-like worlds to advance the ‘story’ and collect enough purple Master Pieces to venture through a portal to another part of the galaxy.
The essential story quests will see you traversing all over the environment you’re in, partaking in a mixed bag of activities. Some of them are as simple as fetching the required items or beating up a few invaders, but the most interesting of the bunch involve the steady influx of new tools for use. There’s a pair of ‘danger fists’ to break up the toughest of bricks, a sticker gun to decorate buildings and signs, a grapple gun, a welding tool and a selection of other useful tools to overcome the problems at hand. The paint wand is possibly the best as it leads to puzzles where you must paint areas the correct colours to progress. Cycling through the decent selection of tools at the press of the bumpers is easy enough on the fly too.
Occasionally though, a build is necessary to fulfil the objective and this is where you’ll access an increasingly added to list of objects. Whilst certain blueprints are gifted to you, others must be scanned into your ever-growing catalogue by way of the Scanning Binoculars. If it scans, it can be built for a brick fee. And these bricks are obtained via destroying items throughout the worlds, seeing them dropped for your collection alongside the usual stud currency. For example, destroying a tree garners green and brown bricks, with the destruction of traffic cones providing the orange variety. It’s worth stocking up on every colour available as there’s a cost for spawning vehicles as well as building the large construction sets.
The Syspocalypstar world is where these actual building sets can be used as it’s a place that’s in ruins, thus leaving you the proverbial ‘blank canvas’ to work with. There’s a real Minecraft feel about the empty-ish, mainly green colour environment, but how it’s populated from there is dependent upon your creative mind. If you fancy sticking down a donut shop and a 1950’s diner next to the Batcave then that’s your privilege to do so.
That’s merely one of seven main worlds in the Systar System though, with the idyllic looking Harmony City that wouldn’t be out of place in a Barbie adventure, the incredibly vibrant Sorting Area which is like a junkyard of colour, and the Systarian Jungle all highlights in terms of level design. The jungle theme has been done multiple times in LEGO, but this has real character to it and isn’t just a carbon copy of those that have come before. In addition to these, there are six other, much smaller worlds to explore and take on quests from as part of the Rex-Plorer System. The Old West makes a return, as does a form of the original Bricksburg, each of which brings a little extra game-time to the table post-story.
For those who like a good boss battle and to beat up a few baddies, there are a handful of gigantic DUPLO bosses to topple. Fighting isn’t a major part of The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame, seeing platforming elements take priority as you scale these colourful beasts like something out of Shadow of the Colossus. It’s fun at first, but the general pattern of success appears to be the same for every creature and therefore becomes repetitive swiftly – so it’s fortunate that such events aren’t too regular. As for the combat side and there’s nothing overly exciting about tapping X to defeat enemies, but the new Build Attacks are cool, which are like finishing moves to eliminate a few threats at once.
Speaking of new things and one of the best features here is the relic system that’s been implemented. Acquiring these from chests or random drops after defeating enemies, relics can be opened at shops and, depending upon the type you have, it’ll unlock characters, items or construction sets. It’s very, very, addictive and the appetite for more could make you go on looping runs to reap the chest rewards in order to get everything available. Fair play to TT Games for including a ton of item customisations to ensure the character is equipped and dressed however you see fit.
The sheer volume of weird and wonderful characters is impressive too, with generic folk accompanied by DC Comics heroes and some Mini-dolls. That’s without mentioning the film’s recognisable characters such as President Business, Vitruvius, MetalBeard and Unikitty. Disappointingly, the likes of The Flash, Wonder Woman and co. are super heroes only in name as their powers have seemingly been stripped.
Once the story is over, and that’s likely to be around the five hour mark – which is the shortest I know of from a LEGO game – the focus is on going back to gather the rest of the Master Pieces and utilising every tool and build at your disposal. The side quests are plentiful, but the often simplistic nature of them will only really appease the younger audience.
What won’t appease anyone are the mountains of bugs and glitches. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve had to quit and re-launch The LEGO Movie 2 because of the game just going completely unresponsive. There’s no real cause for it either. Other, less damaging, issues include invisible blockades preventing entry into areas with chests, random jargon being displayed as the name of items from within relics and escorting missions seeing the character refuse to follow you. And to really push you over the edge, chests can blast the relics they hold into the nearby abyss due to their placement in some worlds; lost forevermore.
Overall, it’s difficult to be too harsh on The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame due to the relaxing and fun experience that it delivers. The levels are well-designed, whilst the questing, building freedom and gathering of tools helps it to standout from many of the other LEGO titles. Throw in the massive amount of items and characters, plus the exciting relics, and there’s a lot to like. Unfortunately, it’s lacking in the storytelling department, has far less longevity than one would expect for the price and often repeats objectives for the side quests. Oh, and it’s frustrating to have so many technical problems.
Whether you’ve seen the film or not, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame on Xbox One can entertain the younger audience for a little while, just be aware they might get cranky about the bugs!