There is no shortage of LEGO racing games. Heck, there are no shortage of LEGO racing games playable on the Xbox Series X|S if you count the Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions DLC. But with a new partnership announced between the Danish brick builders and 2K Games, LEGO 2K Drive marks something of a momentum shift. Will it be enough to stand toe-to-toe with some of the other great LEGO games?
As is to be expected in racing games now, LEGO 2K Drive is open-world, full to the brim of LEGO objects to smash into smithereens. Through a series of large-ish maps, you start in Turbo Acres where you meet Clutch Racington, your mentor through this journey. The grand prize at the end of the Story mode is the Sky Cup Trophy. But before you can enter that you need to win the Grand Brick Arena races in Big Butte County, Prospecto Valley and Hauntsborough respectively.
The Story mode in LEGO 2K Drive will only take around ten hours to complete, but there is no shortage of things to do. Each race awards a chequered flag, and these are your currency to unlock the various Grand Brick Arena races. Scattered in amongst these are various other events that will have you rescuing minifigures from skeletons all the way to defending generators from waves of robotic aliens. All standard LEGO stuff, done with the usual humour that both kids and adults alike will appreciate.
Winning a race typically unlocks a new ride for you, but there should be no shortage of them in your garage because LEGO 2K Drive takes the best part of real-life LEGO and allows you to build and create your own rides. Channelling Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts and now The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, you can head into any garage in the world and begin assembling vehicles from a huge range of available brick types. You can even unlock unique bricks and objects to decorate your rides with and give them some extra personality.
This level of freedom may sound daunting at first but there is a suite of tutorials to guide you every step of the way. You can start off simple by following the Go-Kart build tutorial or take a deep dive into the Master Class section. It won’t be long before your imagination is the only thing holding you back.
And it wouldn’t be an open-world racer without plenty of collectibles to gather up. Each type is themed around the area they can be found in. For example, Prospecto Valley has you hunting for golden nuggets, and in Hauntsborough one of the collectibles there is a glowing pumpkin.
Others also expand across all areas with one of these being the weed patches. After you unlock the Weed Chopper 5000 you can mow down these speed sapping areas. Once removed, they are replaced with shiny flowers that offer a speed boost instead. These will remain during the races as well, so can be fruitful to find.
There is a slight loading time when transitioning from the open-world to a race setup but that is down to the large number of new assets that need bringing in for the race. It isn’t simply a case of zooming around the map either; tons of new items and obstacles are added in to fit with the theme of that particular race. Expect to see tracks based on everything from donuts to aliens, cats to spiders and everything in-between.
Being an out and out LEGO game and not a LEGO game within the framework of a Forza Horizon game means that the racing is chaotic. In a good way. Each race has eight drivers, and the number of laps varies depending on the length. It’s always best to check before a premature celebration. And they can take place on various track types; thanks to a neat feature your car will instantly transform whether it is on the road, off-road or even in water. As such, you can have loadouts of the various vehicle types to find which combination is best for each race.
You can also turn the instantaneous transformation feature off if you like.
You will be required to fight until the end in each race though, thanks to some blatantly obvious rubber banding going on. Even being miles clear from the chasing pack doesn’t mean you are home and dry, as your opponents will make a comeback at some point. Sure, it keeps the racing entertaining, but there is more than a hint of unfairness too, particularly if you should be clear of the rest.
Rubber banding is thankfully absent from the online multiplayer portion of LEGO 2K Drive. Similar to the welcome local split-screen options, online multiplayer can take the form of various different race modes. There is the standard racing in single races or a cup format. If you fancy some of the wackier events, split-screen allows you to play some of the story modes minigames.
There is more to come too. This may be a LEGO game, but it is a LEGO 2K game. As well as having the audacity to charge over £100 for one of the versions of the game, there is a post-release schedule as long as your arm, all hallmarks of modern day 2K. This includes four battle passes, but like Halo Infinite, there is no time-pressure to these and you can unlock items from them as you please. New tracks, bricks, drivers, cars and even a new biome are planned for release during Year 1, and you can bet your bottom dollar that a Year 2 is being prepped for as well. Whether there is enough content to keep you invested through four 100-level battle passes is doubtful at the moment.
Within the myriad of LEGO racing games, LEGO 2K Drive does just about enough to carve an identity for itself. All the LEGO hallmarks are here with destruction, creativity and humour front and centre of most of what goes on. The racing is solid enough, if reliant on too much rubber banding. What is here is good fun but there needs to be a lot more content added to keep players invested in the upcoming live-service portion.