The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame Review

As a longtime fan of the LEGO games I was excited to get my hands on the newest release in the series. The first The LEGO Movie Videogame has been a favourite with my family, largely due to how well it captured the joyous feel and atmosphere of the surprisingly awesome film, and so following a generally positive reaction to the sequel in cinemas I was fully expecting to enjoy another spin-off. Unfortunately, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is more like a knockoff third party brick set where the instructions have been lost in translation.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the LEGO games in general is how amazingly detailed the worlds are. Levels are meticulously crafted to offer shortcuts and hidden areas for characters with different abilities, and repeated playthroughs are rewarded with puzzles and collectables. This level of detail is shared by the characters themselves, with their mix of skills making unlocking new ones meaningful. LEGO Movie 2 has little of this.

Using the LEGO Worlds engine instead of the usual one means that levels are largely empty and uninspiring, but you also find that characters are purely cosmetic with all abilities being based on items instead. The linear unlocking of these items means that there is no scope for mixing things up in interesting ways, you just work your way through the story and then go back with new tools. This approach follows the most basic outline of what makes LEGO games so fun, but contains none of the spirit or thrill of collecting.

Collecting itself has been streamlined in the worst possible way. LEGO Movie 2 is all about randomised loot. Finding and redeeming relics is the main way to unlock characters, items, vehicles, and buildings, and will have you seeking chests throughout the levels. Chests are far from hidden, with huge columns of light pinpointing their location, but this approach makes opening them boring and laborious. The relics you collect must then be taken to the shop on each level to be opened, but the tedium is compounded by the fact that relics are so numerous that you can spend upwards of ten minutes vacantly pressing the button to open these loot boxes. Even the thrill of unlocking new shinies is rendered dull.

There are some silver linings to this loot system: there’s not even a whiff of microtransactions and duplicate items (of which you will be getting hundreds) are automatically turned into shards that can be used to make up mega relics. These are guaranteed to give you new items when they are opened (although a couple of times this didn’t seem to apply), but the main result of this is doubling the already length process of unlocking things. Indeed, this system is so poorly thought out that you can easily game the system by buying lots of the cheapest item relics from the shops which offer three items each time, instead of the single reward from character and build relics. Since mega relics are made from five dupes, it’s a much quicker way of earning them. Simply removing the duplication aspect would have improved this system immeasurably and would have gone some way to redeeming the game.

Using the LEGO Worlds engine means that the levels never really feel like living worlds. Everything has the look and feel of good fan-made content rather than professionally designed environments. Without the range of details of other games there is rarely any ambiguity as to what you need to interact with to progress. Things can still be destroyed for studs and colour bricks for building, but even this destructive aspect feels slow and cumbersome.

The whole game suffers from a shockingly slow pace; traversing the empty levels takes far longer than it should, even if you construct a vehicle. My main tip would be to build the smaller flying vehicles as soon as you can as this at least removes some of the annoying movement, but it does seem like finding ways to avoid actually playing the game as it stands.

The story is told in a similarly cumbersome fashion, coming almost entirely through disembodied narration by Lucy. This is worth repeating: the game based on the movie contains almost no movie footage with the story developed through the most rudimentary ‘and then we did this’ voiceovers. I haven’t yet seen the film but assume that the ending is more climactic than the infodump monologue that we get here.

While everything is OK graphically and the frame rate holds relatively steady on a standard PS4, the slow movement makes it feel more choppy than it should. Loading times are long, but don’t interrupt levels themselves. Disappointingly, I encountered a few instances where opening up relics actually crashed on me.

It is difficult to find much to recommend about The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame. Everything that was awesome about other LEGO games seems to have been stripped away and replaced by mediocre and repetitive busywork. Characters are completely lacking in, well, character, and all that is left is the compulsive collection that the first movie was so clearly arguing against. You’re better off picking up a copy of the original and treat yourself to another trip to the cinema. Just think of how much popcorn and pick ‘n’ mix you could buy with the difference in price. The sugar rush from that will entertain you for longer than the LEGO Movie 2 game will.

Summary
The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is a throwback to the bad old days of movie tie-ins, this uninspired and dull reskin of LEGO Worlds takes all the good parts of the LEGO games and tosses them in the bin. This is the game that President Business would have designed, full of static environments and boring construction. Everything is far from awesome with The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame.
Good
  • Lots of things to unlock
  • Familiar characters and locations
  • Breaking things is always fun
Bad
  • Empty worlds
  • Uninspired gameplay
  • Shockingly bad loot boxes
  • Dull, dull, dull
4
Written by
Just your average old gamer with a doctorate in Renaissance literature. I can mostly be found playing RPGs, horror games, and oodles of indie titles. Responsible for many reviews and the regular Dr Steve's Game Clinic. Just don't ask me to play a driving game.

7 Comments

  1. The movie wasn’t great either – it was just ok. There were some very obvious feminist overtones and as a result, it just wasn’t as fun or entertaining. We get it, girls are just as good as boys. Zzz. If this had been the first Lego movie, there wouldn’t have been a sequel.

    We’re still getting the game though. Hopefully there are a few different Batman costumes to keep the kids happy.

    • Rubbish, the movie was fab.

    • I’m not sure that its message of togetherness, or that while everything can’t be awesome all of the time there’s no reason for us not to try, is remotely feminist.

      Everyone in our household loved it.

  2. There were definite anti-male sentiments throughout. Apocalypseburg – everything went to ruin under the rule of the male character. “You did all the work, and the hapless male took all the credit!” Rex being a representation of toxic masculinity. The loser dad and the mum who takes care of everything. Emmett bringing about the apocalypse because he doesn’t listen to Lucy (the women). All the male characters being dumb, aggressive or clueless. All the female characters being smart, decisive and tough.

    It’s almost as bad as Cars 3 when Lightning McQueen dropped out of the race of his lifetime because he wasn’t strong enough, before being replaced by the female car (who wins, naturally).

    What kind of message are they giving to young boys?

    • Or Apocalypseburg is just your traditionally angsty teenager-ville, and it’s just that it’s been smashed to pieces by having a younger sibling allowed to play with it. Not sure it’s gone to ruin because it’s been under the rule of a male character since that’s not mentioned.

      The hapless male taking the credit isn’t particularly far from the truth, Emmet only really sorted himself out towards the end of the first movie, and Lucy got them through to that point.

      Rex is a great representation of toxic masculinity, perfect to show to young boys how not to behave.

      Cars 3 is more about age, and making way for the next generation. It is however empowering that it’s a female driver that’s taking his place.

      What kind of message would we be giving to young girls to not have them positively represented in our media?

      We teach our boys that men and women are equals, perfectly able to do the same things, but that’s a perception that continues to need to be worked on.

      • I absolutely agree, we should celebrate and encourage young girls to believe in themselves but what about young boys? Why aren’t we celebrating and encouraging young boys to believe in themselves too? Because we aren’t.

        It seems boys are Inherently privileged from birth, simply by being born male. They don’t need to be empowered or encouraged – they need knocking down a peg or two.

        Why aren’t we highlighting toxic feminism so young girls have examples of how not to become aggressive, entitled, pussy-hat-wearing, man-hating and generally unpleasant individuals when they’re older? Then we’ll talk about equality.

        I know, let’s pitch a film about Barbie but with Action-man as the main character who saves the day because he’s smarter and stronger than his female counterpart? What do you mean I’m a sexist ahole? – I just came out of a screening of Lego Movie 2 and they did the exact same thing in reverse.

  3. That’s disappointing. I’ve bought the vast majority of the last Lego games and played the others. I’ll probably give this a miss and go through the Avengers, Jurassic World and DC ones a bit more.

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