A few weeks after the movie release, the videogame adaptation of The Lego Movie 2 has released for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. After the pleasant sequel that was the movie, we were eager to start playing the videogame version – which we did on an Xbox One.
If you’ve read our review of the movie, you’ll already know that we enjoyed its take on the themes that made the first one so successful, even though it didn’t feel quite as fresh. The Lego Movie 2 Videogame succeeds at being different from recent Lego games, but ironically still ends up feeling a tad stale.
Instead of a direct movie script to videogame adaptation – which is how previous Lego games have worked in terms of a narrative, The Lego Movie 2 Videogame functions more like the Lego Worlds game in its open world, building-centric approach. I was surprised by this for a number of reasons, the main one being that Lego Worlds never really resonated with a lot of people like the more narrative-driven Lego games do. And on that topic – the film itself is very much driven by a strong narrative, and even the recent DC Villains game had more narrative direction than this one. My conclusion is that the game’s development must have been rushed, taking the more generic building blocks that Lego Worlds provided and re-tooling it into a movie adaptation.
If you’ve never played Lego Worlds, then you may not know that it’s quite a departure from many other Lego titles. You’re not gold bricks, juggling characters to make use of their unique abilities or solving puzzles here. Instead, there’s an open world of sorts (divided into a few different areas) where lots of little tasks allow you to keep gathering bricks and build your own little Lego Land. There’s a movie-related narrative in there somewhere, but it all feels very loosely connected to the actual gameplay – the main connection is that each hub is thematically linked to familiar areas in their look and feel.
Without a real in-game narrative to egg you on, The Lego Movie 2 Videogame can quickly start to feel repetitive. It’s an excellent tie-in to the building nature of the real Lego Bricks, but digitalizing that experience was never something that grabbed me. When you’re asked to build something (as part of a mission), the “work” you do is to simply select it from a menu and have it magically appear if you have the bricks needed. I’m sure there’s an audience for that (perhaps the younger crowd?), but it never felt quite as satisfying as the NPCs in the game made it out to be.
Easily my favorite parts of the game were the excellent boss battles – with towering Lego creations that you scale during the fight. It’s not Shadow of the Colossus or God of War, but it certainly is a nice change of pace in an otherwise somewhat uninspired series of gameplay tasks.
The Lego Movie 2 Videogame certainly isn’t without redeeming qualities – the soundtrack being one of them. There’s also a bunch of collecting to do – the biggest similarity to pretty much every other Lego game out there. This was never a personal favorite of mine as it felt like too much of a grind, but there are plenty of people who adore it and they’re well catered for in this title. But, if you’re expecting the kind of charm and polish that other Lego games have displayed (as well as the film this one is named after), you’ll be disappointed.