The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame Review - piecing things together

The newest entry in LEGO's gaming franchise has arrived, but how does it stack up? Our review.

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The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is the latest installment in the historic franchise of film adaptations set in the LEGO universe, developed by the team at TT Fusion and published by Warner Bros. Interactive. We follow Emmet, Lucy, Batman, and company on an adventure to defeat invading aliens and restore balance to their world. The campaign follows the plot of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part beat for beat, with added elements sprinkled throughout. It’s a tried and true formula that’s served the LEGO gaming franchise well ever since the release of LEGO Star Wars. Experience your favorite cinematic experiences through the lens of LEGO, adding humor coupled with some challenging puzzles along the way.

The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame allows players to travel around to several different worlds in the Systar and Rex-plorer system. Each planet offers it’s own unique characters, environments, and challenges to discover. We open in Apocalypseburg, the gritty run down town (formally known as Bricksburg) that was left in ruins after the Duplo Aliens attacked. I wasn’t a big fan of this world. It serves as the tutorial stage; introducing players to the core mechanics of building and world exploration, but the setting itself doesn’t do much to serve these concepts. LEGO games work best when the world around you is jam packed with things to break apart, build upon, and discover. By design, Apocalypseburg is a barren wasteland lacking the colorful fun or detail that LEGO typically uses to its advantage.

A new box of toys

Things get better once you venture to other planets the universe has to offer. The different worlds have their own special characters, vehicles, and objects. The geographical layout and challenges present also help to make each world feel like a unique experience. For example, the asteroid hopping, low gravity journey through the Asteroid Field stands as a stark contrast to that of the more grounded setting of The Old West. This leads into the best thing that The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame has going for it. Sheer diversity.

Since it’s based on The LEGO Movie property, this game is able to utilize a wide variety of assets. Items range from magic wands to fire swords. Cruise around in a police car, or race through the lands on the back of a velociraptor. Play as a fairytale princess, or don the costume of your favorite DC comics superhero. You aren’t just limited to the locations that would be found in one particular film series. Having a large pool of brands to pull from makes The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame feel like an endless sandbox of ideas. With a vast number of unlockables, it’ll be a long time before fans run out of things to do when playing The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame.

From a technical standpoint, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame doesn’t do much to reinvent the wheel, nor did I expect it to. Keeping that in mind, I greatly appreciated the camera control options present. When playing an open world 3D game such as a LEGO title, poor camera placement and controls can add a frustrating layer of difficulty to just about every task. In The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame I was almost always able to move the camera 360 degrees with a click and hold of the mouse, making it easier to maneuver and traverse the areas around me.

The true bread and butter of gameplay throughout the LEGO series is their use and integration of puzzles. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame does a good job at teaching players how to build different tools and objects, and then later requiring them to reach unlockables or defeat enemies. Building itself is an integral part of The LEGO Movie storyline, so the majority of puzzles revolve around different devices and mechanisms players construct using blueprints. I found this to be a neat way of solving puzzles, especially compared to some of the clunky mechanics in past titles.

Not everything is awesome

As for combat, it’s the standard battling system that’s been present in just about every LEGO title before, not much done to energize or revitalize it. However, as previously mentioned, the large array of weapons players can use adds a little fun to the mix, and the new build attacks make for some pretty finishers. What I found disappointing was the lack of creativity in the boss battles. There’s only a handful scattered throughout the game, but most of which have nearly identical designs. The big boss sits in the middle of a giant ring/circle, and the player runs back and forth around said ring/circle solving mini puzzles that allow them an opportunity to attack vulnerable spots on the boss. This felt like outright laziness in a world that’s supposed to symbolize creativity and freedom.

In regards to the story itself, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame suffers from an issue that this series hasn’t really experienced in over a decade of film to game adaptations. One of the most charming aspects of the LEGO games is how they put a comedic spin on classic stories, sprinkling humor in all the right places. That being said, the charm of The LEGO Movie film series is entirely predicated on how they parody and poke fun at beloved properties. So when you make a LEGO video game based on The LEGO Movie, you really put yourself in a box when it comes to the satirical humor that makes these games different. It feels like the films have already beaten the games to the punch, making a lot of the jokes feel old and redundant. It’s admittedly an extremely meta complaint to have, but is without a doubt one of the biggest cons looming over The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame.

Conclusion

Overall, The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame serves as a fun romp through different space systems with some familiar characters. The story leaves a lot to be desired, and the boss battles feel uninspired and repetitive. The amount of customization options when it comes to characters, locations, and weapons are what keeps The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame above water. It may not be a smash hit, but The LEGO Movie 2 Video game is a serviceable installment in the LEGO franchise.


This review is based on a PC code provided by the game’s publisher. The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame is available now on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. Donovan is currently studying broadcast journalism at Bowie State University with hopes to join the Shacknews team full time after graduation. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Pros
  • Unique locations
  • Solid puzzles
  • Diverse weapons, vehicles, and characters
Cons
  • Repetitive boss battles
  • Story lacks charm
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