A while ago I was allowed to put my teeth into LEGO Marvel Superheroes. The coolest collection of characters in the world immortalized in the beautiful world of LEGO. The game was bursting with potential, but unfortunately it fell short of the most essential elements of gameplay. Now it's the turn to give a go at another LEGO game, which is based on the film of the same name. A film that I have not seen yet, but probably now partly understand by playing the game. Let's see what The LEGO Movie Videogame has in store.
Blocks, blocks and more blocks
For the first time, the complete game world is made up of LEGO blocks and objects. And that is cool, very cool. It not only looks great, but it also gives you a welcome portion of nostalgia. At least, for those who are old enough to really play with LEGO. The LEGO feeling is stronger than ever. The characters and animals run rigid, just as you used to move around. Everything is built up from LEGO objects to the smallest details. Sometimes in the 'natural' way, but sometimes also very original. For example, palm tree leaves are used to slow down a train. Every object is recognizable and feels like a LEGO game must be. A very big plus compared to its predecessors.
Bob the Builder?
Unlike many predecessors, this LEGO title does not have a certain franchise like the aforementioned Marvel Superheroes. This is a big difference, because the special characters with their characteristics are a very important presence for many players. In The LEGO Movie Videogame, Emmet, an inconvenient but cheerful construction worker, is the protagonist. He is appointed by wizard Vitruvius as 'the Special One', the one with a special stone that can help Masterbuilders to get the LEGO universe back in balance. The world is being attacked by Lord Business, who can no longer handle the chaos of the Masterbuilders. The Masterbuilder is a new type of character that is introduced into the game. Masterbuilders build completely new objects from LEGO bricks. Exactly the form of creative freedom that Lord Business denounces. After all, he wants order and control. Leading role Emmet is another new type of character, namely a Builder. In contrast to the Masterbuilders, they can not make anything new, but can repair things. They can also read LEGO instruction booklets, which is necessary to assemble certain objects. Again a nice presence that ensures that the digital LEGO universe comes a step closer to the 'offline' variant.
The lack of recognizable figures seems to be a big step back in the first instance. Collecting 'normal' puppets is something else than completing your favorite superhero collection. Fortunately, some DC Comics heroes are present, including Batman and Superman. Apart from this, there is also a positive element in the absence of celebrities. The real LEGO feeling is even more enhanced by the presence of a lot of 'ordinary' puppets. In addition, you quickly join the main characters, including the sympathetic Emmet and the brilliant blind wizard Vitruvius. The humor that is so recognizable for the LEGO games is again fully present. Just take the brilliantly conceived 'blind courage', the state of mind that helps Vitruvius to tackle dangerous situations that others do not dare, simply because he literally does not see the danger.
Build up and dismantle
The game world offers a huge amount to break down and build. This creates many surprising and hilarious situations. However, this LEGO title is again a game where too much is stuffed in. The number of elements that you can collect is huge again, even though they have surrendered considerably on the number of characters. In The LEGO Movie Videogame there are 'only' 100 characters available to play, compared to the 155 of Marvel Superheroes. However, you are still flooded with golden blocks, coins and other items. The cleverness in the gameplay that makes it easy for the player or a bit more challenging. For example, you could automatically receive all the coins when you break down a building or object. Instead you have to run around colleting the dozens of coins, so that your image becomes chaotic again and you have an unnecessary action. This chaos becomes extra painful in the co-op mode. When you are playing together with a friend, both the static and dynamic splitscreen do not comply. There is simply too much in the small screen to keep a decent overview. Something that, in my opinion, can be solved by focusing on the game. The basis of the LEGO games, except for the theme, is that you have to solve puzzles with a team of different types of characters. You expect improvement after the next LEGO title, but this piece seems to have received the least attention.
The LEGO Movie Videogame is again a very entertaining title. In addition, the game comes closest to the real LEGO feeling which entails the magic stones. Visually the game looks fantastic and to the smallest details the world is built entirely of LEGO bricks. When you disconnect the almost perfectly executed theme from the game principles themselves, however, little more remains. Here and there you can find nice game elements, for example when you throw the wand of Vitruvius into a holder so that you can hang it with another doll to get to a higher part of the level. Unfortunately, this kind of original forms of collaboration are not enough, while it should actually form the core of the LEGO gameplay. Most of the attention is clearly stopped in creating a beautiful LEGO world with a fun story, while the gameplay - which is most in need of improvement - is unchanged. That way the AI remains doubtful, especially when you are attacked and your teammates watch like zombies. This part still feels unfinished, just like the game is purely about the theme. I would really like to see a LEGO title go beyond pure 'walk to that spot with that character and press B'. The chase scenes are already a step in the right direction, but there is also no depth here. It remains a product that is mainly aimed at a very casual audience. Although the fantastic LEGO sauce remains delicious.