When you were younger, do you remember when you used to play with LEGO? You would have the sets spread out across the table and/or the floor in a random order. It didn’t matter that you had a pirate ship next to a cowboy saloon, which in turn was next to a modern-day police station; this was your story and it worked because anything is possible in the mind of a child. This description would not be out of place for The LEGO Movie Videogame
, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. While this game may be a tie-in with the film of the same name, with a blank canvas that was free from the constraints imposed by something like Harry Potter
or the upcoming The Hobbit
, this feels like the LEGO
game that people have always wanted to make
The game starts as the wizard Vitruvius tries to protect the super-weapon Kragle from the evil Lord Business and his plans to take over the world. Although he fails to stop him, Vitruvius does manage to issue a warning that a “Special” will one day arrive to stop Lord Business in his tracks. Fast forward to the present day and we follow a normal day in the ordinary life of Emmet Brickowski, a construction worker who lives in the town of Bricksburg. As everybody leaves at the end of successful day’s work, Emmet spies a hooded stranger and goes to investigate. As he approaches, he loses his footing and disappears down a large hole. At the bottom is the Piece of Resistance, which becomes attached to his back and marks him as the “Special” one who must put an end to Lord Business. The ensuing story takes players through a number of completely different locations, from the Wild West to Cloud Cuckoo Land. None of the plot will be unfamiliar to those who have watched The LEGO Movie
; the game even takes its cut-scenes directly from the film. If you are intending to watch the film, do so before playing this game.
The basic gameplay will be familiar to those who have ever played a LEGO
title. Each level involves a little exploration, some basic puzzle solving (to the point where children will cope easily but adults may over-think the issue at hand), and the complete destruction of everything that doesn’t move. Destroyed objects yield LEGO studs, which can be used for in-game purchases. Although the levels are shorter than those found in previous titles, the time needed to complete them will easily be doubled by those who obsessively massacre everything in sight. An average story playthrough will equate to around 10-12 hours.
A major gameplay point of the LEGO
games is the ability to destroy objects and then reuse the bricks to create something to allow the characters to progress, although character types now play a part in this. Emmet, for example, is not a master builder and he needs instructions to be able to build new items. Throughout some of the story levels, players will collect instruction pages that can be used at construction spots; a mini-game then opens up where players use an authentic-looking instruction manual to pick bricks from a selection wheel to finish the model. On the contrary, the majority of the rest of the cast are master builders. These can rebuild anything and can take part in the new master builds, where three locations are highlighted in green. The character then takes bricks from these locations and uses them to build a new contraption.
Other new gameplay features include the short dance games where players must press buttons in time to the theme music, which will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. There are also the numerous Pac-Man-esque hacking games, where the Pac Dots are replaced with LEGO studs and the cherries are replaced with points where you must upload a computer virus. Although fun at first, these do start to get repetitive and you’ll find yourself taking the quickest route to the upload points instead of collecting all of the studs first; although, having said that, all of the new features offer respite from the normal gameplay and stop the game from growing stale.
Whereas previous games had one large hub to which players would return in between levels, this game has five smaller hubs for players to explore. Once unlocked, players can warp between the hubs at will. If you somehow manage to get lost, there will always be the helpful green stud road to guide you back to your current objective. All of the hubs and level locations are lovingly created entirely out of LEGO and they seem like accurate representations of the toy sets that could be purchased in the real world. Not once do you feel like the developer has placed LEGO toys in a “real” world, a feeling that could occur in some of the previous games. These are LEGO toys in a LEGO world.
The achievement list shouldn’t yield any surprises. To get the full gamerscore, players will have to complete each level twice, once in story mode and once in free-play with characters that have been unlocked later in the storyline. Players will also need to complete the optional hub objectives to get 100% completion. Beware that, although the game allows local drop-in, drop-out co-op throughout the entire storyline, some achievements are only obtainable through single player gameplay. None of the achievements are too taxing and the completion should be an easy one.
Unfortunately, another LEGO
game custom is back and the game is not free from glitches. Characters will frequently get stuck on scenery or at the edge of a level. While it may seem amusing to watch a character slowly spinning on the edge of a cloud, it becomes extremely irritating when that character is needed to progress further through the level and a forced level restart is your only option. There were also a couple of issues with freezing cut-scenes in the hubs, the least severe requiring a return to the console dashboard and the most severe requiring a console reboot. Luckily, the cut-scene issue happens very infrequently but is something of which to be aware.
Despite its issues, this LEGO
title is one of the most fun titles that Traveller's Tales have created. Still, there are few surprises in store and LEGO
fans will know exactly what to expect from this title. While there are some improvements and the shorter level design means that the levels contain less filler than they used to, the basic gameplay remains the same. Those who haven't encountered a LEGO
title before will find a pleasant single player or local co-op experience for both children and adults alike.
The reviewer spent 13 hours playing the main campaign and generally messing about in the hub areas. She gained 28 out of the 48 achievements. This copy was provided courtesy of the publisher.