A Failed Meeting Of Two Worlds
The Lego franchise reminds me a lot of Ubisoft sequels. Most of them feel recycled, with the same gameplay loop repeated against a continuously evolving, changing array of pretty aesthetics and backgrounds. With its open world, Minecraft-like building, Travelers Tales attempt to merge the open-world formula of Lego Worlds with the traditional format of a narrative-driven Lego game and the results are lacklustre and disappointing to say the least.
Loosely following the events of the second movie, Lego Movie 2 begins right in the heart of Apocalypseburg with you controlling Emmet. A brief tutorial ensues from here that sees you take part in fetch quests akin to that seen in Lego Worlds, unlocking special building blocks along the way to help you traverse obstacles and progress the game. Instead of switching characters and assembling a team for each individual level, Lego Movie 2 ditches this conventional set-up, instead giving you a few stock missions across various worlds that mostly follow the narrative of the movie.
Missions follow the same structure seen in Lego Worlds
While I can’t fault Travelers Tales for at least attempting something original, the idea of merging these two styles is an interesting one but sadly lacking in execution. Along with the main planets from the game, there’s an additional 6 worlds or so added as side-content but most feel uninspiring and very small in comparison to what we’ve seen before from these titles. Even Lego Dimensions boasted larger worlds than this.
Each world works in much the same way too and you can expect to complete the game, and most of its side content, in around 15 hours tops. You’ll probably need another 10 on top of this to 100% complete the game but for the most part this is one of, if not the, easiest and shortest Lego games ever released. The missions predominantly lean on fetch quests or killing a few specific enemies with little in the way of innovation or unique missions seen in the previous games. With the exception of a few well-written boss fights featured at the end of a couple of worlds, Lego Movie 2 doesn’t do anything particularly innovative, failing to mesh the two styles of Lego in a cohesive and concise fashion.
The gameplay is largely unchanged here although Lego Movie 2 tries to mix things up with a combination of building and traditional abilities to traverse through the worlds. Along with the aforementioned bounce pads, sprinklers and other build items, the story missions allow for a plethora of unlockable skills including gliding, a grappling gun and “danger fists” to eliminate glowing green blocks.
For the most part, this makes most of the game incredibly easy to blitz through and with the exception of a few hard-to-reach master blocks (this game’s version of gold bricks), the game isn’t overly difficult or taxing. You also don’t really need to change characters either which does negate some of the puzzle elements from the previous games which is a bit of a disappointment.
Destroying the usual slew of environmental items gives you a combination of both money and Lego pieces this time around too. The former can be used to pay for items at the shop including new characters, bonus master blocks and more. The latter is collected in order to build new items including construction builds and specific objects needed to complete missions. Unlike previous Lego games, there’s little in the way of grinding here and most things can, and will, be unlocked naturally through playing the game.
Lego Movie 2 also introduces loot-boxes for the first time in the franchise’s history but unlike other games, these actually work quite well to incentivise you to continue through the game. Destroying chests gives you a generous helping of Lego money along with Item, Character or Construction Relics. There’s also Mega Relics too and these can be exchanged at the shop for extra items to play with. The game showers you in these though and before you know it, you’ll have a whole playset of characters and items at your disposal.
There’s no microtransactions either although a separate section of the Galaxy Map does show at least 3 additional worlds that’ll be available for DLC. Given the miniscule size of the side-content worlds here, I’d recommend holding off on investing in DLC for the foreseeable future.
The co-op elements of the game play out exactly as you’d expect and although it’s less taxing and system-heavy as Lego Worlds, the game only allows one mission at a time and the mission markers regularly jump between the two screens. This means if Player 1 engages in a mission while Player 2 wanders off grabbing Master blocks, from time to time the marker will disappear from your screen and show up on Player 2’s. It’s a little annoying to say the least and is further exascerbated by the screen-filling prompt whenever you pick up a new Relic.
You can’t fault Travelers Tales for at least trying something different. After the mediocre effort of Lego Incredibles and the familiar, but largely entertaining, offering of Lego DC Villains, The Lego Movie 2 attempts to merge two worlds but fails quite considerably. For the younger members of the family, Lego Movie 2 is a simplistic, entertaining and well-rehearsed Lego game with less bugs and a better aesthetic compared to Lego Worlds. Sadly, the lack of a compelling narrative, interesting missions and a repetitive gameplay loop makes The Lego Movie 2 a really poor offering in comparison to other Lego games. It’s not terrible but it is a far cry from what we’ve come to expect from this studio making it a difficult one to recommend.