If there’s one thing the Lego video games never fail to do it’s to bring out your inner-fiend that craves the child-like destruction of smashing things to pieces without the interruption of sense or logic.The purpose of Lego to put pieces together, build monumental structures, and replicate figures from popular culture is clearly not as fun as sending it all to ruin, as you smash, barge, and drill your way through everything in sight.
Following the same path as the movie of the same name, Lego the Movie game places you into the shoes of Emmet a construction site worker who is mistakenly identified as a key figure in saving the world. As overdone and cheesy as the storyline sounds, it molds itself together quite well without overdoing the phrase “The Chosen One”. It also helps that other popular characters of pop culture and fan-fiction make an entrance into the game, those being the likes of Batman, Superman, and a many more to unlock as you progress.
Within the immense excitement of all these playable characters, they proved to be more of an interesting set of individuals than Emmet himself. Taking control of each assigned character through the use of a scroll wheel makes character choice quick and easy, and a joy to play with.
Lego the Movie plays upon your own addictive nature of looting and collecting everything in sight by allowing almost everything in the game to be destructible. This in-turn is changed into pieces of Lego which you rank up as points. Since the environments are naturally scattered with them plus the fact you can take in more by destroying objects, expect to be pacing back and forth in your own addictive enjoyment as you wreck “n” collect.
Combining special character abilities with weapons and tools specific to that character, the player unlocks more characters as he or she progresses through the game, all starring in the movie those of which are also free to play as, outside of the main story. The controls for each of these characters remain for the most part the same. While the game doesn’t establish any specific classes that hold each character in specific groups, which I’m very thankful for by the way, it does assign specific character traits in order to overcome certain objectives and a benefit in defeating certain enemy types.
The game also does a great job of mixing together different styles of gameplay without overshadowing or abandoning one over the other. Moving away from the core gameplay of wondering around in a mini sandbox like area, the game incorporates break-ups whereby you must assemble large scale pieces of Lego such as buildings or useable objects like construction vehicles. The game handles this in a way that’s more common to our own reality and experience with Lego, that bonds with that of the game. After collecting the correct pieces of Lego just for the sake of gameplay objectives, a blueprint diagram unfolds onto the screen where the player is required to select the correct pieces of Lego to be combined together as one full piece, and this is done under a timer.
This makes sense in a way that engages both the character and the game, and this is primarily in the sections of the game where the main character takes on his role as a construction site worker, following orders and working under pressure. It’s a fantastic gameplay element that although it may not challenge your thinking assuming your of an older audience, still helps in keeping things fresh and making you more skillful as you progress throughout the game.
In addition to keeping things fresh and introducing new aspects of gameplay, there are also sections in the game where they incorporates elements of sequenced button presses more common to that of dancing games, where the correct button must meet on time with a specific beat of the song. On-rail vehicle sequences also make an appearance and as the player is required to switch between a multiple of characters this makes for some pretty interesting moments in gameplay, whereby timing and focus play a crucial role in meeting the game’s objectives. Since the game incorporates a local 2-player drop in and drop out option no adventure has to be taken alone if that’s what the player desires.
However as diverse and open to experimentation that the game is, there seems to be an obvious inconsistency regarding the amount of information being given to the player in regards to progression. During an earlier section of the game which took place after an important cut-scene taken directly the movie, I was returned to the game without my previous character and a new one at that with no instructions on where to go next. It wasn’t until I realized that game which didn’t give any indications by the way, worked on a hub like basis of replaying levels through entering different zones, required me to explore and work out for myself on how to press on with the game’s main story.
Lego Movie VideoGame does a fair job of blending game and movie without largely compromising one medium over the other in favour of dominance, through the bad transference of two different mediums that most movie tie-in games seem to fall prey to. It does unfortunately fall out of place at times and although it’s not game breaking can be a little disappointing. Pulling clips directly from the movie isn’t a bad thing so long as it’s done right, but if the gameplay that follows immediately after that specific scene doesn’t seem to make any sense, not only does the game start to fall apart, so does the player’s experience of it.
Amongst the many choices and variances within the gameplay, figuring out certain gameplay objectives became somewhat of a minor frustration that caused me to rely on something a little more…shall we say unorthodox. This saving grace just happened to be my own inner child reaching out for the screen, that had now been overshadowed as well as overlooked by my own tendencies to over-think the puzzles and scenarios that most gamers are used to dealing with in more complex games.
The clue was all in the title, “Lego”. I found that the basic principle of what the game as well as the movie is based on was the key to some of my troubles. If you can’t figure out what to do with something then break it. Break everything and break it till you can’t break it no more then reassemble it into something brand new. After all isn’t that what Lego’s all about? Building things?
From a visual standpoint Lego the Movie Videogame stands up equally to the previous games of the series. Each figure and environmental object contains the same unique style of shine, gloss, and plastic, and this is complemented by its use of vibrant colours and lighting effects. Draw distance is passable for its mini sandbox-like nature, and the more linear and narrow areas of the game are reasonably acceptable for the style it’s going for. It has to be fully understood asvwell as accepted that this is a game based on a children’s toy, it’s Lego.
There’s only so much that can and actually needs to be done in terms of presenting a visual representation of Lego, that aside from pixel count and the amount of objects on-screen at once, are relatively easy to achieve. The Lego games as a whole has never been a series that one would go into expecting jaw-dropping graphics as opposed to the amount of fun and enjoyment that has to be met through its gameplay.
This is where the game shines the most, within its gameplay and with that being said Lego the Movie Videogame is one sharp looking piece of work. The visual style of the game is met well with its use of audio and sound effects and the character’s voice-overs present them as lively and cheerful people each with their own respectful personalities. It’s safe to say that no character in the game appears flat or lifeless, and there’s about as much life to them as there is gorgeous colours within the actual game.
The Lego Movie Videogame is clearly something we all saw coming from the moment the Lego Movie was announced. As entertaining as the game is and there’s a lot of fun to be had with it. The only question is will playing the game before seeing the movie ruin your experience? My answer to that would be only if you’re planning on seeing the movie. Personally, I would have preferred to have seen it first then relived my own yet similar experience of it in the game afterwards.
Regardless of the order taken the game is well worth the many hours it has to offer and is just as enjoyable as the past games. A more interesting subject that many have failed to notice to or even address in a serious way, is with the large number of Lego games we’ve been treated to over the last few years which are all great within their own rights, how will the series truly push itself with their next game? Assuming there’s one on the way.
The Lego franchise seems to be taking on a pattern of conquering every universe and well known source of fiction within movies, Videogames, and comic book culture. But with respects to the teams that actually come up with these ideas, there seems to be an overlooked topic that many of today’s games are suffering with, and that’s over-saturation.
Continuous releases of game sequels, spin-offs, and reboots don’t seem to be providing enough time for new ideas and dare I say this word without contributing to its overly-used tone without people really understanding it, “Innovation”. Time provides innovation for new ideas, features, and benefits, and my only fear with the Lego games is that if it keeps going the way it does it may soon run out of steam, and this was quite noticeable after playing the game.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.