I have no trouble admitting that The LEGO Movie was one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen in recent memory. It invoked a child-like sense of wonder with an entertaining and meaningful story, the comedy was spot on and the characters were lovable and memorable. It’s no wonder then, given my already obvious enjoyment of the LEGO series of games, that I jumped at the chance to have a look at the video game adaptation of the film, a chance to rejoin Emmett, Wyldstyle and, of course, Batman in an attempt to save the world from the evil Lord Business.
Is everything still awesome though?
The LEGO Movie Videogame follows the story of the film rather closely. In fact, it’s so close that you really don’t need to see both. You could easily see the film or play the game and feel like you’ve gotten all of the story that you need. However, if you’re going to make a video game adaptation of a film, then it’s a pretty good idea to go to the guys that have been doing it for years.
Following the story as closely as it does means that in a similar way to Lord of the Rings, The LEGO Movie Videogame takes entire lines of dialogue from the film and uses them in the game, creating a sense of immersion, while using the original voice actors.
When it comes to the LEGO series of games, there’s not much to talk about on the graphical side of things. They all look the same as each other and the fact that we reviewed this particular game on the PlayStation 4 makes no difference in the visual department – which may help inform your purchase choice. Still, that doesn’t mean that the game looks bad, but given the graphical power of the next-gen console, when the game does switch to video footage of the film, you’ll no doubt start to wonder why you can’t play a game that looks like that. Unless you feel the need to stream or share your gaming footage with the world using the PlayStation 4/Xbox One’s built in video capture options, then you’re not missing anything.
Aside from the obvious inclusion of the film’s main song (Everything is Awesome) the music is often rather annoying and, at times, absolutely infuriating. The music which plays through most of the levels, especially the Cloud Cuckooland levels, is hugely overbearing. Often to the point that you can’t actually hear what the main characters are saying. I even found myself searching through the game’s options menu to find a way to turn the music volume down, but the only option is to either turn the music off altogether – which I eventually found myself doing – or to turn the entirety of the game’s audio down; vocals and sound effects too.
When you can actually hear what’s going on, the game’s audio is often as humorous as the film with moments of hilarity. LEGO games often bring a sense of joy to many gamers, but thanks to its entertaining story, talented voice-cast and precise comedic timing, this one works hard to bring this enjoyment to a whole new level.
The gameplay works in exactly the same way as it does in all of the other games in the LEGO series. When you’re not in the hubworld – a sort of interactive world map where you’re able to go around purchasing the Minifigs that you’ve unlocked in the levels, replaying old levels a visiting other areas of the world – you’re in one of the game’s fifteen levels, using a combination of teamwork and brick-building knowledge to get to the end. There’s plenty of collectibles for you to find on your way too, with each of the levels containing a hidden pair of pants, a selection of Golden Instruction Manuals and the obligatory collection of studs in order to reach ‘True Special’ status.
While the AI functions perfectly well, helping you when it’s required and then standing to one side when they would otherwise get in the way, there’s nothing quite like playing a LEGO game with another person, and the drop in, drop out functionality of the previous LEGO games makes a welcome comeback. The biggest downside of the co-op feature is the split-screen, which instead of being a static line down the centre of the screen, is a dynamic split which moves around the screen as your character does. This is fine a lot of the time, but there are times when this can get a little too distracting and disorientating.
There’s no doubt that the LEGO series has been resting on its laurels for quite some time now, using the same gameplay over and over. This makes it all the more exciting to find new game functionality inside The LEGO Movie Videogame. This comes in the form of the Master Builders being able to create giant LEGO objects using pieces of the environments. By standing in a green circle in pre-set areas, and selecting the multiple LEGO pieces, the Master Builder will then get to work creating the new object to use – as well as construction workers’ ability to create objects when given enough pieces of the instructions. If you’re building an item from a set of instructions then you’ll be treated to a small mini-game where you’re shown an object, which has a flashing missing piece, you’re then tasked with finding the missing piece from a radial dial of possible choices. The faster you perform this action, the more studs you’ll get.
As with any other LEGO title, the longevity of the title depends entirely on whether you are a completionist. There’s a hell of a lot of characters to collect, from the ones that are only known to the most avid LEGO collector, all the way through to characters such as Batman. Then there’s the list of trophies/achievements to get through too, which will take you a good while to get through. However, if you are only interested in getting from the start of the game through to the end, then the game’s fifteen levels will take you around six hours to complete. Unless you’re planning on going back through the levels to find the Golden Instruction Manuals, Pants or hidden characters then you won’t find yourself going back through it for the story.
VERDICT: If you’re already a fan of the LEGO series, then you’ve probably already seen The LEGO Movie. You’ll know the characters, the premise, and you know how these games work. Being a movie tie-in makes no difference at all, because this is a LEGO game through and through. The addition of new features brings a slight breath of fresh air to a formula that was starting to feel a little bit stale.
There are a few more misses this time around, and if you’re not already a fan of the film then you may want to skip it entirely, but if you absolutely love LEGO games, then it’s another game in a well-made, well-presented series. Just be advised that the bright colours of Cloud Cuckooland, coupled with the overbearing music, can cause more than a few headaches. Everything isn’t always awesome, but in small doses it can be.
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.
Review code provided by publisher.