Review: The LEGO Movie Videogame
Videogame tie-ins are universally bad. Practically every one is poor because of its rushed development meaning it looks and plays terribly. However The LEGO Movie Videogame is different. The movie it’s based on is incredibly close to an existing series already meaning developer TT Games had everything in place to create the perfect tie-in. All they had to do was create levels based upon scenes in the movie using their signature style. Because of this it meant that The LEGO Movie Videogame is the first movie tie-in that I actually had hope for upon booting it up.
Following the events of the movie, you take on the role of Emmet who’s been prophesied and enlisted by a wizard called Vitruvius to stop Bricksburg and the rest of the LEGO universe from being devastated by a superweapon known as the “Kragle”, operated by the baddie, Lord Business. I have seen the movie and it’s one of the best things I have seen in a long time. Thoughts of it being a giant advert are pushed far to the side by a collection of characters voice by a brilliant cast (especially Will Arnett’s Batman) over the course of a fun and action packed adventure that ends in a rather heartwarming way that I didn’t expect.
The film’s story has been translated perfectly into the game with every element from the voice cast, design to the humour all being present and correct. Previous LEGO games have all based themselves on a mega franchise (Star Wars, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings) which all had a great selection of characters. Now playing a completely unknown construction worker hasn’t diminished the game (or movie) at all and in fact it’s even better. The ethos of LEGO is for people to use their imagination to create something unique and wonderful out of an assortment of bricks and that’s exactly what the writers have done here.
If you’ve ever played a TT Games LEGO game before, you’re not going to be surprised that little has changed when it comes gameplay. You get trails leading you to your next location and you switch between characters to perform certain actions. If you’re still not a fan of the handholding style then you’re not going to enjoy this latest offering and be far better off just watching the movie. But many other series see very little evolution with nothing to shout about when it comes to the narrative. All LEGO games at least come with fun movie adaptations and increasingly original tales too (this and LEGO City Undercover).
There are also a few naff sections that should have been chopped from the game, such as a mini driving/shooting bit and tedious freefall sections where you have to move left and right to get out of the way from oncoming obstacles. These are clearly aspects TT Games have had to include to bulk up the gameplay whilst tying in with the film. It’s safe to say that this game is one of the most inconsistent entries in the series in terms of fun and excitement, but the fun does outweigh the good.
That said there are a few new aspects. There’s a few little mini-games peppered throughout such as a dancing one where you hit buttons to the on screen prompts (using the banging track from the film, Everything is AWESOME!!!). It’s very basic but it spices up the gameplay (on the curry scale it’s butter chicken rather than vinderloo). Building objects has also seen a change (at times). At key points, instead of just holding down the build buttons you have to follow the on screen instructions and select the right piece. This ties in with the Master Builder element that’s thread through the movie. Like the rest of the game it’s incredibly simple and wouldn’t form part of The Krypton Factor but it’s nice that TT Games are making some changes.
Co-op comprises of the multiplayer components of this game, letting another person join in the fun and hoovering up studs. Like all previous LEGO games the co-op doesn’t do anything for the gameplay, just makes it a little more efficient for moving around and progressing as it saves switching characters.
For the first time in the series the entire world is made up of LEGO pieces. It had to be this way to make it fit in perfectly with the movie’s look and I hope all future games have the 100% LEGO look. It further enhances the series’s unique art style and with the Xbox One and PS4 bringing the additional power I’m sure this will be the case. I also imagine the extra horsepower is why the game didn’t crash once, a problem I’ve had with the series before. The only other changes made to the game are the cutscenes. Before they were made using in-game assets but now they’re taken directly from the film, instantly making this installment the grandest in the series. I suppose one could argue that the game has slightly lost some of its unique style as the cutscenes were always funny but after all this is a tie in to the movie and makes sense to rip scenes from the film. There’s also some technical polish too as the Xbox One version does look rather fab, especially the lighting.
To sum up
The LEGO Movie Videogame is arguably one of the better movie tie-ins produced although it still falls fowl of the pitfalls that tie ins inevitably face. It may have had an advantage due to the source material and games being so closely linked but the fact remains that overall this title is well produced and is faithful to the movie. The flip side is that many people will be put off by the simple gameplay and even fans of the series may be starting to grow weary of the similarities. But I implore you to experience The LEGO Movie one way or another as it’s simply great fun and very enjoyable. At the very least this game will nicely keep you occupied until The LEGO Hobbit comes out. The LEGO Movie Videogame is out now for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Vita, 3DS, Wii U, PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Version reviewed: Xbox One