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Review: The LEGO Movie 2 Videogame (PlayStation 4)By Sasari At 28.03.2019 14:27

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The core mechanics of the LEGO games have been the same for an age, with slight deviations to the formulae in major releases. Just like every other LEGO title, this consists of running around, smashing up LEGO creations, collecting the bricks and the studs, rebuilding things to overcome puzzles and occasionally smashing up minifig enemies. These mechanics have been the same for well over a decade, and despite some small changes here and there, the games have all felt the same - a fact that has divided the fans.

Some are happy enough to just receive more of what they love, while others want innovation. Well, innovation is here, and it's not a good thing. The series had focused on special types of LEGO bricks that required a special ability limited to specific characters with the huge roster of characters. That's gone. Fittingly for a LEGO game, the series is now all based around building things, and the bricks used in its creation.

With the characters being Master Builders, they are able to craft devices to assist them in exploring the blocky world. By utilising blueprints collected over the course of the game, Emmet and Wyldstyle are able to build bouncing platforms to reach higher platforms; build sprinklers to water little buds which grow into towering plants; and, later, blueprints can be collected for creating vehicles, and even buildings. These often become the objectives on each stage: building a house for someone, or painting a house, or collecting bricks.

This replaces the age-old LEGO mainstay of having a huge cast of characters, each with their own special abilities. There are characters to unlock here, and character parts too for customising, but there's nothing unique about them other than their looks. As characters are unlocked, new tools become unlocked as well, to overcome environmental obstacles. There's also a remover for "Kragle" and the paint sprayer from LEGO Worlds. But all of these items are free to be used by every character.

These objectives are horribly repetitive. Even more so than most LEGO games, and since most of the gameplay has been simplified, it's hard to stay interested. In regards to the building, it's just picking an item to build, then picking where. Then boom, the bricks fly out and automatically craft whatever, when compared to things like Dragon Quest Builders it's just boring. Similarly, when it comes to the navigation of levels, it has been made so much more basic. In place of the occasional jumping section, there are many QTE style series of platforms where just hitting X navigates the whole thing. This is changed up with the inclusion of moving platforms, but, this too is completely lacking in any difficulty. Considering previous games only punished missteps by the loss of a few studs, making this even easier seems unnecessary.

There's a pretty clear message being sent with these changes, and it's one that will be hard for some fans to accept. This game is not for them. The LEGO games have long been fantastic for gamers of all ages. A way to introduce younger gamers without "Game Over" screens or the requirement of fast reflexes. This instalment though… this instalment doubles down on that inclusivity, and instead have excluded a vital part of their audience. Even younger fans are going to find it too easy. It's not unplayable. It's a LEGO game, and those picking it up know what to expect. Just that the simplicity of this one makes it harder to ignore.

There are many steps backward in regards to the LEGO game franchise here, but potentially the worst of which is the voice acting. Recently games like LEGO DC Super-Villains have delivered casts of legendary actors, and previous adaptations have included big names from the world of TV and Film. Instead, this has gone back to using clips and voice actors that sound like the big names. In comparison the visuals are better than ever, truly bringing the blocky inhabitants to life, especially in the mirroring of the style of animating the characters. Seeing the weird, stilted movements of the characters work just as well here as in the movie - but then, the worlds these characters inhabit are so bland, lifeless, and generic. Outside of Apocalypseberg, the levels are completely without any style of heart.

What remains a huge part is the scale of it all the amount of things to collect. It's a great time sink, to wander all of the worlds, tracking down every side-quest, finding all 50 Master Bricks on each realm, then tracking down… loot boxes?! Oh no. LEGO. Not you too… yup, special blocks can be found in chests, which then have to be taken to a shop on a separate world to be opened. These then give out elements and blueprints. They open very slowly, adding yet another element of inanity to the package. Repeatedly watching more and more pointless things become unlocked.

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Final Score
Everything is not awesome. Everything is not even okay. Everything is just meh. Tt games haw finally done what a very vocal part of their audience wanted. They changed things. Drastically. And in doing so, they've taken such a huge step backward that this feels more LEPIN than LEGO. A heavily flawed shell of what the franchise had become.



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