How many LEGO games have we had now? Of course, I mean the ones made by TT Games. By my counting, The Lego Movie Videogame is the fifteenth, and whilst there have been ups and downs along the way they’re all been pretty good, and based on individual licensed properties.
However, somewhat surprisingly The Lego Movie is the first of its type to be made based on an original LEGO concept. Is this somewhat repetitive franchise reaching too far in thinking it can work the same, license-reliant trick on its own license?
‘EVERYTHING IS AWESOME EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM’
‘EVERYTHING IS AWESOME, WHEN WE’RE LIVING OUR DREAM’
Like most of its predecessors, The Lego Movie Videogame mostly follows the story of the film.
Emmet, an everyday LEGO Construction worker ends up unwillingly branded the “Special”, and pulled into an epic quest by the wise Vesuvius (read “Morgan Freeman”) and the “beautiful” Wyldstyle. With the other master builders (and Batman) they set off to prevent the evil President Business from ending the world with the power of the Kragle.
Now, whilst the majority of the more recent LEGO games have shown the majority of story progression through the levels themselves and in the sandbox areas, TLMVG uses a lot of clips from the Film. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the film, but this creates problems. Much of the narrative subtext from the film is lost in the cutting process, with critical things completely absent. The scenes that are shown, whilst still incredibly funny have been shortened painfully, and just the essentials remain to push the game forward.
This poses a problem. If you play the Game before seeing the film, you’ll already have seen the funniest bits. If you play it after, as I did, you notice the vicious cuts as well as the same jokes from the film, all of which are slightly less funny the second time around.
I understand why they did this, but the charm around the licensed titles has always been the way in which the Games add to an existing franchise, not just copy it in Video Game form. It’s just disappointing that they’ve taken a lazy route narratively, despite the fact that the film itself is an amalgamation of the parody and whimsicality which made previous titles great.
That’s not to say the narrative is weak. The story is the film, so it’s almost as good as the film, with frequent pop-culture and historic LEGO references aplenty. It makes up for the lazy nature of the cut-scenes with the new content poking fun at video-game tropes and such.
Where TLMVG excels is in the levels themselves. It’s the same old game-play, tuned to be even better with a few new tricks, but the way in which new jokes and abilities are weaved into it makes it fresh. For example, Vesuvius’ ability to go across narrow ledges becomes an in-joke. The others refuse to go across certain bridges because they can see the danger of hundreds or rockets whizzing past the unstable ground, but Vesuvius can’t see the danger, because he’s “blind”. His ironic, knowing comments always bring a chuckle as he crosses a platform, never becoming old.
It’s also nice to have a new variety of mini-activities to try. With rhythm-action, building and Pac-Man-like sections alongside the usual running around it’s the most varied in terms of gameplay.
Length-wise it’s generally a bit shorter than other games in the series, with the campaign lasting around six to eight hours, but with extra side missions and some extra gold bricks and instructions to find in free-play. There are less side-content and only 70 gold bricks to find, but it’s good whilst it lasts.
The voice acting and soundtrack is stellar. Whether sections are lifted from the movie or not, some are completely original, and I can’t even tell whether it’s sound-alikes or the original actors. The best thing that can possibly be said is that it’s all very consistent, with a variety of parodies of “Everything is Awesome” to boot. The only low point is the repeated use of the song’s hook in the “victory sound”. I could deal with LEGO Marvel’s “Excelsior!”, but the ham-handed way it’s shoved in here just doesn’t feel right.
Whilst previous licenses were mainly a real-ish world with certain things made of LEGO, in TLMVG everything is LEGO. From the ground to the sky to the fire, everything, and it’s better for it. It’s still not up to The Witcher levels of fidelity, but it looks pretty good for a console port and the consistent landscaping is a nice touch.
The LEGO Movie Videogame had a lot to live up to. I’m not ashamed to say that the Movie is my favourite film of the last few years, so of course it had a lot to live up to.
Whilst I was disappointed by the cut-scenes, it’s still a damn good game if you like the LEGO way of doing things. The new content keeps it fresh and the humour is consistently good, and whilst it isn’t incredibly long it feels just about right in terms of length. Not EVERYTHING is Awesome, but as far as movie adaptations go it’s damn good.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.