There are two track records to keep in mind: that of Traveller’s Tales and that of movie-licensed games in general. Movie-licensed games tend to be very abysmal in their playability, as they are very often rushed out the door, usually with a development time of only a few months, so that the release can coincide with the movie. Traveller’s Tales, on the other hand, is well-known for their Lego adaptation games, having started with Lego Star Wars in 2005. They’ve done other projects, but at this point the Lego games are their main output and, having played the Star Wars games, are very fun to play. So when you combine Traveller’s Tales with a license for The Lego Movie, there’s a natural uncertainty in being able to pull it off considering how movie-licensed games usually turn out. Having said that, I think that The Lego Movie Videogame, while not without faults, is surprisingly fun considering that it’s a Lego game based on only one film.
I don’t really need to touch upon the story, since it’s pretty much the same thing as The Lego Movie; they even use clips from the movie as cutscenes during the Story Mode, complete with the original voice track. However, I can say that the story is preserved pretty well and though it omits a few scenes, they still managed to make it feel like the movie. There’s dialogue that obviously wasn’t from the source, but the sense of humor in the script feels so much like the movie that it doesn’t feel out of place.
Each of the game’s 15 levels, plus the Prologue, takes a specific moment from the movie and expands it into a playable level. The ways in which this is accomplished are varied enough that there isn’t a dull moment. Apart from standard levels where characters explore the environment across a semi-linear path, there are also driving or shooting stages, each with their own goals, though the levels which allowed more freedom of movement were more enjoyable. The final boss is also reasonably difficult even though death is pretty much a slap on the wrist like in other Lego games.
There is a good amount of replay value through the Free Mode, in which you can replay any level but with any character you wish. Going through the Free Mode can allow for more of a chance to achieve certain goals, such as The Special (gained for collecting a certain amount of Studs in a level), or obtain Golden Manual Pages or pairs of Pants. Golden Manual Pages allow one to build certain objects in a Bonus Room at the end of the game and Pants, which can be swapped in a Dispanster in the hub worlds, can grant additional powers to compatible characters. Completing these goals awards the player Gold Bricks which add to the completion percentage, with 100% completion giving a feeling of satisfaction.
|It started out so simply...|
Additional replay value can be found in the hub worlds, which feature heavily destructible environments and a few side quests, the completion of which awards the player with a Red Brick that they much purchase with Studs (the currency used in the Lego games). When the player obtains a Red Brick, they unlock certain cheat codes which add interesting effects to the game, including Stud multipliers or locators for Pants and Golden Manual Pages. These modifiers are actually pretty fun to use, especially since they make the levels easier to complete, though naturally you can have them turned off for an additional challenge.
While the game is fun, it’s generally pretty easy overall. The story moves at a pretty quick pace, although it took me a couple days to beat it, and the Platinum trophy wasn’t too difficult to get, but still required a good amount of time and perseverance. Over the course of the game, you can also unlock additional characters, for a total of over 90, by playing the story or spending Studs and inputting certain cheat codes. Some of the later characters feel a little overpowered, as they contain certain ability combinations that make playing through story levels even easier.
A couple other things to mention would be the co-op and a major glitch I came across. The drop-in, drop-out co-op allows for a second player to join the game quite easily and can make the experience even more enjoyable (my brother and I actually played co-op for the entire game), although certain actions like building according to a set of instructions was made a little more difficult due to two people aiming for the same pieces. As for the glitch, while my brother and I were in Free Mode, we played the first level with all cheats activated. We went along just fine until one particular event occurred, namely a dancing section. Our characters were supposed to join in with the NPCs during this time, but this event was skipped and the dancing continued indefinitely. The only way to remedy this was to restart the console and try the level again with all cheats turned off, although we ran into an additional error on the same level where the game stopped working for some reason. This error thankfully never came up again, though I wish that Traveller’s Tales had done some more testing on the game to iron out bugs like this before shipping it out.
The graphics are very accurate to Lego bricks and the color palette is very bright and fun. Everything is very distinct from each other, although it’s a little easy to get mixed up when using similar-looking characters. Visual effects are also very good and show off the capabilities of the PS4 pretty well. Certain sounds are repeated from previous Lego games, but they never really get tiring, and the voice acting is actually very good. None of the voice actors from the movie reprise their roles in the game, though when you compare the performances in the game proper to those found in the movie footage, the game has very spot-on impressions to where you can hardly tell the difference, if at all. I also like the soundtrack, as it fits in perfectly well with the mood, especially the more upbeat tracks that match the fun atmosphere, though be prepared to hear plenty of remixes of “Everything is Awesome!!!”
|The graphics fit in very well with the game's tone.|
Whether or not you’ve played a Lego game before, The Lego Movie Videogame is an experience I can safely recommend. It helps to see The Lego Movie first though, since the story is coherent, but feels a little incomplete without the additional context. Aside from that though, the game is very fun to play, especially with an additional person, and the experience is very hard to leave behind, even though it’s a bit familiar to those who have played previous Lego games. This is a movie-licensed game that is actually very good and I wish that other studios would take this level of care into crafting one.