The Lego Movie Videogame (Xbox 360) Review
Posted by Marc Morrison on 02.17.2014
Warner Bros' video game based on the hit LEGO Movie has been released! But is it as much fun as the movie? 411's Marc Morrison checks in with his full review!
Title: The Lego Movie Videogame
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Rated: E 10+
I’ll admit, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Lego game franchise. Most of them are made fairly well, with small improvements manifesting every few games. However, the series still has some nagging issues that continue to plague it, going back to the first in the series (Lego Star Wars). Lego Movie doesn’t really break with the tradition any, it has a few neat ideas in it, and covers the source material well, but the old issues do rear their head from time to time which can spoil some of the fun.
The Lego Movie Videogame is obviously based on the immensely popular/reviewed Lego Movie…movie. It’s a loose adaptation of the movie, going through Emmet’s journey of being “The Special”, the fabled one that Vitruvius foretold as being able to stop the evil Lord Business’s plan to “Kragle” everything. You team up with Wyldstyle, Batman, Uni-Kitty, Superman and more as you go through the levels to fight off Business’s minions and save all the different dimensions of Lego.
With the story ostensibly out of the way, “how does it play?” comes into question. The answer is, “just like every other Lego game.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the formula is so worn out by this point. The series has existed since 2005, and they have made, basically, 14 Lego games, not counting the Star Wars Complete Saga and Lego Rock Band. That is kind of scary when you think about it.
There are 15 levels to explore in the game, and it follows the movie’s plot well enough, just expanding on it a great deal. Characters, per the norm, have different skills which you can use to solve the various puzzles you encounter. Emmet has a drill that he can use for destroying specific walls, but also a wrench he can use to repair certain machines and can use Construction plans. Wyldstyle can jump higher, swing on poles and has Master Builder powers. Batman can use his grapple to pull things, scale some buildings, and throw batarangs. Vitruvius can walk on narrow ledges and isn’t afraid of heights (most characters are), and also has Master Builder powers.
So the new trick in this game is the Master Builder/Construction build systems with certain characters only being able to do them. When you do a Master Build, you stand in a spot and highlight three green glowing objects with a cursor. Your character will then jump between the objects, taking them apart, and building something crazy out of the parts. Construction builds involve you finding blueprints in a given level, between 1 and 5, and playing a mini-game to build it. You’re given a Lego model, with certain pieces missing. In the corner is a selection of different pieces, and you have to match the missing piece with the correct one. There are different levels, based on how many blueprints are needed, one part for one blueprint, three parts for three, but you also have to do levels one and two. There’s also a stud timer clicking down, if you mess up, you get less studs (money) to get once it’s all over.
These two systems are about the only big differentiator between this game, and most other Lego games, besides a rhythm mini-game that only happens twice. However, this game is a lot smaller than most of its other Lego game brethren. In Lego Marvel, you can collect 200 Golden Bricks, there is a huge open-world hub city for you to explore/do side quests on, there were a ton of side missions, and a plethora of characters to unlock.
In Lego Movie, there are 70 Golden Bricks for you to collect, you get 15 from just completing missions, 15 from finding the 5 “Golden Blueprints” in every level, 15 from getting a 100% stud total, and the rest are in the hub levels. The hubs are split apart from each other, Brickberg, the Old West, Cloud Cuckoo Palace, Octan Tower, and a fifth “Bonus Room” you can explore once you beat the game. There is also a 6th hub world, but it is locked, and I have no idea what it is.
Due to the smaller nature of the game though, it can be very easy to complete. Within a day of getting it in the mail, I beat the main story, getting a 30% completion rate. The next day, I was at 80%, unlocking all the red “cheat” bricks, and buying up the roster. And on the day after that, I finished the game with 100%, mainly to see if it would unlock that locked Hub world, which it didn’t.
All that I’ve said about the smaller in scope aspect of the game might make it sound negative, but it’s really not. Lego Marvel was a much more ambitious game, but it felt really bloated as well. Parts of that game were very confusing, and annoying. Lego Movie is a slightly more simple game, but it’s more enjoyable since there isn’t that much extraneous stuff to actually do.
As stated above though, some of the old series issues do crop up in this game. Things like camera issues, bad vehicle controls, too many nothing characters, and no online play. It’s 2014 y’all, and to my knowledge, none of the Lego games have had online play, which is baffling because they’ve all been tailor made to be co-op games. You can say that they are meant for kids, and that is somewhat accurate, but adults play them also, and the series stubborn refusal to ever go online is a big hinderance now.
The game is also not particularly stable, which is also sadly somewhat par for the course with these Lego games. I fell through the level geometry a scripted chase once, causing the camera to heavily freak out. It also froze as I completed a quest, in mid-save, which is a bit scary (thankfully my save was fine). Also, fire, and the character of “MetalBeard” tend to drag the game’s framerate down quite a bit. MetalBeard can fire rockets which explode, and if there is a lot going onscreen, the framerate turns nasty. If you have a next gen system, or a decent gaming PC, I’d recommend getting Lego movie for that instead.
Even with the stuttering framerate though, the game looks really colorful and vibrant. There are movie clips spliced with game footage which helps maintain the overall look of the story. The worlds are different but do share similar design elements. When the fire isn’t causing slowdown, it does look great, as do some of the animations, and tricks the game uses to make it feel more epic.
For the in-game audio, I hope you really like listening to the “Everything is Special” audio clip, because you’ll hear it about a million times. Every time you get 100% stud counter, it will play, during the rhythm game it will play, and I think a few other times as well. It’s a catchy enough song, but can get trying after some time. The sound effects all sound like typical Lego affair, which is good enough and fits into the world. The voice acting is an interesting beast, the in-game credits lists several of the actors as performing voices for the characters, Morgan Freeman for Vitruvius, Allison Brie as Uni-Kitty and several more. But there was also a whole host of other more stalwart voice actors doing “additional roles” according to IMDB. People like Yuri Lowenthall, Eliza Schneider, Robert Clotworthy and so on. I’m not sure if the IMDB actors are just imitating the movie cast, of if the game’s credits are accuarate and they got most of the movie cast for the game as well. The voices mostly do sound good overall though, whichever is the case.
Replayability may be a small factor in this game. Like I said, I finished the game completely in around 2 days. If you’re not under pressure and take your time, it may take you like 4 or 5, but it is still a lot shorter than most other Lego games. I assume there is some DLC plans in motion considering there is a “Xbox Games Store” option on the game’s main menu (and the locked hub world), but I can only guess at that since it is currently empty.
The gameplay is still largely enjoyable and fun
New additions to the classic formula are interesting and keep it a bit fresh
The in-game humor is great
Some noticeable graphical slowdown in certain areas
A frustrating lack of forward progress surrounding the game’s systems
Can be buggy and somewhat unstable
The absence of Surfer Dave is a huge issue for me
The Lego Movie Videogame is a charming tie-in to the movie. It has some good gameplay, funny humor, and some tweaks to the formula that make it interesting. However, the formula for the Lego games themselves is wearing thin these days, and the series needs to really expand its goals if it wants to continue to stay relevant. It’s still a well-made game, that thankfully doesn’t overstay its welcome too long.
If you can play on a next gen console, do so. The game looks good, but framerate problems pop up noticeable from time to time.
The game is still fun, breaking stuff, building stuff, beating enemies all comes into play. It’s unchanged from other games.
Movie cast questions aside, all the voice work is great, especially Batman’s. The song will get annoying, but fits into the world.
There isn’t as much to do in this game, compared to other ones. That’s not entirely bad though, but can be done quickly.
I enjoyed my time with this game, the story is good, the different worlds are creative, and there is good momentum when playing