Lego games have become a household name, largely because of their collection of puzzles, accessible gameplay and the popularity of the film franchises that they parody. We’ve all indulged in titles such as Lego Lord of The Rings, Marvel Superheroes and Batman, but never before has Lego parodied itself. Yet, the latest Lego game is based on the increasingly popular Lego Movie. Many movie game tie-ins fall flat on their face, but surely if anyone could escape that trap it would be Lego? Although, Lego is perhaps in a very unique position of being one of the few (if not only) game franchises that was turned into a movie, only to be turned back into a game? I’ll leave you with that puzzling thought.
I, sadly, am one of the few who have yet to see the Lego Movie. The story consists of our hero Emmett, who is mistaken for ‘The Special’ – an extraordinary ‘master builder‘. Master builders are those who can construct lego without the instructions and are only limited by their imagination. This is, of course, a huge reference to the real world. As everyone knows you are either one of those Lego people who follow the instructions to the letter and make the perfect pirates ship, or you are one of the more eccentric types who builds a castle with a huge laser beam turret, in a complete mismatch of different coloured bricks.
Emmett is not special, he is ordinary and just wants to fit in. He’s a construction worker who builds everything precisely to the instructions. When Emmett accidentally stumbles upon ‘The Piece of Resistance’ his life takes a dramatic turn. Emmett and ‘The Piece of Resistance’ are part of a prophecy that will change the Lego world for the better. Lord Business, our bad guy of this piece, does not like the idea of this bold and creative new world. Lord Business has made the Lego world orderly, so much so, he has segregated the various different Lego worlds from each other. So Lord Business and his right hand man, Bad Cop, seek to destroy the piece of resistance and eliminate Emmett by unleashing his secret evil weapon, the Kragle. However, wise, old, blind ‘Vitruvius’ (who foretold this prophecy) and a feisty heroin named ‘Wyldstyle’ get to Emmett first to protect him and unlock ‘The Special’s’ secret ability.
So playing the game first, instead of watching the movie, perhaps put me at a disadvantage. Despite my lack of knowledge in regard to the movie, after many years playing Lego games, I feel very accustomed to the latest installment. The Lego Movie has all the hallmarks of a classic Lego game. An infinite amount of puzzles, a huge back catalogue of un-lockable characters and a bag of hilarity to go with it. However, with this familiarity lies some problems. Recent Lego games, despite certain recurring elements that make up the heart and soul of all Lego games, have certainly progressed since their inception. The latest, Lego Marvel, encapsulates everything I’m referring to. In comparison to the first Lego game, Lego Star Wars, Marvel Superheroes is massive in its ambition, scale and challenges. The Lego Movie Game on the other hand, reverts back to form.
Initially, hardly anything feels fresh. Instead, we have a Lego game treading old territory, albeit this is still a classic Lego game. TT Games haven’t completely short changed their fans but that extra spark or magic isn’t quite there. The puzzles are everything we used to expect from a Lego game, whilst recent titles have made puzzles infinitely more challenging. From experience, you know precisely which character to use and if by chance you don’t, the hints at the bottom of the screen will tell you before you even realised there was a puzzle to solve. Everything in this sense is a little too conventional and predictable.
Not all is lost though. At first I thought The Lego game’s parody of its own movie was a little indulgent and perhaps couldn’t hold my interest. After all, it is easier to laugh at the in jokes of a movie you know inside and out. But I rolled with it, the cutscenes and gameplay are very much in keeping with the traditional cutesy Lego humour that we’ve all grown to love. The only problem, which comes with many movie game tie-ins, presumably due to time constraints, is several continuity errors between gameplay and cutscenes. Now I’m not one of those to point out how someone was wearing a jacket in one scene, only for it to go missing the next, but when these inconsistencies effect plot holes, such as a character actually being on screen in the first places when they shouldn’t be, that is a little lazy.
You will certainly grow to love these new characters, even if you haven’t scene the movie. Our leading hero Emmett is endearing as he blunders his way through this story, especially as he is expected to act like the special one. Vitruvius is effectively Emmett’s blind mentor, who – no matter what – sees no flaws within our hero. This senile character makes for some of the most hilarious moments in the game. Other characters in the group believe Vitruvius is faking his blindness as he often uncannily describes to the group, the unknown (to him) dangers that surround our heroes, by pretending that these dangers aren’t even there; “I’ll walk over this perfectly sturdy and perfectly safe ledge. After all it’s not like there is a pit of fire below it.”
If the new guys aren’t for you, fans will be treated to characters from previous games as well as recognizable real life play-sets. Characters from my childhood that featured in the Medieval and Western play-sets are un-lockable. DC comic icons such as Batman, Green Lantern and well as Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf are also playable.
The make or break moment of this game is its length. Some will feel in contrast with the bigger Lego titles that this is a bit brief. Most Lego games will require 30+ hours of gameplay in an attempt to collect all 250 gold bricks, which usually come as standard. The Lego Movie game only has 70 gold bricks to collect, along with a handful of other collectibles. All of this can be achieved in as little as two play through. The downscale , arguably, could be due to the target audience, which is obviously children. Other Lego titles have had a much broader audience in mind by choosing to parody more adult films such as Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones. However, after tireless hours of slaving away at every Lego game know to man to reach 100% completion, this shorter title was a much welcome reprieve. Some may disagree with that, but if you want a high paced, short blast Lego game, then Lego The Movie is the game for you.
Although Lego the Movie starts off a little bumpy, the game does improve and eventually starts to establish itself. The games high pace and humour will keep players entertained and one or two new puzzle elements are introduced in the form of minigames. So while not one of Warner Bros’ best outputs, there is certainly room in my heart for the inevitable Lego The Movie Videogame 2.
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