Lego 2K Drive Review: Transforming Open-World Racing Into a Playful Lego Experience
Immersive Open-World Racing Adventure
Lego 2K Drive cleverly takes open-world racing to a whole new level. The game gives players the freedom to navigate their surroundings seamlessly, transitioning from driving on roads to scaling hills and sailing rivers with a vehicle that can magically transform into what’s needed at any given moment. The gratifying sensation of hearing your Lego vehicle reconstitute itself instantaneously is a highlight in the game, making the journey to your next objective an enjoyable adventure in itself.
Instead of following a traditional linear storyline, you can carve your own paths through a world that truly feels like your playground. Driving around the open world, you can jump over obstacles, scale hills, and smash through small buildings and cars with a satisfying explosion of Lego bricks. The feeling of freedom and adventure is a breath of fresh air in the racing game genre.
Traditional Kart Races With a Twist
While the open world exploration offers limitless freedom, Lego 2K Drive also provides more conventional racing experiences. In these races, the game introduces an extra layer of fun with the inclusion of power-ups, a staple of kart racers. From homing missiles to invulnerability, the power-ups diversify the ways you can outmaneuver your opponents.
However, not all power-ups are created equal. The spider web, for instance, is a tad annoying as it forces the player to rapidly press a button to clear the view, which can lead to unwanted jumps due to button mapping. This can lead to some frustration, especially in late-game races against spider-themed rivals. In multiplayer I sometimes find myself more interested in crashing other players than winning the race lol!
Beyond Racing: Events, Minigames, and Challenges
The campaign in Lego 2K Drive goes beyond racing, with a world full of different activities. From triggering ‘On-The-Go’ events as you drive around, to engaging in minigames like ‘Rescue’ or ‘Defend’, the game ensures there’s never a dull moment. There are also ‘World Challenges’ for setting time records, and ‘Quests’ to help townsfolk with odd jobs.
The campaign’s three biomes add variety, each with its distinct challenges and landscapes. Activities sometimes leave a lasting impact on the world around you, such as clearing weeds to replace them with speed-boosting crystals or unlocking jump jets that appear throughout the biomes.
Pacing and Progression
One slight downside of Lego 2K Drive is the pacing issue that crops up toward the end of the game. A requirement to grind levels to qualify for the next phase adds an hour or so of extra playtime to an already fulfilling 7-11 hour campaign. Despite this minor hiccup, the open world remains inviting even after the campaign’s conclusion, with an array of challenges still awaiting exploration. If you get bored you can always just drive around and break things, I have no clue why this is so satisfying.
Engaging Storyline and Humor
Drawing inspiration from The Lego Movie, Lego 2K Drive successfully incorporates an engaging storyline filled with humorous dialogue. The interplay between the two race announcers, Vikki Wheeler and Parker Carr, keeps the races lively and entertaining. The ultimate goal is to gather enough flags to qualify for the Sky Cup Grand Prix and unseat the obnoxious reigning champion, Shadow Z. Guided by a veteran racer named Clutch Racington, players are taken on a journey filled with humor, challenges, and triumphs, making the racing experience highly engaging.
Customizing Your Lego Vehicles
One of the game’s standout features is the ability to customize your Lego vehicle. The building interface brilliantly imitates an actual Lego building set, offering players the satisfaction of snapping each brick into place. With a plethora of options available, the customizability of the vehicles is both comprehensive and engaging. I found myself stuck here for some time before I even began the campaign.
Despite the extensive customization options for vehicles, the game surprisingly lacks heavy character customization. While you can choose from several premade models, the inability to craft your Lego minifig character from scratch is a noticeable oversight. I was kind of set off by this because IRL you can swap out Lego heads, torsos, and pants.
Robust Vehicle Building Features
Despite the lack of character customization, Lego 2K Drive makes up for it with an incredibly robust vehicle-crafting feature. This option lets players unleash their creativity, allowing them to start a build from scratch, modify an existing model, or simply customize the paint job of their favorite vehicle. The building interface can seem overwhelming initially, but once you understand your options, it becomes a captivating part of the game that’s hard to leave.
This feature allows players to control the stats of their vehicles, enabling the selection of packages that balance values for health, speed, and maneuverability. The flexibility of the build mode offers an element of strategy, which enhances the overall gaming experience. “No Cap” it gets kind of technical!
A Therapeutic Building Experience
Lego 2K Drive provides a meditative, therapeutic experience through its ‘Instructions mode’, mimicking the calming effect of assembling a physical Lego set. The mode offers a step-by-step guide to building one of the pre-built models, making the process enjoyable and rewarding. Honestly, with how good the production is I kind of feel like I’m in a Lego movie during these tutorials.
Multiplayer and Crossplay – A Shared World of Bricks
An important aspect that shouldn’t go unnoticed is Lego 2K Drive’s multiplayer offerings, which provide an additional layer of enjoyment. Despite the compelling single-player mode that I primarily engaged with, the game opens up to a fun-filled social space where friends and strangers alike can come together to revel in the Lego world.
Up to six online players can simultaneously explore the shared world, jumping into events and crafting their own unique experiences. The game successfully transcends the boundaries of a traditional open-world racer, allowing you to bypass the open-world structure entirely and head straight into races, grand prix tournaments, and a variety of mini-games.
In a nod to those who enjoy the camaraderie of couch co-op, local play supports two players via split screen. For those who prefer the Nintendo Switch version, the game accommodates two consoles for an immersive split-screen experience.
Highlighting its dedication to inclusivity and flexibility, Lego 2K Drive stands out with its support for online crossplay across all versions. This feature opens the door for a broader community of gamers, creating a diverse playground where everyone can participate regardless of their gaming platform.
Crossplay is a shining example of how Lego 2K Drive doesn’t just take you on a journey—it invites your friends along for the ride. Be it tackling a challenging grand prix tournament or exploring the Lego world in free-roaming mode, the game ensures that these adventures are better when shared.
The game appears to be designed for longevity, with the Drive Pass season pass promising more racers and vehicles in the future. Although the in-game progression can be slow, there doesn’t seem to be a competitive advantage associated with DLC vehicles, making the game fair for all players. For those eager to amass a full collection of cars and racers, commitment will be necessary.
End of the Road
Lego 2K Drive has successfully reinvented the racing genre by blending elements of open-world racing and kart racing into a playful, Lego-themed experience. It caters to players of all ages, from adults seeking an immersive racing game to kids exploring a vibrant Lego world. It offers humor, explosive action, and a wide range of building tools, all while keeping the competitive thrill of racing alive. Despite minor pacing issues and the lack of character customization, Lego 2K Drive delivers a complete package, promising hours of fun and replayability. It is a delightful game that captures the essence of Lego, making it an unforgettable gaming experience.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S