REVIEW: ‘LEGO 2K Drive’ Is Classic LEGO Fun (XSX)

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LEGO 2K Drive — But Why Tho

LEGO 2K Drive brings the humor and kid-friendliness of LEGO to the world of racing games with Visual Concepts and 2K Games‘ racing adventure. Explore and race across the realms of Bricklandia, win enough races to face off against the infamous Shadow Z, and do it all with the little bricks we know and love.

LEGO 2K Drive works for what it’s meant to be: a kid-friendly racing game loaded with plenty of LEGO charm and just enough jokes not to be too annoying to the adults playing or listening nearby. The worlds of Turbo Acres, Big Butte County, Prospecto Valley, and Hountsborough are eclectic and charming. Every character you meet along the way has the kind of irreverent humor you’d expect from LEGO in the post-LEGO Movie era, especially given some of the cutscenes in the game use the same style of animation. And everything just looks excellently polished. You never have to wonder whether you’re in a LEGO world or not, the minifigs all move exclusively within the limits of their real-life articulation, and every structure is very clearly made from LEGO too.

As a result, driving around is very satisfying, because you spend as much time crashing through little LEGO objects and knocking minifigures around as you do anything else. Destroying things is nearly as fun as the racing itself, and so are the number of powerups you can launch against other racers. There’s only a handful of them, but getting a little notification that you’ve bricked an enemy, aka you destroyed their car temporarily, never stops feeling good. Which is helpful, because there are a few other things that do get tiresome.

Namely, the game’s rubberbanding. On the one hand, I respect that LEGO 2K Drive is clearly designed with kids in mind. No matter the difficulty level, the game has a substantial rubberbanding system that keeps other racers from getting too far ahead of you. It meant that no matter how many times I crashed or had a bad start, I almost always still won anyway. Out of every race I played, I only missed first place maybe twice. The rubberbanding does work in the other direction too, though. You can never get too far ahead in a race without the other racers catching up eventually. While it does add a bit of suspense and challenge to the race at times in a way that pretty much no racing game has ever made me feel, it still comes at the expense of the other end of the rubber band. If it only made the end of a race harder without making the beginning easier, I might not be as unfavorable about the mechanic, but I do give the game credit for trying to keep things fair and exciting at the same time.

The other mechanic that I find fascinating as a choice but not perfect in execution is turning. You can hardly turn in this game without using either the drift mechanic, which frankly feels like it does absolutely nothing different from the quick turn mechanic. Both basically slow you down substantially, the drift a bit less than the quick turn, and allow you to make a very sharp and somewhat precise turn. The drift theoretically gets a boost after you hold it long enough, and sometimes lets you make softer turns less dramatically, but never feels like it works exactly right for every situation. I know with certainty that at a certain age, I would have struggled hard with the turning mechanics, which is part of why the rubberbanding also feels like it would have challenged me almost too hard instead of making the game slightly easier as part of it’s intended to.

The reason drifting doesn’t always feel right though, is because every car you unlock has a different distribution of speed, acceleration, turning, and health. Some have higher stats some have lower stats in each category, and you need to choose the right car for the right situation. There are also three different vehicle types, street, off-road, and water, which you automatically transform between as you switch racing terrains. I like this side of the mechanic because the terrains feel slightly different to drive on from one another, but the stats and various perks you can unlock just feel like they offer more punishment than reward for every choice you make between them.

LEGO 2K Drive — But Why Tho

They’re essential choices when completing the many open-world challenges though. Some are completely impossible to ace without picking exactly the right kind of vehicle for going the fastest or making the sharpest turns, and are even unbeatable until you’ve unlocked the highest racing class, a fact the game never tells you. Some of these challenges are fun and reasonable, but others are exceedingly difficult. It’s never not fun replaying them over and over, I just wish the game would give you some kind of indication eventually that perhaps you don’t have the right vehicle class or even the ability to beat the challenge yet.

This became especially annoying when eventually, about two-thirds through the story, progression grinds to a halt for players who have prioritized races over challenges. The game suddenly decides you need to reach a very high player level, but experience is slowly accumulated from winning races, completing challenges, and finding collectibles for the most part. It essentially forces you to not only spend a lot of time completing these difficult challenges but also exploring the world for sometimes hard-to-spot collectibles instead of letting you continue to compete in new races. I like what it’s trying to do, making you play all of the parts of the game, I just wish these requirements were more evenly spread out instead of making me do it all at once after ignoring challenges for so long because they were too hard and too many.

In all though, the story mode is a load of fun and despite some of my gripes with various mechanics, I could never help but keep picking the controller up to play some more. The same cannot be said of the game’s two other main modes: multiplayer and building. Multiplayer is something the game obviously should have because racing against friends is fun, but the modes are basically just endless races one after the next with too many in a row in cup mode and no rewards for participating.

The building mode is an excellent idea in theory, but it’s a very tedious system on console that takes a long time to construct anything cool. I wish there was a website or app where you could build something and then import it into the game with a code. It’s a very robust system with endless options and plenty of brick types to keep unlocking through story mode and the in-game shop, but my incentive to stick with it was null given there are already so many cool pre-build vehicles to choose from. For the patient though, it will be a lot of fun to play with. There’s also no minifigure editor, which would have been a nice addition to all of the silly characters you can choose from.

Fortunately, neither of these modes are requisite for playing or enjoying the game, so on the whole, it lands as a fun time. LEGO 2K Drive is classic LEGO fun with hours of exploration and racing to enjoy at any age.

LEGO 2K Drive is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

LEGO 2K Drive
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10


LEGO 2K Drive is classic LEGO fun with hours of exploration and racing to enjoy at any age.

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