|System: Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, PS3*, Xbox 360, PC, 3DS, PS Vita|
|Dev: TT Games|
|Pub: Warner Bros.|
|Release: February 7, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief|
by Joshua Bruce
I had a chance to see The LEGO Movie before I played the game and I was quite impressed. The talented voices of people like Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell and Liam Neeson bring the characters to life in a unique way. The animation was all new and all of the effects like explosions, fire and smoke were created using LEGO pieces, which was truly impressive. But, most of all (and most importantly), it was legitimately funny. As an adult in the movie theater, I can say without embarrassment that I laughed more than I would have ever expected, which was a welcome surprise. So when I found out I was going to be playing the game for a review, I was kind of excited. I don’t get excited about games very often anymore, but the enjoyment I derived out of watching the movie with my children instilled a sense of curiosity in me about the game. But could it be as good as the movie? Typically, movie games have a horrid track record of matching their on-screen counterpart. Thankfully, The LEGO Movie Videogame was an exception to that rule.
LEGO games have been getting progressively better over the years, and The LEGO Movie Videogame is the culmination of all their work on previous titles. This time around you play as Emmet Brickowski, a seemingly normal and unremarkable LEGO construction worker who is destined for greatness. He finds the “Piece of Resistance” fulfilling a prophecy that makes him “The Special.” The “Piece of Resistance” is the only thing that can stop the evil Lord Business, who intends to lock all pieces into place where they belong using the “Kragle.” Of course, you will get to play as other characters from the movie as well like Vitruvius, Wyldstyle, Batman, Unikitty and many others. Like all recent LEGO games, these characters have unique abilities that will enable you to continue in the story, so make sure you’re on the lookout for special items that only they can interact with. For instance, broken things made out of blue bricks can only be repaired by Emmet, Vitruvius can do secret knocks, and Unikitty is the only character that can destroy rainbow bricks.
I think what I liked most about The LEGO Movie Videogame was how they integrated the “Master Builder” mechanic that was such a huge part of the film. Master Builders can build just about anything they need out of miscellaneous bricks in the environment. They have the ability to see what’s around them and turn it into something useful for the situation they’re in. Master Builder locations are shown by a green glowing circle on the ground and once there, must find the LEGO’s they need to complete their vision. You simply have to highlight the glowing green objects to complete them, but with this you will create the bridges, vehicles, and weapons you need to fight off the forces on Good Cop/Bad Cop and Lord Business. So, make sure you always have a Master Builder in your group. Although, when playing through the story the first time the game will automatically have the characters you need.
But, the whole reason Emmet is the special is because of his lack of individuality and his ability to follow instructions. They have cleverly woven this mechanic into the game as well, by giving Emmet a chance to shine. Throughout the game you will find instruction pieces that will assist you in completing levels. Once all the pieces of the instructions are collected, Emmet is able to build the item needed to continue. This is a timed sequence in a separate screen where you must select the right piece to continue the build. The faster you complete the build, the more studs you earn, which is always a good thing.
Once completing a section of the game, you can return to them at any time using LEGO portals. You can go back with different characters and unlock new areas, get new items, and collect more figures. The levels are pulled straight from the movie--places like Bricksburg, Flatbush Gulch, and Cloud Cuckoo Land are all there, as well as many more.
Visually, The LEGO Movie Videogame looks great. They did an awesome job of recreating the animation style of the movie, using LEGO’s to create environmental effects like water, smoke, and well, everything else. It’s a lot of fun to watch but even more fun to play. Character models look about like any other LEGO game, but they have been refined so much over the years that the animations are nearly flawless. On top of that, the game uses scenes pulled straight from the movie, so the production value on cutscenes in this LEGO game is head-and-shoulders above other games in the series. The sheer volume of different colors and shapes in the environment is staggering, and the contrast between locales in both the game and the film offer tons of variety, even though everything is technically made out of the same LEGO’s.