LEGO 2K Drive Review
Developed by Visual Concepts, LEGO 2K Drive borrows familiar aspects from established driving games and assembles them together into something comfortably fresh. The game features a loose story about the player as the latest apprentice of racing champion Chuck Racington. Saturday-morning-cartoon-villain Shadow X is determined to defeat you “for some reason”. Much of the game’s humor, and even animation style, feel like an extension of the LEGO Movie. The narrative is playful yet thin, but the game isn’t here for an epic tale. LEGO 2K Drive is all about going fast.
What would a LEGO game be without customization? LEGO 2K Drive features a very impressive system for customization, allowing players to piece together all manner of vehicles. You’ll unlock new parts as the game progresses, test-driving them along the way. Each vehicle can equip preset stat blocks to enhance its abilities. These can be augmented through unlockable perks like recharging your boosters when breaking objects or enhanced stats for street vehicles.
If You Can Dream It, You Can Build It
It is easy to get lost in vehicle creation with so many options. I had a lot of fun trying out new builds and experimenting with hinges and glowing bricks, but I found the tutorial lacking. It covers the basics of making a vehicle but everything else is trial and error. As a game that mostly younger ages will be playing, some of the controls might be frustrating. The positioning of a brick will change drastically with the movement of the camera, but sometimes you need to adjust the camera just to see. It is also incredibly easy to delete the entire vehicle with two button presses, and the game doesn’t give you a warning to stop you or tell you how to undo it; you’ll have to figure those options out on your own.
The open world of LEGO 2K Drive feels great. The terrain is varied if a little empty in some places, but even after hours of exploration, there are still little hidden spots I am discovering with delight. Not only are there a ton of collectibles to discover, but activities and races – like rounding up prized blue pigs – dot the map. I even unlocked a ride-on lawnmower that can permanently destroy weeds on the map which, when hit during a race, drastically slow you down. LEGO 2K Drive features three large-sized biomes to explore, as well as a small tutorial area. Each of these worlds has plenty of roads, dirt paths, and bodies of water to boost through and discover.
Ready For Anything
Exploration is made easier by LEGO 2K Drive’s stellar automatic transformation system. Drift through a corner and find yourself deep in the grass? Your high-power street car will instantly change bricks into an offroader! Fly off a jump and plummet into the water? Your car will turn into a boat just before the splash! You are able to customize the loadout of these vehicles, albeit you only get three loadout slots. They can include vehicles you unlock through races, purchase from the store, or the ones you custom build. Rapidly changing while boosting in the open world never gets old, so long as you understand how each vehicle handles.
Exhilarating LEGO Racing
Getting into a sanctioned race is a whole other beast – and just as fun. Rather than sprinting through the city in a mad dash, proper races are much more like a kart racer. The course is set, barriers in place, and a slew of unexpected weapons are spread across the course. Racing in LEGO 2K Drive is notably more intense than your average kart racer. The AI is aggressive. The tide can turn at any moment, but not due to rubber banding, simply because of the CPU’s skill. The majority of my wins were by literal fractions of a second. Each race felt challenging and intense, and each victory was well-earned.
Revenge Of The Ramps
While the controls for LEGO 2K Drive are easy to pick up, the biggest detriment is the topography itself. I would be lined up for a jump, but the shape of the terrain would catch a wheel. I would be thrown off course or even get stuck for a moment on the ramp. At one point the vehicle got stuck mid-transformation on a ramp and struggled to figure out what it should be. I quickly went from second to last place. Having the uniquely shaped terrain is aesthetically pleasing, but it is frustrating to lose because the ramp wasn’t a uniform shape.
Completing races and events will unlock new vehicles, drivers, stickers, and bricks for customization. These drop regularly enough that you feel like you are always making progress. Paradoxically, the amount of money you make for completing these tasks doesn’t seem to add up. Without spending any money, it took until nearly level 18 to have saved up $10,000. Most items available in the store cost between $4000 – $10,000. I’m hoping late in the end game or in completing other modes the player will be rewarded with mountains of cash, but at the current rate of income, I’m not too inclined to buy anything, despite the vast array of enticing options to purchase.
No Custom Minifigs?
One last curious omission from the game is the baffling lack of minifig customization. There are a whole slew of drivers to unlock or purchase, but in my time with LEGO 2K Drive I have not come across an option to change their preset appearances. I can’t help but wonder if this is yet another feature I missed as a player, as it also took until my third custom vehicle to figure out how to give it a name.
LEGO 2K Drive is an incredibly solid and addictive arcade racer. The varied and unique open worlds are full of classic LEGO charm with plenty to see and do. Even if you just want to go for a chill drive in the desert, there are a plethora of collectibles to find and goodies to unlock. Sanctioned races offer a brilliant and chaotic challenge that keeps you invested to the last moment with competent AI and a real sense of skill progression. The lack of custom Minifigs is a curious oversight, and the biggest issues I found in my many hours of playing come from uneven topography in crucial areas such as jumps, and a rather lacking tutorial for vehicle customization.
Despite these easily fixable flaws, I haven’t had this much fun in an arcade racer in a long time. It’s a beautiful and smooth experience with clever level design, cheeky humor, and the ability to make some truly spectacular vehicles. With split-screen and online multiplayer, LEGO 2K Drive is a great choice for some late-night gaming shenanigans.
**PS5 Code provided by the publisher**
- Excellent Controls
- Brilliant Vehicle Customization
- Intelligent AI Racers
- Fun Exploration and Events
- Thin Vehicle Creation Tutorial
- No Custom Minifigs
- Terrain Can Hinder You