Despite cars being one of the most popular types of LEGO to build and collect, there hasn’t been a proper LEGO racing game in around 20 years. The closest we’ve ever came is the LEGO Speed Champions DLC for Forza Horizon 4, but now’s the time for LEGO to take centre stage with LEGO 2K Drive, and the results are well worth checking out, even if it could do with a couple of improvements here and there.
As you’d expect from a LEGO game, LEGO 2K Drive is perfectly suited for gamers of all ages and skill levels, with easy to understand mechanics that emphasise fun above all else. If following perfect racing lines sound boring, LEGO 2K Drive’s snappy physics and drift-centric racing should be right up your alley, with the ability to create your own vehicles too being the icing on the cake.
LEGO 2K Drive’s main gimmick is that players aren’t controlling one vehicle at a time. Instead, they’re in control of a vehicle loadout that automatically switches the vehicle you’re controlling depending on the terrain you’re racing on, meaning you’ll have separate vehicles for road racing, off-road racing and aquatic racing.
It’s a system that has its advantages, as being able to automatically swap your vehicle means transitioning from one vehicle to another depending on the terrain is seamless. It does become a bit silly if you’re trying to race on a road but keep accidentally hitting touching the dirt, forcing your car to constantly transform, but on the whole, it’s a pretty cool system. Its simplicity might not be up to the same standards as The Crew 2, which allowed players to transform into multiple vehicle types at any time, but it is a LEGO game after all. Less complexity is better.
The actual racing itself is solid, with a decent range of power-ups that allows players to turn the tide of a race, though there’s very little on offer here that hasn’t been done before. Drifting around corners allows players to earn boost, which is about as common as it gets in arcade racers, but LEGO 2K Drive does play into its franchise roots by incentivising players smashing as much possible while racing. Not only does it offer more boost power, it even heals your vehicle, which is a nice little twist.
The main attraction here though is the ability to build your own vehicles, which is the ideal chance for players to truly let their creativity shine. There are tutorials and step-by-step guides which can be a great starting point for anyone struggling to build from scratch, but some might be put off by how fiddly creating a LEGO vehicle is, at least with a controller anyway. Trying to be precise with either a control stick or d-pad can be quite frustrating.
As for modes, there’s your typical selection of cups, online modes and a few minigames. Meanwhile, the story mode sees you joining up with veteran LEGO racer Chuck Racington as you try to qualify for the Sky Cup, attempting to knock the villainous Shadow Z off his pedestal in the process. This being a LEGO game, there’s plenty of silly humour to be found in the cutscenes and writing that’ll manage to raise a chuckle out of even the most jaded of players. Then again, if you’re anything like me, you’ll shed a small tear because Chuck is voiced by Dave Fennoy, doing his Rumbleverse announcer voice. I still miss you, Skip Leggerday.
In order to reach the Sky Cup, you need to obtain flags from winning races across the three major biomes: Big Butte County, Prospecto Valley and Hauntsville. Given how Big Butte County is a desert themed biome while Prospecto Valley has some Wild West/Frontier themes, the first two areas feel somewhat interchangeable, while Hauntsville at least has some of its own unique flavour. Still, it can make two thirds of the game feel a bit samey at times, which is a shame as there’s a wealth of inspiration a LEGO-themed racing game could take.
Unfortunately, 2K are probably saving that inspiration for the game’s upcoming DLC, which leads nicely into LEGO 2K Drive’s in-game shop, which offers vehicles that can be purchased for Brickbucks. The issue here is that some of the cars cost upwards of 10,000 Brickbucks, while some races only yield around 200-300 bucks a pop. There’s even cash pick-ups you can find while exploring that only offer 5 bucks, which makes the in-game economy feel absolutely stingy. There’s a DrivePass coming, one for each season, but that could make this issue worse if it’s easier to earn bucks by paying rather than just playing.
The in-game economy isn’t the only area that could do with updates, as there needs to be more added to the in-game settings to allow players to customise their experience. One big option that’s missing is the opportunity for key rebinds on console, with players only able to select from one of four different controller layouts. With boost on the A button, but jump on the Y button, it can be quite awkward going from one to the other mid-race, so being able to switch them to bumpers would be ideal.
Still, these are issues that could be addressed in future updates. With some choice improvements and the introduction of some new content, LEGO 2K Drive could be a real winner for those looking to entertain the little ones, or just fancy a bit of a break from Forza Horizon 5.
A digital copy of LEGO 2K Drive: Awesome Rivals Edition was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.
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A solid first lap for a racer that might need a bit more time to hit top speed, LEGO 2K Drive is still worth playing whether you’re young, old or somewhere in between.
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