2K have always had a soft spot for a simulator. Whether it be their terrific NBA 2K titles or their fluctuating in quality WWE games, and whilst LEGO 2K Drive is perhaps their most ‘video game’ video game they’ve made for a while, their use of the licence is perhaps the superstar here, much like it is in the TT LEGO games. Unfortunately, much of 2K’s more maligned practices have made their way into this family focused game, tainting its appeal somewhat.
Still, if you can look past the egregious practices of microtransactions and ignore them completely, what’s here is an absolutely barnstorming adventure that’s perfect for the little and big kids in your life.
The LEGO aspect of it all immediately brings back memories of LEGO City Undercover, perhaps one of the more underrated games in the LEGO lexicon. The bright and breezy nature of LEGO games is front and centre here, and whilst it offers a lesser challenge than the TT games, 2K Drive remains fun from the outset and rarely lets up.
It’s exciting then that we can still find new avenues in the LEGO worlds to play in, and the world of Bricklandia is one for ripe exploration. You play as a racer new to the town (who you can customise to within an inch of their little LEGO life) here to compete in the local championships and become the greatest racer of them all by competing in the Sky Cup Grand Prix – the most prestigious race of all. Bricklandia is full of races to partake in and trials to do, so you’ve got plenty of time to hone your skills before you make it to the almighty race track in the sky. Throughout the campaign it’s fun and light, exactly what you’d expect from the LEGO video game experience. It’s rare the grin will disappear from your face the more you explore the city and meet the inhabitants.
Oddly, you’ll feel right at home if you’ve played The Crew 2, as you tear it around the various sandboxes your vehicle will automatically switch to keep you in the race, from a speedboat to a McLaren to an off-roader, your speed won’t let up regardless of where end up as you tear it across the land and sea. You can explore anywhere and everywhere, which really gives 2K Drive a far more open feel that I was expecting. The joy of course is that everything is made out of LEGO so if you crash into something it just breaks apart and gives your vehicle some health and a boost, which is nice. Smash into as many things as you can is the message here, then.
Once your on the track though and you’re ready to race, 2K Drive almost turns into a kart racer, which boosts and power ups which include the likes of rockets, teleports and more which you can use on your opponents all over the tracks. This of course adds to the chaos of it all and whilst you’re incredibly protective of your own vehicle which you’ve spend the last several hours customising (if you’re anything like me, more on that in a bit), it’s rare you won’t get at least a scratch as the races progress. All part of living in Bricklandia, unfortunately…
Fortunately you’re able to change your vehicle whenever you like with ones you’ve unlocked and all handle somewhat differently. Adding effects on top of the vehicle naturally boosts its stats so by the time you reach the Sky Grand Prix you should have a mighty arsenal of vehicles to choose from as you lay your claim as the greatest LEGO driver of all time.
Exploration is a big part of 2K Drive and one they certainly haven’t skimped on. You’ll get rewarded for tearing it across each of the maps and discovering as much as you can about each map including quick-time events, challenges and quests. It’s a delight to find new races and challenges, and certain mandatory quests to familiarise yourself with the new maps are quick and breezy.
And you’re going to want to travel around in style so thankfully the custom build mode is the game’s shining moment.
As you’d probably expect from a LEGO game, it’s all about making it your own and 2K Drive is no exception. Make your way to the Garage and you can let your imagination go wild with whatever vehicle your mind can muster to create. Each brick can be individually customised with colours and effects and you can even customise the vehicles you’ve unlocked so there’s never something not to build or create, along with building the vehicles you’ve unlocked yourself with classic LEGO instructions. It’s an absolutely fantastic addition which can be enjoyed by players of any age. It’s very hard to put it down once you’ve picked it up.
Of course if you want to get ahead with unlocking vehicles then you can always use your Brickbux, the games internal currency, used to buy cars, drivers and more. You’ll find the earning of Brickbux is initially fairly slow and well, that’s sadly intentional. As cars begin at 10,000 Brickbux with characters at 6,000, earning 5 Brickbux for victories is one hell of a cheat, and if you carry on like that you’ll be playing for a fair while. So why is this? Well, microtransactions, of course.
So you can buy amounts in shiny coins, 500 of them cost £4.49 which’ll grab you 10,000 Brickbux, which will get you one car. Now then, this is deeply troubling and far too easy for young players to take full advantage of without actually playing the game and earning these vehicles in the classic way. For a game that already costs £70 (with a £105(!) edition available), these practices yet again rear their ugly head and 2K seemingly don’t seem to care at all once again.
It’s a real shame that LEGO 2K Drive has arrived with microtransactions and season passes (though the latter is included if you really want to spend over a hundred quid on a LEGO game), and has certainly tainted the overall experience, a negative overshadowing an otherwise terrific video game.
LEGO 2K Drive is a terrific addition to the LEGO video game universe, with a bright and breezy atmosphere, super fun races and a fantastic creator mode with classic LEGO jokes aplenty for all ages, sadly tainted by egregious and forced microtransactions which are all too easy to consider thanks to the slow progress of earning in-game currency. For a game at full AAA price of £70, it’s difficult to justify why they were included at all and ultimately brings down the entire experience.
LEGO 2K Drive is available now on PC, Xbox One and Series S|X, PS4, PS5 (review platform) and Nintendo Switch.
Developer: Visual Concepts
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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