In our LEGO 2K Drive review, we take a closer look at the overall dynamics of the game, from the tyre to the bodywork.
LEGO has been in the gaming industry for a very long time. Licensed LEGO games such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Batman, Marvel, especially those released by Traveller’s Tales, or TT Games for short, have been played by millions of players all over the world and continue to be played.
During the pandemic that changed our lives, LEGO also started to make very important changes. First, they changed the structure of LEGO sets, which they know best, a little more and started to make sets for adults. Because during the pandemic, they realised that adults were becoming addicted to LEGO very quickly after they started building LEGO with their children.
LEGO 2K Drive review / PS5
The part that interests us in this article is the changes on the video game side. As I said before, LEGO was previously known for the games produced by TT Games. But thanks to the inevitable rise of the digital side, the company has decided to make the gaming sector one of its main foci. To do this, it has actually taken two important steps. One is that it has now decided to extend the LEGO licence to other game companies, one of which we’ll talk about today in this article.
The other is to invest heavily in the digital gaming sector. In partnership with Sony, LEGO has invested $2 billion in Epic Games. We may see the fruits of this partnership in different ways in the future, but let’s return to today’s game, one of the results of the first.
LEGO 2K Drive is actually one of the most important games for 2K. Because we know 2K for making big games like BioShock, Borderlands, Mafia, NBA 2K. 2K studios is a company that makes few but concise games. Even though they are sometimes criticised, these games always have a certain quality line. So when the 2K name and the LEGO name came together, I was very curious about the partnership.
Although LEGO 2K Drive is a racing game, don’t think Forza or Gran Turismo. If I say it’s a game like Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing, 80 per cent of the gameplay will actually come to mind. For those who wonder what the game is like, yes, I actually told you 80 percent of the game with these two game names. Now let’s see what brings new things to this gameplay style in the remaining 20 percent.
First of all, let me talk about the structure of the game. The game has modes that you can play as a single person, a mode that you can actually turn into a co-op party game, and a part where you can spend fun minutes with people online. I won’t go into detail about the parts you play with your friends and online because there is nothing new to these features, but they are two fun modes that deliver more than what is expected of them. I will give information about the dynamics of the race in the single player section.
The single player mode has 4 modes consisting of scenario, fast race, trophy organisation and mini games. All but the scenario mode are actually designed for those looking for something fast and fun, because the scenario mode includes all of the things I just mentioned.
The scenario mode consists of 4 open world maps and has a story that progresses in a way that I honestly did not expect from a racing game. You start as a rookie driver and you travel around different maps, defeating the best drivers and taking their cars. While doing this, there are plenty of side characters and side stories for you to level up. Of course, when I say story, there are not such deep stories, there are tiny side missions.
For example, a farmer’s pigs run away, we collect the pigs with our vehicle. Or aliens are attacking the power plant, we protect the power plants by crushing the aliens with our vehicle. But doing these is compulsory in a sense. So you have a choice, but you have to do these missions to level up.
The main story mode of the game, as I said before, works slowly and pits you against master drivers across maps. But between each character race, you’re asked to level up and you’re told to wander around the map for a bit and complete the mission, then come back. So it’s basically impossible to skip these little side missions.
Let me also talk about the racing and gameplay dynamics of the game. There are parts of the races that I both like and dislike. First of all, let me say that there is not a racing system for those who want a heavy and settled race. Since the aim is to have fun, the races are chaotic. Maps are completely full of power-up boxes.
When you get these boxes, a random power comes to you and you try to block the racers around you by using it. These are different powers such as throwing a spider at them, throwing a rocket at the one in front of you, throwing a ball that burns on touch, or being completely invisible and dodging everything. Although all of them are fun and have different strategies, I can say that I found the variety a little weak.
I said the racing are chaos because the vehicle and gameplay are actually set to be very fast. There is also a boost system that will accelerate the vehicle for a period of time like a nitro, but I’m not talking about that. Like the Mario Kart era, the vehicles do not go at medium speed, they go pretty fast, so the whole race map seems a bit fait accompli. I’ve never had a race that lasted long enough for me to feel satisfied, especially when I consider that these races are the most enjoyable part of the game.
All of them end very quickly, one moment I realise that we have already finished 2-3 laps and we are on the last lap. Maybe my perception may be going there because I’ve been playing more serious racing games like Forza a lot lately, so I don’t want to mislead you directly.
You are at the main axis of the single player races in the scenario mode. So if you do everything perfectly and go fast, your rivals actually keep up with you. But if you slow down a bit, don’t use shortcuts and don’t make good use of power-ups, the other rivals also keep up with you and drive slowly in a sense. Of course, this does not mean that they are set to make you always first. You still have to try a little bit to be the first, but it is unlikely that they will give you a lap unless you are completely unheard.
Even if you get seriously stuck in one or two places, you can only catch the first place in a short time. Of course, this situation changes in online races or races with your friends, so don’t think it’s a bad feature looking at the single player part. Chaotic races with power-ups like this are most enjoyable when played with others. In that sense, it’s a great game for those who love LEGO and are looking for a party game.
The maps do not consist of flat tracks. There are generally 3 stages; asphalt roads, terrain and water. For these three different grounds, you actually have 3 vehicles and they change instantly. In other words, when you drive your racing car on the asphalt road, when you enter the gravel road or when you leave the road and enter the terrain, your vehicle suddenly turns into an ATV type vehicle.
Or when you get in the water, which you only need to do for a short period of time, the LEGO parts of the vehicle underneath you instantly transform into a boat. You actually use all three of these vehicles in all races. The map is open-world themed, so there’s plenty of all three requirements.
You can make your own LEGO design
Let’s come to the part of making these vehicles, which I can call the hallmark of the game. The game gives you two important options here; you can either buy and use ready-made vehicles or you can make your own vehicle. These vehicles are not only cosmetic; their features such as speed, weight, driving control and vehicle health vary. In the scenario mode, you can both buy vehicles from the opponents you defeat and, as I said, you can buy vehicles or build your own.
The purchase section includes vehicles from LEGO’s original themes. During my playthrough, there wasn’t a huge variety of vehicles because there is a season structure that is planned to last a total of 4 seasons. This means there will be plenty of LEGO vehicles in each season. In other words, the 2K team didn’t put all of their vehicles in the game at once.
The part where you build your own vehicle is both beautiful and challenging. The good part is that, in theory, with all the LEGO pieces and colours, you can design beautiful vehicles to suit you. At the beginning of this article, I mentioned LEGO’s investment in games. Last year’s 2 LEGO games also featured a LEGO building mode where you could design anything you wanted with all the bricks, and LEGO has built this into 2K Drive in the same way. As I said, we can theoretically build the vehicles we want.
Sometimes we have to buy decorative pieces from the Unkie’s Emporium store, but most of the basic pieces come open from the start. You can combine many basic LEGO bricks and Technic pieces to create some great designs. If you like the digital LEGO building experience, you’ll spend more time in this part of the game than the racing, let me tell you that up front. Your hand will get faster, especially once you get used to the dynamics of selecting and attaching pieces.
The game takes place in a hybrid world where LEGO and reality are designed together. This means that the roads, terrain, mountains and hills aren’t LEGO, but many of the items and trees are. You can smash through anything LEGO with your vehicle. I won’t comment too much on the quality of the graphics, as the style is different, but I can say that the graphics are very good for the game and the animations are smooth. The PlayStation 5 version I tested doesn’t have any graphics settings, but the game runs smoothly at 60fps.
In the end, LEGO 2K Drive can be categorised into two main categories. If you love games like Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing and are looking for a new version of them, LEGO 2K Drive will fulfil your needs. If you like fun racing games and are interested in digitally building LEGOs, this game will meet your needs. Despite the game’s shortcomings and the occasional boredom of the missions, the game offers a fun gameplay.
The game’s biggest drawback is the unbalanced monetary economy, which forces you to spend more and more real money. Considering that the game itself has a full price, the game asks you to spend some money. But of course, this situation will not be very foreign when we look at the producer company.
The producer Visual Concepts was criticised for constantly directing you to spend real money with the NBA 2K game it developed. Unfortunately, I can say that that part has been preserved a little bit here. Nevertheless, with fewer items and a little bit of your own creativity, you can play the game comfortably without spending extra money after purchasing the game.
You can buy the game on Steam for PC.