The LEGO Movie Videogame Review

Title: The LEGO Movie Videogame
Developer: Warner Bros Interactive / TT Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.5 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail

When you think about the LEGO games, you can think of a lot of different things.  However, when you think about the LEGO games on handhelds, things are a bit differently.  The games TT Games have been making have been a lot of fun, but they are very different when played on handhelds than on consoles.  This has been a present fact since last generation with the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS.  They got similar, but different versions of the same games the big consoles got.

With this generation, the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita have gone through a big of a phase with LEGO games.  If we look early on, we see LEGO Lord of the Rings.  It played just like the console version.  The Open World was there.  The gameplay and characters were there.  The problem?  They didn’t finish the game.  It was all-out missing levels that were in the console release.  There was no level with Arwen on horseback.  There were cutscenes missing.  The game was an unfinished project that got released, anyways.

Lego Marvel Superheroes is the big one that changed everything.  Instead of trying to imitate the console version of the game, TT games completely made the game different.  They gave it an overhead setting, broke the levels into stages, characters lost the ability to jump, you couldn’t switch characters in Story Mode, and a host of other changes happened.  This was a very mixed reaction.  Surely, the portable systems can handle those full games, right?  Nonetheless, that game was fun, despite being so different.

Recently, the LEGO Movie has come out in theaters.  As such, TT Games made a LEGO game based on the movie, called The LEGO Movie Videogame.  It released on everything, including the PlayStation Vita.  Now, how does the game stack up?  Is it more like the console game or another case like LEGO Marvel Superheroes?  We are here to inform you.  Here is our official review of The LEGO Movie Videogame for the PlayStation Vita.

Story

The LEGO Movie has a story of its own making.  Unlike previous LEGO games that are based on existing IPs like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or DC Comics, the Movie makes a world all its own.  We are introduced to an entire set of worlds inhabited by LEGO people.  Within these connected worlds live normal LEGO residents as well as the Master Builders, whom have the ability to create new things, as well as the ability to craft new things out of older things.  The ability to change things and make something completely new, and President Business that watches over all the worlds.

One day, President Business find Chaos in the Master Builders’ abilities to change everything, and so he sets out to put a stop to it, to keep things the way they are, the way he wants them to be.  Donning the title of Lord Business, he severs the connections between the worlds and hires head of the Police, Bad Cop, to hunt down all of the Master Builders and to keep them from building.  He steals a secret weapon called The Kragle in order to carry out his plans.  The only thing in existence that could stop him is a Lego piece called the Piece of Resistance.

On a construction site that he works on, a Lego man named Emmet encounters a mysterious woman called Wyldstyle, a Master Builder, and he ends up not only finding the Piece of Resistance, but also having is fused to his back.  Together, and with Wyldstyle convinced he is the “Special”, destined to protect the worlds from Lord Business from a prophecy, they journey to stop Lord Business all while unraveling the fact that Emmet is very ordinary person with extraordinary potential.

The story Is somewhat predictable and falls under the “Normal Person has a Fate Encounter and Becomes a Hero” deal, but it does it in a very laughable way.  The game’s story is full of humor, and scenes are taken straight from the movie.  Alongside the original characters, there are a host of characters you are already familiar with.  You will see many cameros by the likes of Batman, Gandalf the Grey, Superman, and more.  It’s got a host of characters all based on real LEGO sets.

Gameplay

I will get this out of the way at the very start of this section.  If you are going in and expecting the PlayStation Vita version of this game to play like the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game, you’re going to be disappointed.  Do not go into this game, expecting the home console experience.  Instead, go in and expect a fun, although different experience on the handheld version of the game.  After all, it is $20-30 cheaper than the PS3 and PS4 versions of the game.

Like LEGO Marvel before it, this game plays through stages and allows only one character on the screen at a time.  You will be running through stages towards goals from a top-down-like perspective for most of the stages.  You will have control of one character while destroying LEGO objects, creating things, and fighting off your adversaries.  However, those thinking that this will be exactly the same as LEGO Marvel are mistaken.  The LEGO Movie Videogame has made several notable improvements on this formula.

The first, and one of the biggest improvements is the character wheel.  Unlike LEGO Marvel, you have a lot of different characters to choose from while you’re playing Story Mode.  At first, it will be just Emmet and Wyldstyle, but as you progress, more characters will join you.  When you are playing through the game, you can actively select the Character wheel to switch to another character, much like you can switch characters in previous LEGO titles.

Movement will still be restricted, though.  Characters still cannot jump.  Instead, the jump is a dodge move, and they also still have Super Moves like the previous game, where your gauge will charge over a course of time and you can enable it to activate a powerful attack that will strike all enemies and objects around you.  Each character’s supermove is different and has different effects.  You would need different situations to initiate, say, Batman’s Super Move than Emmet’s Super Move.

Another addition they’ve made are LEGO plans and large-scale building.  You will encounter many stages in the game where you will need to destroy objects or help NPCs in order to receive LEGO plans, which are blueprints for large LEGO objects.  Once you have the goal number of plans, you can create this LEGO set.  This will take you to a screen where you will use the touchscreen to slide the correct part over to the creation in a few stages as you create large objects, from cranes to totem poles.

Completing stages is still tricky.  There are no checkpoints, so if you are killed in a stage, it’s Game Over.  You have to restart the stage from the beginning.  For the most part, the stages are pretty short, so this shouldn’t be a huge problem, but it is a pain having to re-do several minutes of work because the game doesn’t have a Checkpoint System in place.

Another large addition are the Falling and Vehicle stages.  If you thought the whole game was going to be the top-down gameplay, you thought wrong.  There are several levels in the game, nearly one in each level set, where you are not doing this and you have a fully 3D, console-experience perspective in what could be considered on-rails stages.  These stages run in two varieties.  First is the Falling type.  This has you constantly falling through a tunnel-like area where you need to navigate to avoid obstacles while collecting objects and going through set pathways to get to the goals.

The other type of these levels is the Vehicle type.  These stages have you manning some sort of vehicle, whether it be a spaceship or the Batmobile.  While you’re going through these stages, your goals are to attack or dodge obstacles, all while collecting items and making your way to the end in one piece.  The inclusion of these level types hints that they are trying harder to bring more of the console-like experiences to these versions of the LEGO games.

There are a lot of improvements that have made the game’s formula a lot better, but there still is a downside.  Despite all of these improvements, the game comes up short in scenes.  I have seen many scenes from the console version of the game that were cut from the handheld version.  We’re not looking at both levels and scenes, but there are scenes that are missing, sometimes very crucial to the story.

Controls

The Control Scheme is pretty simple, though since the PlayStation Vita has a touch screen on it, the control scheme can be controlled in two different ways.  There are controls for virtually everything, normally shown on the screen or a simple slide or tap for what you want to do with the touch screen, or you can control your character(s) with the physical buttons on the system.  The buttons I find to be more responsive, and they don’t smudge your screen up with fingerprints.  The only control that requires the touch screen is making large LEGO objects with the LEGO plans.

Moving your character is done with the D-Pad or Left Analog Stick.  You can also switch your characters by pressing the L and R buttons to cycle through all currently available characters, with more being unlockable and buyable in the game shop.  As far as actions go, you will use the Face Buttons for those.  The Square buttons uses your primary physical attacks, like punching and kicking.  The Triangle Button lets you use a sidearm, if you have one.  This will let characters like Batman and others use weapons such as the Batarang or a laser gun.

The Circle Button is used to build LEGO creations that you find across the stages to help you progress.  Finally, the X button will control your Dodge maneuver that has replaced the Jump command from most previous LEGO games.  The control scheme isn’t hard to learn.  It seems like a lot to be writing down, but it’s quite easy to get used to.

Presentation

Despite being different, the game does look very polished and well-done.  The environments and character models look very fluid and are without jagged edges.  Perhaps that is a part of why TT Games is doing the games like this.  They can easily make the character models look nearly flawless with this style of gameplay.  Tied with the smooth effects are the theme song from the movie, “Everything is Awesome”, which is very catchy and will easily get stuck in your head.

Otherwise, the game plays very well and smooth.  While you will wait a good 15-20 seconds to load a stage, there isn’t anything game-breaking.  The game runs and never lags that I was able to see.  Other than the way the game was made, it runs and plays wonderfully.

Overall

All in all, The LEGO Movie Videogame takes what TT Games started with LEGO Marvel Superheroes: Universe in Peril and makes it a lot better.  It’s still very different from the console release, and there is still much to be improved on, but the game is far beyond what was there in the previous LEGO game.  If you’re looking for the console version, go to the home consoles.  If you want an entertaining LEGO game on the go, nab this when it goes on sale.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates The LEGO Movie Videogame a 7/10.

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