LEGO 2K Drive is almost there. This colorful arcade racing game makes great use of its license, and has laid a great foundation of fun and chaotic driving. However, as much as the LEGO brand brings to a game like this, publisher 2K Games has clearly seen dollar signs on the monetization potential. The end result is a very entertaining racer that is somewhat stifled by the microtransactions push.
Before we veer down that rabbit hole, let’s talk about the positives first, because there are a lot of them. To reiterate, LEGO 2K Drive is an arcade racing game that makes the most of its eponymous brand to offer fun time without wheels. Its story mode is where you’ll spend most of your time, although you can also play cup series or single-player races, and of course take the action online. In other words, there’s quite a bit of stuff to do, and that’s before we get into the awesome builders in the garage.
So, story mode, then. You are represented as a rookie driver, tasked with competing in the Bricklandia racing championships, which culminate in the Sky Cup Grand Prix – the winner of which will be crowned the best racer of all time. You’ll quickly meet friends and foes along the way, and their characterization is as silly and light-hearted as you’d expect. Like all LEGO games, there is a sense of humor here that has great appeal for players of all ages.
While the main beats in Story mode are the races themselves, there’s a lot to enjoy outside of those circuits. Four sandbox maps give you room to roam around as much as you want, and they’re delightfully limitless. Possibly inspired by The Crew 2, your car will automatically switch between street car, off-road, and boat as you pass through different types of terrain, meaning you can basically go anywhere. The open world is also full of objects, traffic, and pedestrians, all of which can be driven around without penalty. In fact, there are many benefits to smashing through these LEGO props: you get a boost, your car gets some health back, and it just feels incredibly fulfilling.
Each map has its own set of collectibles to encourage exploration, as well as on-the-fly quick events, missions and other challenges to keep you occupied. Some of them are mandatory, and while they aren’t as much fun as just the races, they’re all harmless. There’s just enough of this side content to warrant sandbox maps, and again, it’s fun to fly around effortlessly. Whether you’re cruising around the open world or competing in races, the driving itself is easy to understand and a lot of fun; Big, meaty drifts charge up your boost gauge, while fast drifts and a generous jump let you get decent maneuverability.
When you get out on a track, the racing feels more like a kart racer. This is largely due to the array of power-ups and weapons you’ll use Mario Kart-style to clear your way to first place. Some are pretty standard, like guided missiles and bombs that roll forward, while others are more innovative. Ghost power is an evasive tool that can quickly be transformed into an offensive tool, while teleporting feels like a throwback to LEGO Racers on PS1.
You can swap out your collection of vehicles for others you’ve unlocked, and they all have unique bonuses and weights that affect how you handle them. Moreover, the perk system allows you to apply various negative effects. Nothing is too complicated, and I honestly don’t feel all that is necessary in a game like this, but we’re sure some will appreciate the slight extra depth.
If you don’t fancy any of the pre-built vehicles, you can craft your own with a very powerful building mode. In the garage, you can choose a pivot to build from, and after that, the sky’s the limit. There are hundreds of LEGO blocks and pieces to choose from, and you can place them wherever you want, one by one. You can change the colors of each piece and apply special effects, then equip and command it with whatever you want. If you like, you can also build those vehicles you’ve unlocked with step-by-step instructions, all again using real-life LEGO bricks. Controlling the camera in this mode can make the build process a little tricky, but it’s still a very impressive toolkit overall.
The only real downside is that you can’t currently share your creations online, which seems like a massive missed opportunity. This means that those less inclined to build new cars and boats will instead need to rely on unlocking or heading to Unkie’s Emporium, the in-game store where you can spend your hard-earned cash.
Rewarded for winning races, discovering new events, and overcoming challenges, Brickbux is the main currency in LEGO 2K Drive, and it’s used in Unkie’s Emporium to buy new vehicles, drivers, and even LEGO bricks for building mode. This sounds good at first, but the rate at which you earn Brickbux is rather slow – especially online, where the first place score gets you a whopping 5 Brickbux. A new building block usually costs 4,000 each, while characters are usually 6,000, and cars mostly 10,000. After playing for 15 hours or so, we’ve accumulated about 25,000 Brickbux.
Obviously, this slow delivery of the coin pushes you towards micro-transactions. You can buy large amounts of coins, which can then be transferred to Brickbux. 500 of them, which cost £4.49, convert into 10,000 Brickbux. So, about five times as much for an average in-game vehicle, if you don’t want to grind the story mode races. You Do Earn coins as part of the premium Drive Pass seasons, but obviously accessing them also costs real money. This all sounds very difficult, especially in a game that is mostly geared towards kids. If the balance was adjusted to allow you to earn more Brickbux through regular play, that would fix that problem to an extent, but now it’s a bit much.
Which is a shame, because as mentioned, the base game has a lot to offer. LEGO fans will love the build mode, while there is a lot to enjoy about the racing itself as well as the open world design, as simple as it is. If you can get past the microtransactional elements and just focus on the fun, you’ll have a blast – but the slow push of currency (and the fact that the game costs up to £60/$70 to start with) makes the game-within-a-store hard to ignore.
Whether you’re a fan of LEGO, arcade racing, or both, this game comes highly recommended from us, with the unfortunate caveat that it also features a very solid monetization. The tactile open worlds have just the right amount to discover, the story mode strikes the perfect tone, and the driving itself is a lot of fun. On top of all that, the awesome build mode lets you make your own crazy cars, although it’s a shame you can’t share them with your friends. Unfortunately, microtransactions are hard to ignore, and they pull off what is otherwise a creative and charismatic racer.
#Review #LEGO #Drive #PS5 #creative #personal #kart #racer #ages #annoying #microtransactions