Lego 2K Drive: The Kotaku Evaluate

Lego 2K Drive: The Kotaku Evaluate

I used to be on board with Lego 2K Drive the second I discovered we had been getting an open-world Lego racing recreation, full with the power to construct your personal autos. And having performed practically 12 hours to this point, I’m nonetheless having plenty of enjoyable with the sport. Nevertheless it’s inconceivable to disregard a nagging feeling that it actually desires me to spend cash in its in-game retailer.

Introduced in March, Lego 2K Drive is the primary recreation to return from a deal struck between 2K and Lego back in 2022. The 2 firms apparently determined to attach their names collectively and add “drive” to the top to create what may be probably the most boring online game title of 2023. Fortunately, the online game itself is far, far more enjoyable than its drab title, which sounds much less like a wacky open-world racer stuffed with cool power-ups and extra like a nasty sports activities recreation that includes a sport I’ve by no means heard of however which is nonetheless fashionable.

Bland title, however enjoyable Lego racing

Get previous the tasteless title and Lego 2K Drive comes proper out of the gate firing on all cylinders with an thrilling CG cutscene and a reasonably brief however enjoyable tutorial. It makes first impression. And the second the sport gave me full management, I used to be in awe of what I noticed. Lego 2K Drive is about in a brick-built world stuffed with facet missions, mini-games, collectibles, and so, so many Lego autos. It’s very colourful and beautiful. And large! The open world of 2K Drive is cut up into just a few completely different biomes, every with its personal theme, characters, missions, and autos. Taking part in this recreation is like attending to play within the basement of the wealthy child you knew in elementary faculty who had each Lego set. Fortunate bastard. However now I, Zack, have all of the bricks and funky units to play with!

The fundamental setup behind the principle story mode is that an evil racer hates you—for causes the sport jokingly doesn’t elaborate on—and you must win the large trophy to show your self the higher driver. To get an opportunity at that large win you’ll should earn a bunch of flags by beating rivals, leveling as much as unlock new races, rank up, and finally achieve entry to the large last match. There’s not a lot to the precise story, however the writing is just like the latest Lego motion pictures, often making me smile and barely annoying. And I believe children will benefit from the zanier moments.

A screenshot shows a robot cowboy driving a race car in a Lego city.

Screenshot: 2K Video games / Lego / Kotaku

However to win the large trophy and show your self to your evil rival, you’ll must do greater than race Lego-built vehicles round numerous tracks, as piloting boats and mastering off-road autos are in your agenda, too. And just like the vehicles, all of those are brick-built. Nonetheless, you don’t actively select between every kind of auto. As a substitute, as you race round, the sport auto-swaps between both your automobile, boat, or off-road experience of alternative. This streamlines what might have been an annoying a part of 2K Drive, and in addition means which you can discover your complete Lego-filled world of Bricklandia as you please.

Driving actual quick and attain a river? Maintain driving and also you’ll simply flip into a ship! Take a pointy flip off a paved street and onto some dunes? Don’t fear, the sport will swap your automobile out for a jeep with out lacking a beat. It takes the open-world driving of Forza Horizon and makes it much more arcadey and thrilling as you possibly can actually go wherever at any time.

All of the bricks and funky stuff on the earth can’t save a racing recreation with dangerous driving physics or poor controls, and fortuitously, Lego 2K Drive avoids these pitfalls and is a blast to play. As soon as I mastered the drifting and leaping controls, I used to be masterfully swooping, swinging, and gliding world wide like a Lego professional. And on Xbox Collection X efficiency was easy as butter, making it straightforward to get pleasure from all of the high-speed motion.

Lego 2K Drive’s disappointing microtransactions

The second bricks begin to fall off this creation is once you begin to dig across the menus, the place you’ll encounter a retailer full with a season move. Whereas the sport does characteristic a tremendous, in-depth, and easy-to-use car builder—letting you make practically something you possibly can think about—it additionally options some disappointing microtransactions.

Technically, you possibly can simply drive round, have some enjoyable, unlock some vehicles, construct your personal creations, and by no means actually work together with the in-game retailer. However, if you happen to don’t wish to (or can’t) construct one thing like an ambulance or an enormous hamburger automobile, the shop affords official Lego builds which you can purchase and use in-game. Nonetheless, all of those vehicles value $10,000 Lego Bux. And after enjoying for 12 hours I’ve solely reached round $8,000.

That is the half the place 2K Video games would, whereas twirling its mustache, probably say: Don’t fear, you should buy some Bux if you wish to. That is true, certain, however it’s so misplaced on this in any other case colourful romp of creativity and wackiness.

And the best way the financial system is balanced, it actually feels such as you’ll must fork over some money if you wish to purchase multiple of those pre-made vehicles with out grinding for hours. It’s additionally unhappy that the in-game retailer accommodates Lego half packs on the market. These are cheaper than the vehicles (fortunately) and the builder in-game does include plenty of elements obtainable totally free (and also you earn extra by finishing missions), however the truth that some bricks and bits are locked behind a paywall—even one which you can bypass through grinding—is irritating.

A screenshot shows a player building a car in Lego 2K Drive.

Screenshot: 2K Video games / Lego / Kotaku

The opposite large a part of Lego 2K Drive is multiplayer, which I’ve solely barely poked as there weren’t many different gamers on-line whereas I performed the sport earlier than launch. The web races play equally to the single-player races, however with the added wrinkle that your opponents might need spent hours determining how you can construct the best, excellent race automobile. Or an enormous dick. Or possibly they simply spent some actual money and acquired a automobile utilizing Bux. Till the sport is out within the wild, it will likely be exhausting to say how multiplayer will shake out, however I’ve some considerations.

It’s actually a disgrace that such a stunning and enjoyable open-world sandbox is tied to stuff like a season move, premium currencies, and costly in-game purchases. Maybe 2K will tweak some levers to make it simpler to earn and unlock new vehicles—which might be good—however till then the specter of greed will all the time be there, nagging at me as I construct, smash, and race.

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