The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita – Mostly Awesome

In The LEGO Movie VideogameEmmet and his friends keep feeding LEGOmania throughout quality adaptation of the popular hit movie across several consoles, handheld consoles and computers. Everything is awesome for LEGO fans and video game fans in The LEGO Movie Videogame. Gameplay is well varied and so are the different versions.

This entertaining game has great variety thanks to great material from the adapted movie. It’s a very funny comedy with most voice talent contributing their familiar persona in this game through cutscenes while other talent (e.g. Keith Ferguson, Josh Robert Thompson) take over for the main character voice work in the game. It’s an advantage to know the story about the prophesied “special” Emmet, a lowly construction worker who can use the “Piece of Resistance” to thwart the evil Lord Business’ use of the “Kragle”.

LEGO video games have been popular since the surprise 2005 hit Lego Star Wars and this quality, all-ages game is just as good plus it features original character just as memorable. Recent LEGO game vets (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) get some definite advantages from the familiar game play and actions. In previous LEGO games, characters would often grunt, hum and wince instead of talk. The LEGO Batman and LEGO City Undercover started the new talking trend and now since the very successful movie opened, players get extensive voice over dialogue amid gameplay and cutscenes.

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

The Hype

The fate of the LEGO® world lies in your hands! Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games announced that The LEGO Movie Videogame will be available in 2014 alongside the much-anticipated “The LEGO Movie,” from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, and a toy collection of “The LEGO Movie” building sets.

In a scenario drawn from the film, The LEGO Movie Videogame puts LEGO kids into the role of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. Players guide him as he is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

In The LEGO® Movie Videogame players will be able to collect and use LEGO instruction pages to build construction sets or harness the awesome power of the Master Builders to virtually build extraordinary LEGO creations along the way. With more than 90 characters inspired by the film and 15 exciting levels, kids can build and adventure like never before.

The Reality

Both versions follow the film closely, have infinite lives, and have a general “break stuff to get stuff” mantra, but there are some key differences. Even though the one-player PS Vita version has shorter levels it’s harder than the multi-player PS3 version, so young players might need help. The PS3 version allows co-op play so novices and experienced players can conquer the game together eliminating some possible frustration. The PS Vita version also does not have checkpoints and only one save slot so be careful not to erase any saved progress.

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

Players can expect formulaic fun with beat  ‘em up action, creative environment interactions and a few puzzles. Game developers continue to increase the interactivity options, which promotes a more free roaming style instead of linear play that limits player creativity. Other creative elements are missed because creation is often automated. Players build from different pieces, but only into the specific thing developers want players to build.

Developer TT Games continues parts of the approach as they had for the most recent LEGO game, LEGO Marvel Superheroes, where the handheld version is different from the console version instead of a shorter version (obviously ideal from a sales standpoint). Characters in the PS Vita version cannot jump, but still have special moves (e.g. Vitruvius can do secret knocks, Unikitty handles rainbow bricks, Emmet repairs broken pieces, etc.)

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

Players get several original characters (over 70) and a convenient character wheel to navigate through them and make choices. Players can always purchase and/or unlock characters. Each character has specific abilities, so players will have to switch often using the triangle button. Players can unlock several weapons, actions, vehicles and gadgets while collecting specific brick types and other items. Free play mode can be unlocked through the main missions mode and is the best way to learn each character’s abilities.

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

The touch screen is nice on the PS Vita. Developers still allow some flexibility here by making the only touch screen requirement for large piece building. Necessary pieces (usually three) are outlined in color, so players can easily select them then assemble these large objects. Characters automatically grab ledges, which keeps younger players out of trouble and less frustrated, which can slow down movements at times.

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

Special actions include collected instruction sets where players select a series of correct pieces to finish a special build. Bonus studs are the reward for finishing the build before time runs out, so it’s not crucial. This sequence also represents one of two major glitch areas in the PS3 version. Occasionally players cannot select the correct piece to finish the sequence…even after multiple attempts.

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

The other PS3 glitch involves freezing gameplay at crucial points, which can make you feel as sick as Unikitty is above here. This pirate level requires players get to the top, but once there the movement freezes and players cannot progress. These inconvenient glitches would have been much worse without checkpoints (as on the PS Vita version).

The LEGO Movie Videogame Review on PlayStation 3/Vita

The vivid environments have great color, lighting, and contrast, which provide additional assistance throughout the gameplay, especially for younger players. These great visuals while equaling the fun gameplay and consistent humor. In the music department, developers utilize the catchy “Everything is Awesome” song well, especially in the performance assessment screens and statistics. Players hear a shorter or slower version when performance statistics are not high – a minor motivator for improvement.

The LEGO Movie Videogame is a fun, action-filled platformer where everything is mostly awesome. This game has a high replay level and constant action plus great teamwork and friendship themes.

An important note – game completion time on both versions includes all the unlockables, bonus items, and characters. This setup is a great way to spur players to unlock everything, but not accurate when initially trying to conquer the game without unlocking everything (when complete still shows about 30-some percent). A separate statistic count for unlockables/bonuses/characters would have been better.

Distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the fast paced LEGO Movie Videogame is also available on PC, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

MSRP: $49.99 (PS3 version) (Amazon, Best Buy and other stores) / $29.99 (PS Vita version) (Amazon, Best Buy and other stores)

What I Like: comprehensive variety, great humor, entertainment value, high replay value, fluid mechanics/gameplay, appealing and helpful color design, cutscenes, great reimaging of the movie, fun exploration, surprises, several unlockables, references, and collectibles

What Needs Improvement: need more creative thinking opportunities, noticeable glitches, a little too much busy work and collection, only one save slot (PS Vita only)

Source: The LEGO Movie Videogame Reviewer copy provided by publisher

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