Lego 2K Drive is an exciting arcade racing game that uses the familiar Lego theme to create a fun, engaging, open-world racing experience. The game boasts a wide range of vehicles, tracks, and challenges spread across four massive themed maps that will keep you hooked for hours. Developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Games, Lego 2K Drive takes the arcade trappings found in games like Mario Kart such as power sliding, boosts, and attack powerups, and combines them with the open-world racing experience that Forza Horizon perfected. Combining two of the most popular racing games sounds like a winning formula, read on to find out if it earns a podium finish or if it makes an early exit.
One of the biggest strengths of Lego 2K Drive is the simple yet stunning graphics. The attention to detail when it comes to the vehicles and game world perfectly captures the Lego IP. The environment is a combination of Lego bricks and real-world objects, and of course, the Legos are to scale. The first time I realized this was when I noticed a large tire embedded in a hill. There are four maps, but the first is just a small intro area where you can get accustomed to the mechanics. The first of the three larger areas, Big Butte is a desert/American West-themed area. Prospecto Valley, the second area is a combination of rollings hills and mountains and winding rivers, the theme here is gold prospecting, which admittedly is a little odd, but I definitely can’t complain about the map’s layout as the terrain is perfect for cruising around in any of your three vehicle types. Hauntsborough, the third area you unlock, is my favorite. It is a horror-themed area; obviously, the fear factor is pretty low, being a Lego game, but this area had the most interesting terrain and obstacles, such as graveyards, creepy castles, and an eerie swamp.
I very much enjoyed riding through each of these three areas, and having three different vehicle types (Street, Off-Road, Boat) adds an immense feeling of variety. The vehicles switch automatically when you drive onto a specific type of terrain. The three main areas are extensive but they are not connected in a traditional sense. Each one is its own map; however, you can fast travel to any of the gas stations spread across the maps, and this can be done any time you are not in an event.
I think they missed a golden opportunity to include all the other non-licensed franchises in the Lego universe. I was obsessed with Legos as a kid and I think they dropped the ball (… or brick), by not incorporating some of the most beloved themes, such as medieval, or pirates. There is DLC in the pipeline so hopefully they fix this egregious error.
Another great feature of Lego 2K Drive is the wide range of game modes. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick race or want to tackle a more challenging event, the game has you covered. There are single races and grand prix that can be entered directly from the main menu in solo, or multiplayer (online or local). While in the campaign you have just as many, if not more options. There are roughly twenty-five races to choose from in the campaign; however, they are not all available from the start. As you progress you will slowly unlock new races. But there are plenty of options available right from the beginning if you are willing to explore. You’ll quickly notice large square chequered flag gates placed around the environment. These are On The Go events. When you drive through one of these square gates the event starts and you must complete it as quickly as you can to earn one of three medals (bronze, silver, or gold). These range from short races to objectives like pushing golf balls into a hole, overall they have a wide range of variety and add a ton to the game experience. The are also a few quests scattered throughout each environment, these are slightly longer, untimed events that usually reward you with something favorable, such as a new car, driver, or perk.
There are world events that are meant to be played while in co-op and typically have you driving to one checkpoint after the other and whoever gets to the final one first wins. The campaign can be played in split-screen co-op, which works surprisingly well. Finally, there are mini-game events, which involve lots of smashing. In one you have to protect three generators from advancing robots and UFOs, in another, you have to rescue scared citizens from a large pack of skeletons. As you see there are plenty of things to keep you busy, personally, I had just as much fun zipping around the areas on my own looking for collectibles (there are A LOT). Once you advance to A class the vehicles are very quick, and you gain a supercharged boost ability. One thing that I think is missing in terms of the events, is a race in each of the areas that takes you across a large portion of the map. I’ve always enjoyed those races in the Horizon series and I think it could have been replicated here with excellent results.
The controls are intuitive and easy to use in Lego 2K Drive, which makes it accessible to players of all skill levels. However, the difficulty curve is sharp when it comes to the campaign races. The AI racers have a serious case of rubber-banding. In other kart-style racing games like Mario Kart, I felt like I could rely on my skill to win races, but success in Lego 2K Drive seems like it has more to do with RNG. The racing experience in multiplayer feels much better as everyone is on a more level playing field with no cheating AI racers. However, as different cars have different stats, I noticed that in a few of my races, the person in first place would win by ten or more seconds because they were using an OP car and perk combo, (or maybe they were cheating too).
Build mode is impressive but the controls are confusing/difficult to learn. You can customize any of the vehicles you’ve unlocked, but many of the customizations need to be unlocked themselves. Overall there is a high level of grind in Lego 2K Drive, which is unfortunate because the gameplay is solid and I don’t think it needs to resort to such tactics to keep players engaged. Build mode also gives you the freedom to create your own vehicles from scratch, which sounds like it would be really neat if you were into that. The aspect of Build mode that drew my attention was the option to take apart and rebuild any of the vehicles in the game. I thought this was neat because if you had the spare pieces at home you could follow along and recreate them in real life.
With its vibrant visuals, addictive gameplay, and familiar Lego theme, Lego 2K Drive is a must-play for Lego enthusiasts and racing aficionados. There are a few missteps and they might have borrowed heavily from other arcade racers, but overall, I highly recommend this game for anyone looking for a fun and engaging open-world racing experience.Become a Patron!
This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.