When 2K first announced its open world racer based on all things LEGO, we were a little confused by the name. Sure, LEGO 2K Drive sounds fine as a title, but given the history of 'LEGO Racers' as a toy line and a video game series, we thought it'd make more sense to pull from that well and return with a LEGO Racers sequel. As it turns out, 'LEGO 2K Drive' makes perfect sense because this new open world affair shines brightest when it pulls you off the podium and grants you the freedom of the open brick road.
Feeling very inspired by Forza Horizon's recent forays into Hot Wheels and LEGO Speed Champions, LEGO 2K Drive is a racing game that adopts the structure of Xbox's racing subseries but goes all-in on the family friendly LEGO angle. You'll be cruising around a set of four small open world locales racing, jumping and drifting about - and it's in this variety where LEGO 2K Drive excels. It may not contain the sheer breadth of content from a modern day Forza Horizon game, but it absolutely takes advantage of a similar philosophy in providing the player with plenty to do outside of racing. At one point we were rounding up blue pigs to be ushered into their pen, and it's absurd side missions like these where we had the most fun.
Of course, there is a racing-focused main campaign in LEGO 2K Drive that took us about 10 hours-or-so to blast through. The racing here is more Mario Kart than Forza, adding powerups, boost pads and high-octane shortcuts into the mix. We will say that the racing is perhaps a little chaotic — at times it just felt like we flew over the finish line with no real clue how we got there — but it's fun and it does the job. In typical LEGO fashion the races often add some colourful 'Rival' racers to beat that then feed into the campaign's 'story', and while nothing special, they did add a little spice when they cropped up.
Overall, that story campaign is very family focused and if you're not up to speed with LEGO games in general it may feel a little jarring at first. Expect to see plenty of tutorials in the opening hours, and it does feel like you're being told what to do perhaps a bit too much. We find this hard to knock given the target audience though, and once the main campaign gets going and you've played most event types the overbearing nature of things does take a backseat. This family friendly style carries over to the characters as well - get ready for plenty of slapstick humour and silly comments throughout your LEGO 2K Drive adventure.
As you'd probably expect for LEGO, the game does feature a building element. Once you have a few events under your belt and begin unlocking various bits and pieces, you'll be introduced to the 'Body Shop' where you can start building and customising your own ride. We must admit we didn't dabble with this too much — we typically moved through the vehicles that you unlock as the campaign progresses — but the feature is definitely prominent for the more creative-focused players out there. You can take a base vehicle and build on it brick-by-brick, adding colour options and modifiers as you go.
The vehicle options are pretty wild in 2K Drive generally, and we definitely appreciated the variety on offer even outside of this Body Shop building feature. You'll see everything from actual licensed McLaren cars to monster trucks, creepy spider rides and everything in-between during your campaign playthrough. Vehicles are split into Road cars, Off Road rides and Boats, and they change on the fly as you drive and race around. If you've ever played The Crew 2 there's a very similar feature here - where the game dynamically switches vehicle type depending on the terrain you're driving on.
The four open world maps all feature a similar mix of terrain types so if you're cruising around and hopping into activities as you run into them you'll be doing plenty of driving in all vehicle types. It's a good job they all feel pretty nice to drive in, then - the action in LEGO 2K Drive is what we'd describe as 'immediate' and the game doesn't shy away from going fast pretty much as soon as you get out onto the open road. Again, this can feel a bit mad at times within the restricted race routes, but out in the open world it's very good fun.
It is a bit of a shame though that really, all four worlds are very similar. The aesthetic is what sets them apart, but road layouts, terrain types and general driving flow all feels very similar in each area. We dug 'Prospecto Valley' the most as it just provided the best looking playground to cruise around in, with lots of lush green hills and crisp blue rivers to go crazy on and splash about in.
Thankfully, what you actually get up to in each area makes up for the lack of layout variety. You can race of course, but as we've mentioned, the side content is just as fun - if not more so. Side missions like defending generators from attacking robots, rounding up pigs for a farmer, and picking up fellow LEGO folks who are trying to escape hostile towns are just some of what you can get up to in 2K Drive, and we have a feeling this sort of stuff will add some much-needed shelf life for players beyond its linear racing campaign.
We say 'much-needed' because if there's one aspect of LEGO 2K Drive that we're a bit down on — outside of the distinctly average races which are outshone by the open world side missions — it's that the game just feels a bit 'budget' for something that costs £60 minimum on Xbox. There aren't many cutscenes, the menus all look a bit 'cheap' and have that free-to-play feel, and the 10-hour main campaign is a bit short for a racing game. We didn't encounter any real glitches or hiccups at all which is nice, but yeah, LEGO 2K Drive feels somewhat 'AA' for a £60 release.
We played through the game on Xbox Series X and performance was rock solid. You're getting 60FPS throughout (which also seems to be the case on Series S), and some nice colorful visuals to match. LEGO 2K Drive isn't the crispest game we've ever locked eyes on — it certainly doesn't look native 4K unless some visual affect is hurting the image — but it looks fine and the frame rate is really the most important aspect here.
LEGO 2K Drive is at its best when it focuses on the last word of its title - driving around and taking part in wild and wacky side missions as you run into them is the best way to tackle this open world racer. The actual racing lets it down a touch, and we think the game is a bit pricey for its presentation levels, but this is still a fun and varied affair for all the family. If you're itching for a bonkers LEGO-themed take on Forza Horizon this pretty much nails it, just don't expect the same levels of AAA sheen as you'd get from the Xbox exclusive series.
Going to get it when it's discounted. Trackmania just came out and Motorsports is on the way.
I'd have loved a track builder.
"Racing is a little chaotic and lacks nuance" is a pro for me, not a con.
This game looks like a lot of fun but it's not a game I'm willing to pay $90 CAD on. I was expecting it to be around $50 like Hot Wheels Unleashed was at launch.
Looks like a new Lego Racers I've been begging ages for.
Will be picking this up for sure.
I'm probably gonna wait for a sale on this one. It looks really good, but LEGO games usually go on sale pretty often. And my hands are full with Zelda right now lol.
You’ve made my decision for me. Thank you.
Got to be honest I am getting a bit fed up with the open world racing format that seems to be every racing game these days. Not in any rush for this one either but it might go on the "If Bored buy on deep discount list"
@Halucigens getting slightly addicted to Trackmania at the moment too.
@Wyatt006 coming on gamepass
@BBB To be fair, this is the spiritual sequel to an open world, PS1, racing game. Open world well before the fad.
Looks like good fun. I’ll pick it up once it goes down to like $30 tho lol. Too much to play already and not enough time 😂
The main pisser that seems to come across most of the reviews Ive seen is that the story is completed in less than double figures and is repetitive as hell. I was hoping the multiplayer might be good but likewise that seems limited. I think this is another title that could have done with another 6 months/year in production.
Think I'll wait for a sale or subscription service for this one. Are the microtransactions/season pass very invasive or necessary to get the most out of the game?
@Rob3008 Nah I wouldn't say so. It does feel like some of the content has probably been 'held' for the Season Pass (maybe more maps/biomes to come), but nothing was intrusive to me. If you're not bothered about playing online you can even just skip linking your 2K account and never see the game's online features, like I did for most of the review period.
About what I expected out of this one, will wait for it to be half off towards the end of the year
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