Lego 2K Drive review: A racer for everyone with bumps in the road

Lego 2K Drive review: A racer for everyone with bumps in the road
Images via 2K Games

Written by 

Morgan Truder

Published 

19th May 2023 16:16

LEGO 2K Drive is the latest LEGO game bringing the unique blend of humour and child-friendly gameplay that we have grown to expect from anything with the LEGO branding. However, LEGO 2K Drive is different from previous LEGO games. This time around, we are seeing how well these toys translate to an open-world racing game as opposed to an adaptation of a popular franchise.

GGRecon Verdict

LEGO 2K Drive is a great family-friendly racer with plenty on offer for everyone to enjoy. Great races, an in-depth car builder and side activities flesh out the game that's only marred by microtransactions and a lack of character creator. 

The secret ingredient of LEGO 2K Drive is chaos. Wearing its inspirations on its sleeve, the game takes cues from titles like Forza Horizon, kart racers and other modern racers. Yet, it captures the carnage I've missed from dormant franchises like Burnout and Motorstorm, which defined the genre over ten years ago after rewarding players for being a nuisance.

Baby driver

A LEGO car drifting in 2K drive
Click to enlarge

To explore the open world in LEGO 2k Drive, you drive around in your LEGO motor finding new challenges and races to complete, be it on tarmac, dirt, or water. Your vehicle will transform seamlessly depending on what surface you're driving on, meaning you can go anywhere without giving it a second thought whilst the game does all the switching for you. This addition makes exploration simple but also means there is more room for error amongst children and poor drivers (me) alike, however, if you’re a pro you can manually switch. 

Before you start LEGO 2K Drive, it is really important that you recognise this is a game that is first and foremost for families. This means the tutorial is going to take a while because it is very, very thorough, resulting in it being a bit of a slog as a grown-up. An option to skip some of the more menial tasks earlier on would've been much appreciated, as things like how to fast travel and basic features we have grown accustomed to in games are all explained here.

Once you get going, and through the bulk of the intro, the races are genuinely really fun and offer a welcome challenge. After the opening, it took me by surprise that underneath the wacky characters and drawn-out tutorial, there is a challenging racing game here. After all, this is what I have come to expect of any game with LEGO branding on the box - a game that can truly be enjoyed by everyone.  

As you progress through LEGO 2K Drive you can earn more vehicles and perks to optimise your experience. The vehicle you are in feels largely cosmetic, but the gameplay layered on will require skill to perfect - especially once you layer on drifting, perks and items you pick up during races.

The family-friendly nature of LEGO 2K Drive is the feather in its cap, which is why it feels all the more egregious when you go into the store and see how much the items cost, as well as how easy it is to drop real money on the game. If you click on an item you like, and you don’t have enough funds, you’re only three clicks away from dropping real money.

Once you’ve progressed through the game, you will certainly have enough for a few bits from the shop - even a car or two - but it will only go so far before you run out, and it’s clear someone much younger (and in the target demographic) is going to be constantly on the precipice of spending money.

Pimp my ride 

LEGO 2K Drive car creator
Click to enlarge

The store may demand your money for some of the cooler vehicles, but if you’re creative then you can build most things yourself. Once again, some of the better items need to be bought, but they aren’t too dear, so you should be able to go in and create with ease. The car creator in LEGO 2K Drive could be a game in and of itself, I can’t wait to see what much more creative people than me make once the game is fully out and in the wild. 

Anything you build can be taken into the world, and once again this is also really simple. In the menus, you have a loadout which has your three vehicles, as well as your driver, and you can swap these in and out whenever you aren’t in races. This also includes any cars you unlock or buy too, just in case you aren’t too creative. 

The biggest downside to the creator is that you can’t make your own racer too, you can unlock new racers by progressing through the story or they can be mentioned through the aforementioned store. Once again, these are quite dear too and it’s a shame in a game targeted towards a younger demographic they can’t build a racer that looks like them. 

  • It looks like we'll sadly never see a LEGO Zelda set since requests for them have been banned.

Wacky races 

A race track from LEGO 2k Drive
Click to enlarge

Exploring the world is very Forza Horizon, but the races capture the essence and joy provided by Mario Kart. As you speed around a track, be it on land or sea, there are items you can pick up, helping you to go on the offensive against your opponents. Therefore, while you're racing, you'll have to have your wits about you and be aware of the rockets, spider webs and more coming your way to hinder progress.

Luckily, you can boost, drift and jump to help escape any pursuers behind you. While you're drifting away and earning yourself a nice healthy lead, you may notice you never lead for too long. LEGO 2K Drive feels like it constantly keeps the tension going with rubber banding. This can feel a little unfair but does keep it interesting and ensures the chaos never stops. 

The races in LEGO 2K Drive are only elevated by just how good the game looks and sounds. Crashes through the LEGO-constructed environments are now up there with one of the most satisfying game sounds I have ever heard, while all of the terrains you traverse look stunning, regardless of what vehicle you are in. It may not sound like a huge compliment, but it really does look like real LEGO, which is impressive, to say the least.

The king of comedy 

Hugh Mann Alien in LEGO 2K Drive
Click to enlarge

Sadly, the humour doesn't hit quite as well as previous LEGO titles, though not for a lack of trying. It is once again really important to recognise I am far from the target demographic for these games and I am sure some of these jokes would have an eight-year-old in stitches. However, the majority of it just doesn't land for me.

Traditionally, LEGO games have captured that Pixar-like quality of being funny for all ages. Yet in LEGO 2k Drive, it's all swing and no ding. This is at the exclusion of the Alien pretending to be a human called Hugh Mann (I am ashamed to admit how funny I found this). There are still plenty of moments that will bring a slight smile to your face, it just doesn't have the same punch and quality we have come to expect from other LEGO games.

The Verdict 

Giant donut in LEGO 2K Drive
Click to enlarge

LEGO 2K Drive delivers everything fans have come to expect from LEGO games and it translates well to this challenging genre. The maps are full of things to do, it looks amazing, and it's approachable for everyone regardless of their age. The store and microtransactions are a slight stain on the game, but only feel so out of place because of the target age.

There is simply so much to do in LEGO 2K Drive with engaging side content and a car creator that will soak up as much time as the game itself, that regardless of age you will be amused for hours. The multiplayer is what we have come to expect, joining a pal is seamless and once you’re done player 2 can just drop out without a second thought. The release of LEGO 2K Drive means we could be looking at one of the best family-friendly racing games around and we can’t wait to finish off the rest of the side missions on offer.

4/5

Reviewed on PS5. Code provided by the publisher.

Morgan is one of the Guides Writers at GGRecon. He first started writing about games for fun whilst doing his BA (Hons) in History and Film. Since then he has turned this passion into a career and was previously an Editor at VideoGamer before joining GGRecon. Despite enjoying all sorts of games, he can often be found playing Football Manager, Red Dead Redemption 2 or Sekiro.

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