Forza Horizon 4’s wonderful 2019 Lego enlargement labored so properly that it appeared apparent that an open-world Lego racing sport ought to turn out to be its personal factor. Thankfully, we didn’t have to attend too lengthy to see that turn out to be a actuality. Visual Concepts and 2K Games have introduced a multi-title partnership with The Lego Group that begins with the open-world racer Lego 2K Drive, which launches on May 19.
I used to be just lately flown out to 2K’s Novato headquarters to go hands-on with Lego 2K Drive forward of its announcement and got here away impressed. The Lego and open-world racer mixture nonetheless works fairly properly, harkening again to some great-playing racing video games with aesthetics and a automotive customization system that will get as a lot mileage out of the Lego affiliation as attainable. Whether you’re a fan of this new wave of open-world racing video games or wish to construct after which race the weirdest Lego creations attainable, you’ll be completely entertained by Lego 2K Drive.
Entering a Lego world
My hands-on time with Lego 2K Drive encompassed the sport’s opening hours. The central premise is that gamers try to qualify for the Sky Cup Gran Prix, a race within the sky that solely attracts the perfect drivers from this Lego world. To qualify, one should win 4 Grand Brick Arena circuits in every of this sport’s biomes. But first, I needed to discover ways to drive. After designing my Lego character, I used to be let unfastened in Turbo Acres. In this smaller open-world space, it’s manageable to study the fundamentals from an skilled Lego driver named Clutch Racington.
“We wanted to feel like you are playing with your Lego sets in the real world”
Lego 2K Drive may be very arcade-like in its dealing with. Boosting is significant to success, and I needed to acquire that enhance by drifting and smashing by means of the entire Lego objects within the sport’s world. It opts for the method we’ve seen from different fashionable Lego titles like Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the place the environments look considerably extra sensible, however the entire folks and buildings on the earth are constructed with bricks.
While the distinction between the 2 might sound jarring, the Lego figures and buildings mix in fairly properly with the gorgeous landscapes of the sport. Creative Director Brian Silva mentioned how tough balancing this was with Digital Trends, finally evaluating the sport’s look to enjoying with Legos in your yard.
“We did our best to tilt those more realistic environment pieces toward a Lego look, so everything is large, square, and blocky to help it fit in our universe,” Silva tells Digital Trends. “The thought in the back of our mind was: ‘What if you had your favorite Lego sets and you went into your backyard?’ We wanted to feel like you are playing with your Lego sets in the real world and tap into this childlike imagination of how it would all look.”
I ultimately went off-road and noticed my automotive rework from an everyday automobile into an ATV. Then, curious to see what would occur, I made a decision to drive into the river surrounding this tutorial space. To my shock, my automotive went from its off-road kind into a ship. It compliments the sport’s automobile selection and customization as properly, as gamers primarily could have entry to a few main automobiles they’ll design always.
While actual automotive fashions are featured within the sport, gamers can construct their very own too. Lego 2K Drive’s kart creation and customization go very deep, as there are tons of Lego items at your disposal, and its menus are intuitive sufficient to make use of to the place it’s simple to create some wacky automobiles quick. I used to be in a position to construct some rough-looking harp and pizza vehicles within the restricted time I had with customization, so I can solely think about the amazing-looking automobiles and horrifying monstrosities those that have time to grasp this creation suite will make.
Big Butte begins
If you’ve performed Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, this sport’s vehicle-switching sport really feel will likely be surprisingly acquainted. In construction, Lego 2K Drive is way more just like the Forza Horizon video games. Various challenges and races are all scattered round its open-world areas, and I simply needed to drive as much as them to start out. The programs all twist and switch by means of their respective biomes, giving gamers much more familiarity with the realm.
This gameplay loop affirmed itself as I left the tutorial space and explored the primary biome of the sport: Big Butte County (this sport is filled with humor geared toward children). Big Butte is a desert biome full of enormous Sandstone rocks and massive cliffs and canyons to drive off of. I primarily went off-road on this biome as I accomplished races and earned the forex wanted to degree up. I additionally had the prospect to drive round in multiplayer, seeing different gamers transfer round as they accomplished stunts and challenges and seamlessly beginning races with them.
When racing in opposition to actual folks, correctly boosting and drifting turns into far more vital, as does utilizing offensive and defensive objects that come out on the monitor. There’s mission selection outdoors of ordinary races too. In one story mission, I used to be driving by means of hordes of invading alien robots to defend three generations. Another one known as “Red Light, Green Light” references Squid Game, difficult racers to maneuver solely when the sunshine is inexperienced, blowing up drivers which might be nonetheless transferring when the sunshine turns crimson. Lego 2K Drive will also have a devoted minigame mode at launch, though I didn’t get to attempt it out.
Kids’ first Forza Horizon
Other open-world racers video games like Forza Horizon 5 and The Crew have extra sensible aesthetics and race sorts, so these kart-racer-like sport programs assist Lego 2K Drive stand out in that area. Kids and informal players ought to be high-quality selecting this sport up, however its deep customization, automobile stats, and race problem ranges ought to assist this sport attraction to extra hardcore racing followers. According to Silva, it took a number of playtesting to get this really feel excellent.
“The most important experience is to get your game into the hands of the player as quickly as possible and watch them play,” Silva says. “That’s the most valuable thing. You will learn everything by watching someone play your game. It’s nice to get feedback and have them tell you what they think, but gameplay doesn’t lie … That’s my philosophy with game design: let the game tell you what it wants, watch people play the game, and let players tell you what they want too.”
Ultimately, it appears to be like like all that testing allowed Visual Concepts to refine Lego 2K Drive into one thing accessible, however with the depth you’d anticipate from an open-world racer. It feels good to drive, enhance, and drift off-road, on roads, and within the water, each in automobiles the sport provides gamers and in ones gamers assemble themselves. The sport does reward gamers who drive properly however is keen to convey them again right down to earth with different missions and highly effective objects. It’s all the pieces I wished out of an open-world Lego racing sport.
Lego 2K Drive releases for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on May 19.
Disclosure: 2K Games and PR company Finn Partners paid for journey and lodging in order that Digital Trends may take part on this preview occasion in Novato. This didn’t affect Digital Trends’ protection of the sport.