LEGO Racers 2

LEGO Racers 2

Overview

Build a vehicle, hop in, start the engine and prepare yourself for the most exciting Lego game ever made. This isn’t just another average game that slaps an expensive license on the cover to get people to buy it. Lego Racers 2 is a true, high-quality gameplay experience that all racing fans will enjoy. There were times when I didn’t even realize I was playing a Lego game! The gameplay was so engrossing that I actually forgot. How many toy-licensed games can you say that about? Answer: zero.

Gameplay

If you thought that playing with Legos was fun, just wait till you take Lego Racers 2 for a spin! Within the game are five different modes of play: Adventure, Arcade, Best Times, Time Attack and Bonus Games. In Adventure mode, your goal is to make it to the final world, Xalax, and challenge the Rocket Racer. On your journey to Xalax, you’ll have to win several races against the locals of Sandy Bay, Dino Island and other unique Lego-inspired locales. As an incentive for challenging a racer, he or she will offer you a Golden Brick. The only catch is that you’ve got to win the race to gain the brick. Golden Bricks are used to unlock more worlds, just as the stars and puzzle pieces unlocked new worlds in Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie.

The Arcade, Best Time and Time Attack modes are pretty self-explanatory. Arcade mode is for gamers looking for some quick thrills; Best Times is where you’ll find your "best times" from each course; and Time Attack is the mode you select when you want to beat your best times. Finally, there’s the Bonus Games mode, which allows you to play any of the bonus games you’ve unlocked (such as Taxi Service). To unlock the bonus games, you must find their respective portals (there are two in each world).

Graphics

Lego Racers 2 is the best-looking Lego game out there. The textures are very smooth, never once pixelating. They have a distinct Lego look about them. All of the trees are polygonal replicas of the Lego pieces I used to play with as a kid. Every house is comprised of individual Lego bricks. When you crash, pieces of your vehicle are sent flying into the air. That effect is created in the most realistic way. The bricks don’t break off all at once; they are removed in small and large clusters depending on the severity of the crash. The more you crash, the more bricks you’ll lose, eventually stripping your car down to nothing! If you crash again after that, your vehicle will be destroyed and you’ll be forced to run on foot for a brief moment. You won’t get anywhere in this game if you don’t have a good set of wheels to help you move around, but it’s fun to crash every now and then just for the eye candy. There is absolutely no fog or pop-up in Lego Racers 2! No matter how far away something is, LR2 never cheapens the experience by covering up the background with fog. PlayStation 2 is an extremely powerful game console and Lego Racers 2 takes full advantage of it. Whether it’s a building, a mount or your opponent crossing the finish line; if it’s out there, you can see it. The various weather effects, such as rain that actually drops on the screen (a la Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty), are incredible. I was especially impressed by the game’s lighting effects. Just look at that bright, beautiful sun. Amazing, isn’t it?

Fun Factor

The fun factor measures how much fun you have playing the game, and let me tell you, you’re going to have a lot of fun playing this one. Lego Racers 2 combines all the fun of building Lego with the thrill of a next-generation racing experience. Each level is huge, providing a huge track for anyone who chooses to race them. Driving around aimlessly can be pretty fun at times, especially when you discover some of the game’s secrets. Golden Bricks are awarded to the person who wins first place in a race, but you can also find them hidden in each world! Finding them is not easy, but it’s well worth the time and effort. All of this adds up to a really entertaining experience that can’t be found in any other game. Build the vehicle of your dreams using the world’s best building blocks, then race it in this awesome virtual world. What more could you possibly want?

Overall

Lego Racers 2 is a must-buy game for all Lego fans. The build-your-own vehicle feature is reason enough to buy Lego Racers 2, and once you get deep into the Adventure mode, you’ll fall in love with everything this game has to offer. The track design is excellent, the controls are good and the gameplay is what it should be. Gamers on a budget will be happy to know that Lego Racers 2 has an MSRP of only $39.99. Some retailers are charging even less! For that low price, only a fool would pass up the chance to get this game.