I get apprehensive whenever a developer announces a driving part of their adventure game. It's like, what's their motivation for putting that in there? Do they even know how to design driving levels…?
Luckily, LEGO Indiana Jones 2 does it right. Not only is it adding a gameplay element that you'd kind of expect based on what went down in the movies, it's actually really fun. And entirely made of LEGOs.
What Is It? LEGO Indiana Jones 2 is a complete rehash of the first LEGO Indiana Jones game — as in, no re-used levels whatsoever. It also adds the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie, the new Builder Mode where you can go nuts putting together endless LEGOs and also driving segments.
What We Saw I was allowed some hands-on time with just the driving portion of the game on an Xbox 360 build. I think we were playing in a car chase scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark because Marcus Brody and Indy were there. However, like all LEGO games, you can replay levels with any characters you've unlocked. So it could have been from The Last Crusade, I suppose…
How Far Along Is It? The game is out November 17.
What Needs Improvement? Nothing: No, I'm serious. I didn't find any kind of actual fault with the way the driving levels are designed or executed in LEGO Indy 2.
What Should Stay The Same? Easy Controls: The left analogue stick makes the car go, B is the break and can be used to back the car up if you get stuck and A will pop the car up if it falls over or needs to make a jump. Not a lot to keep track of and everything works right when it's supposed to.
Excellent Physics: Like most LEGO levels, pretty much all of the setting is destructible in the driving segments. You can ram your car into carts, buildings and other cars to cause huge explosions of LEGO pieces and blue pick-up pieces. You can also drive your car right over a cliff and bail out just before it, too, explodes in a shower of LEGOs. The car will just respawn right at the edge of the cliff so you can keep on wrecking stuff by driving into or over it.
Everything: I can't believe just how fun the driving section felt. Maybe I've just been shell-shocked by too many poorly-made driving segments, or maybe LucasArts drugged my water cup. But I do strongly consider the possibility that this part of the game is just so well made that it deserves to be enjoyed by everybody. Even cynical critics like myself.
Final Thoughts LEGO Indy 2's driving section may be incredibly fun, but it's not the majority of what you'll be doing in the game. This is as it should be – because it's an adventure game with a driving segment in it, not the other way around. If the rest of the game (which I didn't get to play) is as fun as the driving section, then we're all set. If not, it's going to result in the tragic reversal of my adventure-game-plus-driving-segment anxiety.