Lego Dimensions Year 2 comes to us with a whole plethora of new IPs and franchises that will expand on the already diverse universe surrounding TT's toys-to-life offering.
In starting the game there are a few noticeable differences to the original home hub, Vorton. The biggest being The Shard, a new lump of space rock you can reach with all the new portals for the upcoming expansion pack levels. Making our way over to The Shard we are met with portals to hub worlds for Ghostbusters (2016), Mission Impossible, Adventure Time, Harry Potter and The A-Team. All these are from the first phase of Year 2, dotted amongst these are glimpses of the other hubs that Lego Dimensions have opened up to receive the full Lego treatment, many from our own childhood including The Goonies, Gremlins, Knight Rider and Beetlejuice.
Secondly there is a new Battle Arena, where you can challenge your local co-op friends to some four player competitive fighting. Here you can play a Single Battle or set up a Tournament and then choose from four different game modes; Capture the Flag, Objective, Tick Tag Boom! and Base Bash! All game modes are fairly straight forward and pretty fun to play. We had the most fun with Tick Tag Boom!, chasing each other around attempting to give an explosive to another player just before it explodes, the fuse ticking down until the one left riding it explodes losing one of their the lives.
All the game modes include pickups that can be used to aid your attack or help fend off your enemies. Lightning attacks, Blurred screens and Invisibility amongst others, all add to the mayhem of combat. In Capture the Flag each player has a base to defend containing a flag, the aim is to collect and carry another team's flag as long possible increasing your score by the second, multiple flags will give you boost so it's worth trying to carry at least two at once.
Objective requires you to complete tasks quickly in order to score points, attack a designated NPC, destroy objects, or defeat a wave of enemies, and using pickups can really help you complete these challenges in the fastest time. Base Bash! has players running to a large ball that can but hit towards the enemy's bases, hitting one will knock off one point health, and the last base standing wins. Probably the trickiest of modes to master but still great fun.
The maps themselves are quite limited to begin with, but by adding new characters from Year 2 you will unlock new ones. The only downside of the Battle Arena is that they are all four player split screen, so even if there are just two of you the remaining spaces are taken by bots and they also take up a quarter of the screen each.
All the new Story packs, Level Packs, Fun Packs and Team Packs work seamlessly with the old game and any existing pieces from Year 1 can be used alongside the new ones to open and explore the new levels to a greater extent. Of course this content is still as expensive as it ever was, and for most people you'll have to pick and choose which ones
The Ghostbusters Story Pack (as with the upcoming Fantastic Beasts Story Pack) comes with not only a new character and vehicle but also a new portal add-on. With Ghostbusters this comes in the form of Zhu's Chinese Restaurant.
The story pack follows loosely along the path of the film (with lines of dialogue pulled from the movie), with a few fun pokes at the absurd negativity the film received on release, and has enough content over the six levels to feel like a full game rather than just another level pack. Abby Yates is your physical Lego character, but through playing the game you can switch on screen to the other girls on the team who, as you'd expect, all have different abilities that will need to be utilised in order to progress.
Occasionally you'll find side puzzles for Mini-Kit parts, Red or Gold Bricks that may require another character, be it Batman, Gandalf, or Wildstyle, but having additional characters are not necessary to complete the story (and you'll have the aforementioned three characters from last year's Starter Pack).
Overall this is still the excellent Lego game that we expect from TT Games, but in some ways we feel a little cheated that these are only add-ons for the original Year 1 game and not stand alone versions like we have experienced annually with Skylanders and Disney Infinity (RIP, and here's a thought, maybe that's where Infinity went wrong). Either way, we are excited for the upcoming packs in later phases and had a typically good time playing through the new story content.