“In LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, relive the epic action from the blockbuster film in way that only LEGO can offer, featuring brand new story content from the Star Wars Universe that explores the time between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
– The LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Steam page (http://store.steampowered.com/app/438640/)
It’s been a while since the cinematic release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but people are still going crazy about it. It’s no surprise really; the movie not only managed to make amends for the universally hated ‘new trilogy’, but also brought a ton of new fans to the series. Still, with the backing of both the millions of fans who’ve followed the movies since 1977 as well as ‘The House of Mouse’, Star Wars truly is back in the limelight once again.
It’s no surprise then that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and TT Games have returned to the franchise that ignited their popular LEGO brand of video games. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the latest entry in the long running video game series, bringing with it the classic puzzling gameplay that fans love, along with a few new mechanics that manage to keep this newest entry feeling fresh.
Whilst the previous LEGO Star Wars video games have had a wider range of movies to work from, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens instead has just the one. You’d be fool to think this would limit the developers though – the first level alone is based on the final battle in ‘Return Of The Jedi’, showing that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t limit itself to the two hours and sixteen minutes featured in 2015’s movie blockbuster.
The improvisations don’t end there either, with the game actually offering its own interpretation of the Star Wars expanded universe with levels based on events building up to the movie itself. It’s a nice touch and these original little side stories manage to capture the essence of the Star Wars universe without going too over the top.
Fans who just want to play out the scenes from the movie are kept happy too, with famous scenes like the initial attack on Jakku, the assault on the Starkiller Base, and Finn and Poe’s escape from the Star Destroyer all faithfully re-captured in true LEGO fashion.
I’m sure everybody with a games console knows how LEGO video games work these days; the series has been around for more than ten years now. You work through an assortment of levels that challenge you to take out enemies, solve puzzles and find a ton of collectibles along the way. You’ll collect LEGO studs as a form of currency, but also use LEGO pieces to construct objects that’ll help you progress. It’s a pretty basic formula, but it’s worked for so long that it doesn’t really need changing. However, TT Games have introduced a few new gameplay mechanics this time around that leave the game feeling fresh and more varied in the process.
The introduction of cover based shooting segments sees the game utilising the same mechanics adopted by a plethora of modern day third person shooters. In LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it not only challenges you to wipe out plenty of enemies, but also solve shooting based puzzles too. It actually felt a little more like Time Crisis than Gears of War, but I think that’s for the better; the LEGO video games aren’t designed to be third person shooters, so it’s nice that these new segments feel more like a mini-game that add a little bit of variety to the gameplay. They can take some getting used to initially, but they are fun endeavours and provide the game with some great action-packed set pieces.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens also changes up the structure construction process, this time offering you multiple options to work with from your little pile of LEGO bricks. Previously, gamers had been restricted to automatically building one structure, typically obviously pointing out a puzzle solution or means of progress. This time around you’re able to flick the left stick to switch between a variety of different options of what you can build. You can easily deconstruct each structure too by smashing it to pieces, allowing you to build the alternate structures instead – sometimes you’ll even have to build each available structure in a particular order to solve a puzzle.
Of course, it’s not always compulsory to build everything. Sometimes it’ll just mean discovering a collectible item you might have missed or even just offer an alternate means of progression. It’s a neat feature though and offers a sense of variety that’s often been lacking in the LEGO video games.
Whilst these new features add new interesting dynamics to the game, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens has also improved the vehicle based sections of levels. I’ve often felt that vehicle sections in the LEGO video games have felt a little tacked on, but I found a great deal of satisfaction in piloting X-Wings or using the Millennium Falcon to destroy the Death Star this time around. Each vehicle feels really destructive too – I unleashed plenty of explosions upon my enemies, resulting in them blasting away into tiny little LEGO bricks.
There’s an absolute ton of characters to play as in LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with around two hundred to unlock in total. Some classic characters from the original movies make an appearance, though you’ll be impressed with how deep the developers have managed to get into The Force Awakens’ lore to provide such a strong modern cast of characters.
It’s great to use the likes of Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and, of course, Chewie and Han. We all know Chewbacca’s crossbow is beastly, so it’s great to wipe out your enemies with it in-game. There’s also a bit of extra variety with characters like the Ewoks who can work together as a group to progress, whilst BB-8 is an absolute joy to control, smashing through obstacles in a fashion that’s rivalled only by Boris Johnson’s tackling in charity football matches. (Here’s a link for those who’ve not witnessed it, it’s ridiculous)
Whilst the size of the cast is impressive, there isn’t a whole lot of variety to be found with some of the minor characters. The main cast feel unique and offer moves and skills that feel fitting for them, whilst the less important characters are essentially re-skins. There’s enough variety on offer to keep you entertained though, so you’ll never get bored of the characters you get to use.
The actors from the movie have returned to lend their voice talents to the game too, including the likes of Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher and everyone’s favourite emo Sith, Adam Driver. It shows how far the LEGO games have come – I remember when character interactions were told through facial expressions and gestures, but now we have acting legends bringing the LEGO worlds to life.
The game’s humour is on point once again, putting all your favourite characters into really daft situations. Even some of the movie’s darker scenes are given the light hearted LEGO treatment, with death being kept to a family friendly minimum. Admittedly some of the humour could be a little too silly, though it’ll certainly make kids laugh with glee, especially when things go awry for the ever lovable Kylo Ren. There’s one thing I’ll never understand though – where do all the rubber ducks come from?!
You’ll spend a ton of time playing through the story mode of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, plus the game will keep you coming back post-completion in order to try and find all of the collectables and unlockables. There’s so much to keep you coming back, plus unlocking gold bricks unlocks the excellent side missions that expand upon the movie’s lore. I’ve spent near to twenty hours with the game and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface yet – there’s so much longevity with LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The LEGO video games have always had a special affinity with the franchises they’ve represented; each release is full to the brim with the tiniest details to keep the fans happy. It’s certainly the case with LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens – TT Games have gone above and beyond in order to provide plenty of fan service with their latest release.
With the new gameplay mechanics, the great voice acting and the sheer amount of content available, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one the best LEGO video games I’ve played. Whether you’re a fan of the LEGO video games, a fan of Star Wars, or even if you just like a well-made game that’ll keep you entertained for hours – you can’t go wrong with LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Developer: TT Games (www.ttgames.com)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (www.wbie.com)
Release Date: 27/06/2016
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed) Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, PC