I’ll be honest about something; I’ve not seen The Force Awakens. I know, I know, but to tell you the truth, I’m not a massive Star Wars fan. I like the original films but they’ve not had a massive impact on my childhood, nor did I like the prequels. I do love Lego, yet it’s been a while since I played a Lego game — something like 8 years ago. So, I have a lot of catching up to do and my inner child has had enough of being repressed. So I ask, will Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens bring me closer to the film? Or will it just make me go back to Lord of the Rings? (I’ve haven’t played that Lego game either).
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens tells the story of Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron as they travel across the galaxy to help the Resistance find Luke Skywalker. But in their way is The First Order, the new antagonizing force which has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire. They seek to destroy the Resistance and their closest allies, the New Republic, and forever rid the universe of the Jedi. So it’s up to our heroes and a cast of other colorful characters including Chewie, Han Solo, and more to stop The First Order and find Luke Skywalker.
The one big change I noticed right away is that our Lego characters actually speak now and with voiceovers from the film’s cast. I know this has been around for a couple of the games (I’m not totally clueless), but I like this change a lot. Before the Lego games relied heavily on visuals to deliver the communication and humor, making it cute yet a little repetitive and dim-witted at the same time. Now, this branches the humor out more, makes the story more clear, and the serious moments feel more engaging. This is a playful adaption which is still very light-hearted but, when it comes to the drama, they still have a great sense of gravitas. I loved the scene with Kylo Ren and the new Emperor discussing the disturbance in the Force. They made it work so well considering it’s all done with Lego. I will admit that some of the voiceovers sound a little faded or you just can’t understand what some people are saying. It felt like some moments had literally been ripped straight from the film during a chaotic scene, making it difficult to hear properly.
The remainder of the sound design is perfect with a great soundtrack and amazing sound effects that remain truthful to the Star Wars franchise. Best of all is John William’s score, which is just wonderful to listen to throughout your adventure.
The gameplay is massively enjoyable for both kids and adults. There is a perfect blend of problem solving, combat, and exploration. You travel to all the locations in the film and more, tackling both the main campaign and various side missions which aren’t seen in the main film. Each world holds a great depth of exploration to engage with, such as finding collectable items, currency, and unlockable content for the main game. Your journey through the campaign will be made up of problem solving and combat along with various diverse set pieces to break up the progress.
Most of the game’s complexity and challenge requires skill sets from different characters, whether it be for combat or tackling a puzzle. It’s a beautifully structured game with interesting components balanced together to form interesting aspects of exploration and lateral thinking. It could be from setting up a trap to defeat an AT-AT, finding a way past a giant space squid, or repairing the Millennium Falcon before blasting off into a space battle. There’s just so much fun and variation to be had in this game in or outside the main campaign.
The strangest addition I’ve seen were segments of cover based shooting. It’s not bad a thing at all; it just struck me as odd to see a Gears of War aspect in a Lego game. But these moments actually work well as players will face opposing forces and larger obstacles such as turrets and AT-ATs with multiple methods of passing them. It’s great fun as well to play with another player and, thankfully, there’s split screen for local multiplayer.
The main feature here is building items to solve problems. You’ll often have to destroy various objects and build other items to overcome a problem, and there is also a great deal of choice and lateral thinking behind it. Most of the outcomes for what you make are pretty funny as well, keeping to the light-hearted tone of the Lego series. It’s nice to have the choice to make either object from a choice given or to work out the right order in what object to make. This plays well for larger puzzles that require multiple items to be made in a certain order and particular character skills in-between to complete the task at hand.
The only aspect I did find which let down the experience a little was the shallow impact of threat or defeat. No matter what, it’s extremely difficult to die and, if you do, you would have to be one of the worst players imaginable. Not to be harsh, but this game is pretty easy in the sense that combat lacks the impact of tension or fear. I guess it’s not a major problem as the game makes up for it by having other elements pose the aspect of challenge.
But the strongest and most compelling aspect of this game overall is the replayability. There is a gigantic amount of content to unlock, including new characters, new star-ships, and cheats to use in the free play mode. This opens the possibility of going through the game again using new characters that can obtain hidden items with certain skills, fight in star battles as Tia-Fighters or Red Wings, and playing through the game with disco light lightsabers is freaking hysterical. This game offers everything and more.
This is a no brainer, it’s a great game. I love it and it has made me want to go out and take a look at other Lego games I’ve missed. But for now, this is a brilliant title with many compelling and entertaining elements that will amuse younger and older gamers. A must buy for any Star Wars or Lego fan out there.