Developer: Traveller’s Tales, TT Fusion
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Feral Interactive
Review Context: I have played all of the Lego Star Wars franchise, as well as many other Lego games.
Date of Playthrough: July 2016
A long time ago in our galaxy we were given the first installations to the Lego Star Wars franchise. Eleven years have passed and now a new adventure awaits the fans of the first games. Much like its predecessors, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the same action-adventure style, with some new features that really set it apart from the original games.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes you on a journey through the latest Star Wars movie as you slash and blast your way through the First Order and try to save the galaxy from this new threat. The story follows Rey, a lonely girl that lives on the war torn planet of Jakku, as she travels alongside Han Solo and company to fight off the evil Kylo Ren.
The first noticeable addition to Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the voice acting direct from the movie. This change isn’t new to the other Lego series’, but is to Lego Star Wars. Before, the characters would make noises or mumble, but now every character has a voice actor. To some this can take away from the cuteness that these titles tend to have, but Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens still has those funny scenes going on while the lines from the movie are added. It does a great job of staying true to both the Star Wars series and the previous Lego series.
As for new gameplay, the most exciting addition has to be the gallery shooter elements on many of the missions. The players are placed behind a wall and must fight waves of First Order troops, while constantly ducking behind cover to escape an onslaught of bullets. It’s a nice pause from the puzzle solving.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens also has a new building system, which gives the player multiple objects to construct in order to progress through a level or find the elusive gold bricks and minikits. One set of the glowing bouncing bricks on the ground can be used to build up to three different structures anywhere by using the joystick. The player can choose which one they want to build first. Most of the time all of the build paths must be constructed in order to get certain characters where they are needed. If one build doesn’t work out, simply destroy it and try another path by using the joystick to aim. The aiming system can be a little touchy sometimes and I have been caught trying to construct one thing and it will suddenly switch to the other build, leaving me in constant cycle of endless building indecision.
The combat system in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens has also received a nice upgrade. It is still button spamable but with a few additions, such as pressing circle to use a special takedown and gaining stud multipliers, making the fighting feel more rewarding. Building up a combo allows you to gain studs faster (up to a 4x multiplier) and reach that True Jedi threshold on each mission.
The biggest drawback I have found in the game is a lack of being able to find your ally in local multiplayer. There is no indicator arrow or anything of that sort to show you where the other player is and this can lead to a lot of backtracking. It’s a very minor flaw that would be impossible deal with if there were an online coop, but it happened enough to be extremely annoying in local multiplayer, especially when trying to move around the overworld.
The overworld map in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is enormous and full of side quests. Each planet that was previously visited, such as Jakku or the First Order planet base, has an area to buy new characters, do side quests that require specific types of characters, do races that unlock gold bricks, fight in star fighter quests, and many more. The amount of extra missions is quite remarkable and I wasn’t even able to put a dent in it.
The last thing that really stood out to me were the star fighter quests, either within the missions or side quests. The flying in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens handles very similarly to Star Wars Battlefront, I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing for Star Wars Battlefront, but it was very enjoyable nonetheless. Some missions were an open dome area where you had free reign on where to fly and others took place flying through a tunnel with enemy turrets shooting in all directions. Just like shooting gallery sequences, the fighter missions are a nice escape from what could feel like a monotonous puzzle solving game.
Overall, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an excellent addition to the Lego video game franchise. It made some enjoyable changes that should become staples of later Lego games, such as the combat and building updates. I look forward to investing more time into Free Play.
Similar Games Liked:
Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PS3)
Similar Games Disliked:
Lego Lord of the Rings (PS3)