In a galaxy far, far, away (…okay, actually, right here in this galaxy), there was a video game series that turned beloved franchises into blocky satirical versions of themselves… and everyone loved it. The latest installment of this series is LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, TT Games/TT Fusion’s block-ification of the big screen critical hit. While this installment doesn’t include a slew of iconic IPs, nor the fun (at times gimmicky) toys-to-life aspect of LEGO Dimensions, the game is still one of the best LEGO titles of the past few years. Here’s why you should build on.
As the title suggests, LEGO The Force Awakens follows the same tale as its film counterpart. Since most enjoyed watching Rey, Finn, Poe, and the rest of the beloved cast face off against Kylo Ren and the First Order, there’s no doubt that the comedic LEGO interpretation will please even the biggest Star Wars fans; the game stays consistently true to the source material, while adding in more silly moments. LEGO The Force Awakens spans the full movie, which means you’ll be along for the ride for Poe’s first encounter with Kylo Ren, the race through Jakku on the Falcon, and even the moment Rey hands the lightsaber over to the Jedi Master. It’s one hell of a ride.
To offer more context to what’s going on in The Force Awakens for newcomers (it is Episode VII, after all), the game actually begins with the final moments of the Original (and superior) Trilogy; I’d be lying if I said nostalgia didn’t instantly hit me. Other than that deviation, the rest of the game adds a goofy spin on certain scenes. One shot demonstrates Kylo Ren’s obsession with his grandfather by showing his room adorned with all things Vader, including slippers, posters, and bed-sheets. (To put it simply, Vader is like Kylo Ren’s Justin Bieber.) The game is often times hilarious.
Best of all, the game is stunning. I mean, visuals usually aren’t a big deal in the LEGO games, but it feels like a full cinematic experience thanks to the gorgeous, fully voiced cut-scenes.
While those familiar with the LEGO franchise will surely feel right at home when loading this bad boy up, it quickly becomes clear that you’ll be doing more than just solving environmental puzzles to progress. As soon as you jump into the first few missions, you’ll be taking cover behind some blocky debris and trading blaster shots with Stormtroopers. Though that isn’t to say that you should expect a full-on Gears of War-esque third-person action title (though, wouldn’t that be sweet?). Rather, the shooting galleries sprinkled throughout your usual stackable adventure adds a nice change of pace. It’s a pleasant surprise!
That’s not all, though, as you’ll also be piloting an X-Wing through the skies like the real Poe Dameron. There’s even a moment where you’ll be stealing a First Order TIE Fighter from right under their helmet-covered noses. What’s a Star Wars game without aerial combat, after all? At best, these sequences rival insane on-rails moments from the Star Fox franchise… though, it’s not always perfect. There are moments where too much is happening on the screen, but since these sequences make up a small portion of the game, it isn’t that big of a deal.
Other than those two different gameplay moments, you’ll be doing the usual LEGO thing, which involves walking around, breaking everything in sight to make your inner five-year-old squeal with joy, switching between iconic characters to complete tasks, and solving moderately challenging puzzles. Despite having some great characters to use from the Star Wars franchise, none of their abilities are all that unique. One character can jump higher than the rest, while another can hack computers, and so on. These abilities have been seen in other LEGO titles. Using the Force and a lightsaber is always fun, so there’s that. This isn’t to say the game is boring, because it’s not—it just isn’t groundbreaking. But to be fair, I don’t believe that’s what the team was setting out to reach. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
You can also expect to search out plenty of collectibles if you’re looking to max out the experience. While I’m not one to spend extra hours searching through every nook and cranny to find that last red block, this, like previous iterations, is the mother-load for completionists. Just be wary of this if you have LEGO fatigue.
There are a few gripes I had with my 10+ hour venture, but nothing that really hindered the experience. First, you’ll get a word scroll every time you start a new chapter, which sounds like nostalgic goodness, but it soon becomes rather annoying. The good news is, you can skip it if you want; just know that you’ll be missing out on some of the story by doing so. Second, there isn’t enough Force play, but that has more to do with the narrative of the game’s film counterpart.
On the bright side, the game is loads of fun, and makes for a great weekend. Plus, it also supports local co-op, so you’ll be able to grab some friends and family to join in on the good times.
While LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn’t the best game in the LEGO lineup, it’s definitely the best Star Wars iteration. Mixing in a good amount of aerial combat and third-person shooting to the usual puzzle-solving adventure makes this feel like a more well-rounded package. Even those who have LEGO video game fatigue will be happy that the lightsaber-wielding blocks are back in action. Watching The Force Awakens narrative unfold with the LEGO-style comedic moments sprinkled throughout is something Star Wars fans shouldn’t miss out on. For that, I definitely say get in on the fun.
4.5 out of 5 Burritos
- Variation is added to the standard LEGO gameplay with shooting galleries and Star Fox-like flight missions. Makes for a robust space adventure.
- Comedy is strong with this one. Try not to laugh.
- Cinematics are gorgeous. Everything is beautiful in this game, even if they are made up of LEGO blocks.
- Simply put, the game is a total blast.
- Character abilities don’t feel unique.
- Not enough use of the Force.
This review was completed using an Xbox One Copy of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens provided by Warner Bros. The game hit shelves on Tuesday, June 28, 2016