Note: I played through LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens in about eight hours. I played the standard version of the game on PlayStation 4. During my play through, I completed the story and unlocked a variety of items, and characters. This review reflects only my time spent during this play through.
The last time I played a Lego video game was back in 2009, when LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures was the most recent entry. Even then, I only played it because it came bundled with my Xbox 360. Suffice to say, I am not necessarily one to play Lego video game.
When I started up The Force Awakens, I expected to experience much of what the Lego games are known for: basic beat-’em-up combat, simple platforming, and a twist of cutesy satire. While I did find all of the above in this game, I also found so much more. The Lego games have changed a lot since I last played one, and for the better I might add.
Let’s start off with visuals. The first thing I noticed when I got into the game was that it looked gorgeous! I couldn’t help but wonder why developer TT Fusion spent so much time making a game about toys look so good. Not only do the Legos looks fantastic, but the environments look almost as good as EA’s Star Wars Battlefront. The game’s visual style seems like a nod to those who played with Legos in their backyard growing up.
Audio wise, the game is a bit more divisive. While the music is spot on, with the inclusion of John Williams famous soundtrack, the voice acting is a little off putting. Not that it is bad by any means, the problem is that audio is pulled directly from the movie and put in the game. It just sounds a little strange seeing a Lego version of Rey sound exactly like Daisy Ridley. Perhaps its just me, but I preferred it when characters were mute in the Lego games. It gave the interactions and cutscenes a little more charm. However, it is a nice touch that TT Fusion even got some of the real cast of the film to record additional lines. They really went all out with this one.
Now onto the gameplay. The game is split up into ten levels and even includes both a prologue and epilogue, so in some ways I suppose it has twelve levels. The story does a pretty good job sticking to the events of the film, but what really makes the story interesting is the addition of events that the film doesn’t cover. The game opens up with a 30 minute level that takes place at the end of Return of the Jedi. This level nicely ties the events of the original trilogy to The Force Awakens. Throughout the game, you’ll encounter little parts here and there that explain things like where Poe Dameron was after he got separated from Finn. It is fun to see the game explore events we didn’t get to see in the movie.
Like I mentioned early, A LOT has changed since I last played a Lego game. Star Wars: The Force Awakens adds a ton of new mechanics to the formula that help spice up the simple gameplay of previous entries. One thing is for sure with this game, I never felt like I was doing the same thing for too long. Each character has their own unique abilities that are used for puzzle solving. While puzzles are never challenging, they are still fun and rewarding.
One new mechanic that I didn’t find myself enjoying too much was the ability to use Lego scraps to build more than one object. I understand the puzzle element this mechanic is supposed to add but I always felt like these obstacles just broke up the otherwise smooth pacing of the levels.
However, there is another new mechanic that I absolutely adored. You can take cover behind structures and gameplay will suddenly turn into a cover based third-person shooter. These segments of levels were always entertaining and added some exciting set pieces to the game.
The game’s excitement builds throughout the adventure. I was actually more enthusiastic about the game during the second half of my play through. I suppose this is a testimony to how varied and fresh the gameplay can be. Towards the end of the game, level types vary drastically. I especially enjoyed the X-Wing missions as Poe. They feel like a simplified version of a good Star Fox game. Flying is intuitive and easy, and offered a nice break from the focus of Rey and Finn’s adventure.
My absolute favorite aspect of the game is the amount of fan service and humor put into the game. The banter between Stormtroopers is flat out hilarious, and I often found myself stopping in the middle of a level just to listen in on what they were saying. Characters and environments constantly make allusions to Star Wars related references that will have any fan laughing, or geeking out. It is very clear that the team at TT Fusion is full of Star Wars fans. Their enthusiasm and passion for the franchise shines through four the entire game.
As with any Lego game, expect tons of replay value. Each level is filled to the brim with puzzles and unlockables, some of which aren’t even accessible until Free Play mode is unlocked. The roster of characters includes everyone you can think of in the Star Wars universe, including Episode 7 director himself, J.J. Abrahms. Co-op couch play is a staple in the Lego games series that makes its return once again. There is a ton of content here for $60.
Overall, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens packs a fantastic deal for fans. The gameplay is fresh and exciting for players of all-ages. The game looks, sounds (arguably), and feels great! Whether you’re playing by yourself, or with a buddy, LEGO: Star Wars: The Force Awakens has tons to offer and is one of the best Star Wars games in years.