Review: Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens
It occurred to me whilst playing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens that, incredibly, I’ve been playing Lego video games for 11 years! My first experience of a movie licensed Lego game was on the PlayStation 2 with Lego Star Wars. I instantly fell in love with the simple yet addictive gameplay but most of all the character, humour and charm that has since become a staple of these games.
I’ve played a number of Lego games since then but Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens ranks up there as one of the best yet. I would imagine that most people who are reading this review have played a Lego game at some point. Hell, even my wife has played a Lego game and she doesn’t even play video games! The basic idea of the game is to control characters from the movie each of which have different abilities. For example Luke Skywalker can use the force to manipulate the environment and droids or smaller creatures like Jawas or Ewoks can access different areas. Pretty much everything in the game is destructible and that is where most of the fun is to be found, as you smash up everything whilst collecting studs to unlock new characters and vehicles.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the story line from the movie where you get the opportunity to play as your favourite characters whilst re-enacting key scenes and set pieces from the movie. As I am a massive fan of the film I was thrilled to be able to play a game that so lovingly recreates the Star Wars universe.
As well as the standard gameplay of smashing things up and solving puzzles there are a couple of new features in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first is the ability to aim from behind cover and shoot enemies. At various points in the game you switch from the normal camera view to one where the camera pans closely into your character, whilst you hide behind cover and fire at enemies (think Gears of War but minus the chainsaws and gore!) Although this is a nice addition to the game it doesn’t really add much in terms of gameplay as there is no real penalty for dying, except you lose a few of your studs.
Even more of interest are the new multi-builds which add a different puzzle element to the game. There have always been basic puzzles in Lego games where you smash up the environment and rebuild it to help you progress, but now it comes with a slight twist. When you have to build a new item there is the choice of where you start building. Once you have completed one phase of the puzzle you then destroy it and move onto the next part. It seems obvious now to have such an idea in a Lego game but it really does help to make you think a little bit more about what you are doing rather than just holding the button to build.
In terms of presentation and graphics Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is probably one of the best looking Lego games in the series! For lack of better words the visuals really pop and have a beautiful sheen to them. Although the cover battles aren’t the best new feature, the way the camera zooms into the foreground and background looks stunning. You wouldn’t think that there would be much to improve in terms of the graphics as everything looks like Lego, but this really is a gorgeous looking game.
Recent Lego games have taken dialogue directly from the movies they are based on and if I’m honest I haven’t been a fan of this change in direction. Sometimes the audio sounds like it’s been recorded from a VHS and I think it also changes the tone of the game and loses a certain charm and appeal. In the original Lego games the characters were mute and the comedy came from their expressions and slapstick visuals. The Force Awakens does take dialogue directly from the movie but it sounds crisp and clear. Plus the actors have added extra dialogue which helps to strike a nice balance. Even Harrison Ford sounds like he had some fun recording his lines!
As always the humour takes centre stage and The Force Awakens is no exception. There is even a swipe taken at some of the changes made by George Lucas with his tinkering to the original trilogy. Even the new dialogue recorded for the game has fun with the movie. Anyone for a Wookie cookie!?
As well as the regular levels where you control the characters from the movie there are opportunities to pilot the various vehicles in the game such as Poe Dameron’s X-Wing and the Millennium Falcon. Although these are fairly simple sections that don’t require a lot of skill they are fun and evenly paced throughout the game.
There is great value for money because when you complete the main game there is the opportunity to go back in free play mode to collect all of the collectables and mini kits that you missed the first time around. There are even new adventures to experience that didn’t appear in the movie which are voiced by the actors.
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens really is a fantastic game that can be enjoyed by kids and adults either separately or together. With the summer holidays coming up, now really is the perfect time to pick up a family friendly game that everyone can enjoy. Like BB-8, the game is utterly charming and you can’t help but smile whilst you are playing.
- Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, PC, 3DS, and PS Vita
- Price: £49.99
- Publisher: WB Games
- Developer: TT Fusion
- Release Date: 28th June 2016 (5/7 on Wii U)
- Age Rating: 7