Lego has always been a mainstay in most children’s play area for as long as I can remember. As soon as kids are old enough, the allure of the little blocks that connect to form wondrous creations from movies or games is strong and often wins out over rival products. It makes sense then that this would translate well over to video games and Lego has enjoyed a number of quality releases. If you’ve watched the gaming series grow, you can see with each release the production value and overall quality increase. The original Star Wars trilogy was my first Lego video game, and while it blew me away, comparing it to the offerings of today shows just how much the series has grown. Harry Potter, The Avengers, Jurassic Park, and Indian Jones have all been created in the Lego style over the years with each being a solid release that incremented on the previous releases. When The Force Awakens was announced as the next Lego game to come out, I knew it was something I’d have to play as Star Wars has always been the best Lego games in my opinion. So, how does the latest Lego Star Wars game hold up and is it something you and your kids would enjoy playing together? Let’s find out.
The game begins where Return of the Jedi concluded with the Battle of Endor. You’ll take control of Han, Leia, C3PO, and Chewy as you assault the Endor shield generator on Endor’s moon. It’s through this brief tutorial where you’ll learn the basic mechanics of the game. If you’ve played previous entries in the series, you’ll know what that involves (breaking blocks, collecting resources, etc). Some newer mechanics are present and include shooting in a sort of third person mode while aiming which is a neat little addition when you factor in some unique character abilities. You’ll still be building structures from piles of Legos and solving puzzles through the breaking and reconstructing of said structures. The puzzles are never overly difficult, but some could make a younger gamer need some assistance. The good thing is that the puzzles start off very basic and slowly ramp up in complexity. The tutorial area concludes with the fateful interaction between Palpatine, Luke, and Vader. The game takes some liberties here with events, but the scene is meant to introduce using multiple characters to work together. Some items in the world can only be interacted with by Vader and others by Luke as they work to bring down Palpatine. Once you’re successful in completing the events of the movie, the tutorial area is over and the game proper begins.
Once the tutorial area is over, you’ll be taken 30 years into the future where the new movie begins. I like how Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn’t just retell the movie we already saw in theaters (and on Bluray for the 10th time). Instead, the game will begin as Poe Dameron receives his mission at the Resistance HQ to track down someone on Jakku who could have information on Luke Skywalker’s location. This area is a sort of hub world where you’ll kick off missions and interact with some characters. Sort of like the cantina was in the original Star Wars Lego game. Once you kick off the mission, the game falls more in line with the events of the movie, but with a much more lighthearted story and hilarious moments thrown in. The Force Awakens movie can be a bit scarier to younger fans compared to the original movies. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens remedies that with humorous moments that make light of the more darker scenes present in the theatrical release. As the stormtroopers arrive on the planet to wipe out the town, you can see a lone stormtrooper flicking the lights on and off to create the scene from the movie. Instead of blood on Finn’s helmet, he has a green substance which I believe was from food. Stuff like this is thrown into the game to make it much more kid friendly and I appreciate the attention it was given. The story of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens will tell the same story, but just in a less serious manner that all ages can enjoy.
The lighthearted nature of the game also plays another role as well. It would be pretty boring to play through the game knowing what was around every turn because of prior knowledge of the movie. With Lego’s humor thrown in, we get a chuckle when we see Kylo Ren’s room adorned like a high school teenager’s with boyband like adoration for his role model, Darth Vader. I always knew the events that would take place down the road, but the telling of these events were fresh and humorous and kept me playing.
Lego games have always been enjoyable playing solo, but a ton more fun with a friend. Force Awakens is no exception and there are numerous ways for friends to play together and enjoy the game. Puzzles often require multiple characters to complete and while you can switch between characters playing solo, having a friend controlling another is just a little easier. Plus, the mayhem caused by two characters shooting blasters around a room at everything that moves is a blast. If you have a younger gamer who is interested in playing, this is a great way to play with them. You’ll love the gameplay and the humor, but your child will also be able to experience everything with a little guidance from you. If a puzzle is a little too obtuse for them to figure out, you can switch characters and take control and then immediately switch back once it’s completed. This is the perfect starter co-op games for little ones to enjoy with their older siblings or parents.
Another thing the Lego games have always done well is their replayability. You’ll go through the game with a set character that is tied to the story, but you’ll notice areas that can only be accessible by characters you don’t have. This is typical in Lego games and are there for you to come back to later with the character you’ll unlock in the future. These interactions will usually result in a secret area or item plus some achievements/trophies can be tied to collecting multiple characters. This is a Lego staple and something that fans love since it adds a ton of replayability to an already exhaustive game with content.
Whenever a Lego games come out, you know you’re getting a top notch game that is reverent to it’s source material. Lego: Star Wars The Force Awakens continues the tradition and is some of the most fun I have had with a Lego game in years. I think your enjoyment of the game will be heavily influenced by the source material, so if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this might not offer as much to you as say, someone who has a section of their blog dedicated to Star Wars. With that said, I think people with even a slight interest in Star Wars will find something to enjoy here, especially if you have young gamers who you could play alongside with. This is a great game to have some family fun with all the while enjoying some Star Wars in the process.
*Reviewed on the PS4 with a retail copy of the game provider by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment