I’ll keep this review brief, because if you love Star Wars and LEGO, you’re probably already playing LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, if you still need a little more convincing, read on!
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (henceforth LEGO TFA) is unique among LEGO games in that it’s the first one to adapt a single film – previous LEGO games have covered three or more movies in a franchise. You might think that would mean that this game is lacking content, but you would be wrong. The game breaks The Force Awakens down into level-sized chunks, complete with the LEGO humour you’ve come to expect, and adds in a few extra levels for you to unlock, covering events outside the film, such as Han and Chewie hunting rathtars, or Poe rescuing Admiral Ackbar. LEGO TFA also features the voices of the actors from the film, even for new dialogue that’s not in the movie. I was first worried that the game would be light on content as previous LEGO games zoom through the stories, fast forwarding to important moments or large battles but this new approach really allowed the game a lot of time to follow its fun formula of faithfully recreating key scenes and shots in LEGO, then throwing wacky humour into the mix.
In terms of gameplay, the most significant new additions are probably the multi-build system and cover. Multi-builds are exactly what the name suggests: pieces of LEGO that can be built into several different things. Many builds across the game can be built, broken apart, and then built into something completely different. In some cases each of these builds is necessary for you to solve a puzzle, while in other instances, an alternate build may reveal a collectible or simply provide a different way of getting to the next area. In most cases you can even see how the same LEGO bricks are used to build the various objects, rather than objects just being magically created. It is a small touch but it just fits in so well with the idea of playing around with LEGO bricks. Cover is used in certain battle sequences to give some variety to fights. During these sequences, you’re prevented from running ahead and killing everyone in melee. You’re forced to take aim and take down targets one at a time, ducking back behind cover to avoid blaster fire. It’s not particularly difficult once you get the hang of it, but it does add a little something different to the mix and it fits well with the blaster battles that happen in the movie. It also gives a much better sense of scale to fights. A dozen enemies trying to blast you with large cannons and the like feels a lot more impressive when you can’t just walk over and pummel everything. Cause let’s face it, almost no enemies stand a chance if you get in melee range.
In addition to the story levels, there are numerous planets for you to visit, each based on a location from the film. These are mini-hubs, much like the ones in LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, though ‘mini’ is perhaps the wrong word. Each planet has dozens of missions, races, puzzles and collectibles and being able to hop into microfighter versions of all the vehicles you unlock will help you get around the hubs as there is a fair amount of travelling involved. Getting to 100% is sure to keep you busy for quite a while. I think my favourite collectible (apart from the Funk Awakens red brick) in the game are the Hans-in-carbonite, which let you unlock characters from the other LEGO Star Wars games, from Luke Skywalker to Queen Amidala. In addition to these, there is a huge number of characters to unlock, including a variety of different droids, stormtroopers, aliens as well as the main characters. At just over 200 characters, there is a good chance you will be stretching your knowledge of small characters in the movie.
Just about every character in the game has slightly different abilities, whether it’s agility, force powers, certain types of weapons, or access to grappling hooks or certain consoles. This helps distinguish each character from the pack. BB-8 is by far the most fun character to play. He may not have much in the way of weapons, but he can roll around at high speed and knock other characters over. If it weren’t for the fact that he can’t build, I might have played the entire game using him. I feel there’s a case for the game to be renamed ‘LEGO BB-8 and his many bipedal slaves’.
Oh and in case a score out of ten is just too complicated right now, here is another metric that makes sense: