LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here, in all of its blocky glory, and it's pretty much everything you'd expect it to be. Following in the fine tradition of the fourteen previous LEGO games, LEGO SW: TFA has you smashing, jumping, and puzzling your way through the familiar backdrops of the newest Star Wars film, gathering an absolutely massive collection of characters and companions to your side.
LEGO SW: TFA is very much in the tradition of previous games and doesn't do much to break from the mold, which is both criticism and praise -- it's every bit as fun as the previous games, but unless you're interested in the source material or just hungry for more content, it doesn't offer anything new.
I've got a good feeling about this
Like the previous LEGO games, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes you through the basic plot of the The Force Awakens (though it curiously starts you out at the Battle of Endor). You fight, build, but mostly smash your way through each of the major set pieces of the new film (Jakku, Takodana, Starkiller Base, etc.), gathering familiar faces along the way. In terms of the basics of the plot, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is faithful to the source material, but that's pretty much where it ends. Wherever possible, the game has added ice cream cones, fish, slapstick, gratuitous camera winks, and other visual gags to spice up the cribbed dialogue.
And even if you're a crotchety old Star Wars fan like me, you have to admit that it's usually pretty funny. The game is wacky, fast-paced, does not take itself very seriously, and it works. The combination of original dialogue and dialogue from the films keeps you company during each of the levels, the voices of your favorite characters keeping pace with your advancement through the films.
Don't get cocky kid
The formula for advancing through the game is pretty much the same as the previous LEGO adventures -- smash blocks, build things to solve puzzles, and fight past LEGO baddies. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens adds multi-builds, which gives you multiple options for each set of bricks, forcing you to think sequentially and adding an interesting level of strategy to the puzzles. It also adds blaster battles, a shoot-out style mini-game where you need to blast away Stormtroopers from behind cover (later on this is usually compounded with the need to solve a puzzle or defeat a dangerous foe at the same time).
Space battles also make a return, and while the controls aren't perfect, they're pretty good, and these are usually some of the more fun and compelling parts of the level. If you liked the puzzles from the previous LEGO games, then you're definitely going to like LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, since it largely follows the same formula.
Trust your feelings
At the end of the day, it's a little hard to review LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, because it feels less like a standalone game and more like a very robust expansion pack for the LEGO series as a whole. There's nothing wrong with the formula, and no reason to fix it, but if you've played one LEGO game, you've kind of played them all.
If you're new to the series though, LEGO SW: TFA is a great place to start. It's fun, irreverent, challenging, and a great game to play by your self or with others.
DISCLAIMER: The writer of this article was given a copy of this game to review by the publisher.