Following a slight back step with Marvel Avengers, developer TT Games and publisher Warner Bros Interactive return with the latest entry in their number one LEGO videogame franchise with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The game follows the events of the blockbuster movie, with the distinctive LEGO twist.
To bring anyone who hasn’t played a LEGO game before up to speed, you take control of a small group of LEGO-ised characters, using their unique character traits to solve puzzles in order to progress through the game. Additional gameplay comes from melee combat, collecting LEGO studs, mini-kits and elusive golden blocks. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens sticks to this tried and tested formula, whilst also bringing some new and inventive features to the general gameplay.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opening chapter recaps The Battle for Endor from Return Of The Jedi as Han, Chewie and Leia, with a little help from the Ewoks, bring down the Imperial troops. Action then switches to the space battle, handing you control of the Millennium Falcon and Lando Calrissian as you fly into The Death Star’s core to take it down from the inside. The chapter also acts as a tutorial, familiarising you with established gameplay as well as introducing the new ones.
Piles of LEGO bricks from destroyed scenery can now be used to build two or three different objects, which can lead the game in different directions; the object can even be smashed apart and rebuilt as another object. Full on blaster battles have also been added – cover shooting sequences that mix well with the existing melee combat; be ware that the enemy AI has improved, and they have the ability to fight back, calling in air strikes or reinforcements. Vehicle-based combat has also been added, giving you the opportunity to fly many of the famous space craft. All of these help to bring a fresh feel to the game.
You’re given the opportunity to take a break from the plot at explorable hubs throughout the game, such as The Resistance’s base, the interior of the Millennium Falcon and the grounds surrounding Maz Kanata’s on Takodana. Much like Marvel Avengers, you’re free to roam around, smashing stuff to pieces and collecting as many LEGO studs as you can. When you’re ready to carry one with the story, all you need to do is head to a defined point within the area.
The game follows the plot of the movie, taking you from Jakku to Ahch-To, and every location in between. All the movie’s characters are present and correct; newcomers Finn, Rey, Poe and BB-8 join Han, Chewie and Leia battle Kylo Ren, General Hux, Captain Phasma and the rest of The First Order. Characters and scenery look absolutely amazing, perfectly capturing the look and feel of the movie; whilst squeezing in the cheeky sight gags that the LEGO franchise is known for, like Kylo Ren’s quarters aboard the Star Destroyer being covered in Darth Vader merchandise. My personal favourite BB-8 looks even adorable in LEGO form, although he’s not the best when it comes to melee combat. Graphically TT Games maintain their impeccably high standards, with no drops in frame rate or clipping issues, in cut-scenes or gameplay.
Familiar music, like the Imperial March and authentic sound effects, such as blaster fire reaffirm that you’re playing a Star Wars; hearing John Williams’ famous score always sends chills down my spine. The game’s dialogue appears be a mixture of lifted from the soundtrack, as well as all new material recorded by the original cast specifically for this game. Those who’ve read my review of LEGO Marvel Avengers will know that I wasn’t a fan of the lifted dialogue, but it appears that TT Games have worked out the kinks, as I didn’t have to fiddle with the volume levels on my TV between cut-scenes and gameplay.
The only complaint I can level against LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that the dogfights are a little fiddly to begin with, as I was prone to crashing due to the same thumbstick controlling both flight and targeting. There really isn’t too much more to cover, other than to say that TT Games are back on form and have most definitely taken away the sour taste that Marvel Avengers left. The plot is coherent and linear, and the audio is of a considerably higher standard. The added gameplay features enhance the game, and in no way over complicate the simple formula of the LEGO videogame franchise.