LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks the triumphant return of the No. 1 LEGO videogame franchise and immerses fans in the new Star Wars adventure like never before. Players can relive the epic action from the blockbuster film in a way that only LEGO can offer, featuring all of the storylines from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, retold through the clever and witty LEGO lens. The game will also feature exclusive playable content that takes players on adventures between Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, providing additional insight about the new movie and its characters.
It’s now over a decade since the release of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game. A recreation of the three prequel movies with Lego minifigures and models, at the time it was expected to be only a minor release – a novelty that would only appeal to small children. Today it’s one of the most successful, and prolific, video game franchises in the world. But surprisingly it’s been five years since the last Lego Star Wars title, and since the other Lego movie games haven’t changed much in that time the responsibility for refreshing the formula now falls to the movie franchise that started it all…
It’s fair to say they’ve pulled out all the stops for this latest Lucasfilm tie-in which as the name suggests takes its inspiration from last year’s blockbuster return to a galaxy far, far away. It likely took many months of negotiation and undoubtedly many millions of dollars to get original heroes Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher to sign up to the Force Awakens movie, so it’s impressive to hear them all lending their voices for original dialogue here, along with almost every other significant actor from the film.
In this case one of the major new gimmicks is, of all things, a cover-based shooting system. Obviously it’s not exactly Gears Of War, but anyone with a gun can get behind cover and then pop out to aim at enemies. It’s simplistic – if your aim’s that bad you can just press the left trigger to auto-target – but it works perfectly well as a sort of ‘my first third person shooter’ for kids or less experienced adults.
The other big new feature is the ability to build more than one object out of a single pile of Lego, by going up to it and breaking it down to its component parts again. This helps to sell the idea that you’re playing with real Lego and gives something for the bad guys to aim at, rather than just ineffectually shooting at you all the time. Although the boast of more advanced artificial intelligence doesn’t really amount to anything else other than Stormtroopers occasionally calling in reinforcements.
Vehicle sections, so often a low point of Lego games, have also undergone a rethink and now often take place in small open world areas. The ones where one person is piloting and the other is manning the guns are particularly good, if both players know what they’re doing.
The other positive is the game’s sense of humour, which is obviously not a new feature but still a key attraction. The physical comedy is aimed at the particularly young, but there’s plenty to amuse adults too, including gags about everything from Stormtroopers’ aiming to Harrison Ford breaking his leg and what Kylo Ren’s bedroom looks like.
What does come as a surprise is just how much new story material is offered in the game, with a number of of set pieces and side games filling in some of the plot holes and mysteries of the Force Awakens. From why C3PO now has one red arm to Poe Dameron’s rescue of Admiral Ackbar – it’s the sort of fan service uber Star Wars aficionados will lap up.
If your young one already has a Lego game in their collection then the formulaic nature of what’s on offer here might feel too much of a retread to justify. Nevertheless, for Star Wars fans of all ages, this slick and outright fun, blocky retelling of the canon’s most recent adventure has enough of the Force within it to be worthy of a look.
Platform: PS4 , Wii U , 3DS , PS3 , PS Vita , Xbox 360 , Xbox One
Price: £29.99 – £49.99