Also On: Xbox One, Wii U, PC, Vita, 3DS
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: TT Games
Back in January I praised The Force Awakens play set for Disney Infinity (R.I.P.) with bringing a justified return to the movie tie-in video game genre. Now it’s six months later and another movie tie-in game is being released…for the same movie. LEGO decided to continue making Star Wars games following the success of their previous entries. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the entire storyline from the movie and then some. I especially liked the way Disney Infinity handled The Force Awakens and I can safely say that Traveller’s Tales did an even better job with their movie interpretation.
LEGO The Force Awakens opens with a stage featuring the second half of the Return of the Jedi and immediately sets the tempo for what to expect the rest of the way. New gameplay elements and more polished older features are instantly prevalent. I’m impressed that rather than sticking with the same old formula that has worked on countless LEGO titles prior, Traveller’s Tales decided to shake things up a bit. The LEGO video game franchise hasn’t seen this many different improvements ever!
We’ll start with some of the brand new features and later talk on the improved gameplay items. The biggest addition, to me, is the ability to build multiple objects with a single pile of bricks (which they’re calling Multi-Builds). Now that I have played with this addition, it’s tough to believe that it didn’t exist previously. Certain piles of pieces will give you the option to build multiple items, most of the time this is required to complete a puzzle. Once you build an item, you can simply smash it and it will return to a pile of pieces to be used to build again. While the addition is definitely a welcome one, it isn’t flawlessly executed. At some points I had difficulty in picking the item I wanted to build as the pile of bricks could be used for 3 different items and selecting which to build is relegated to holding a direction button while trying to build. Most of the time this worked fine, and didn't frustrate me too often, so I’m all for this LEGO innovation.
There is also a brand new cover based mechanic that is utilized at different points in the game. I’m not the biggest fan of cover based shooters, like Gears of War or Uncharted (though I do love The Division), but I quite enjoyed the cover based segments. They changed up the gameplay just enough so the level won’t feel stale or boring while also kicking up the excitement. Along with the cover based areas there are new flying segments to help diversify the gameplay. The gameplay in the flying battles are the best flying gameplay and level design Traveller’s Tales has ever done. Are you noticing a trend about this game? In previous LEGO games I always dreaded the gold brick flying missions and was bored with the flying aspects of the story mode, that is the complete opposite for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Many of the flying segments are better here than games that are strictly in the flying genre. Bonus studs for the ability to pilot the Millennium Falcon and other classic ships.
Building off of LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, Traveller’s Tales has carried over the finishing maneuvers. Around your character Hud is a meter that (once filled up) will allow you to do a unique finishing move. Although it doesn’t have the double team attacks like LEGO Avengers, it’s ok with me. The team attacks make more sense to me in a super hero game and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything without it. Also like LEGO Avengers, LEGO The Force Awakens sports a YUUUUUGE (insert Donald Trump Joke) character line up. When the game was first announced I was worried it would only include characters from the latest movie, but I’m happy to report it has all the characters, and lots more… over 200 characters to be more precise. The original trilogy favorites can tag up with the new preferred characters and create all new possibilities (Boba Fett and Captain Phasma? Do I sense love in the air?).
If all of that wasn’t already enough, they had to trump Disney Infinity in yet another aspect; the voiceover work. While Disney Infinity featured some of the cast of the movie, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens features the entire cast of the movie. Unlike previous LEGO titles where the dialogue is ripped straight out of the movie, (sometimes poorly… ahem -LEGO Jurassic World- ahem) many of the cast also recorded new dialogue just for the game. I honestly never thought I would see the day where Harrison Ford does voiceover work for a video game, especially for a character that he wanted to be done with decades ago (I guess money can make anything happen). The voiceover work and the incredible John Williams’ score just add to what is already a stellar game.
Beyond the main story of The Force Awakens there are some extra adventures that are unlocked by collecting gold bricks. These bonus missions will tell you untold tales that fans have wondered about since the movie was released, and others that are just interesting additions. Some of these missions are: how Han and Chewie caught the Ratters featured in the movie, how C3PO got his red arm, Poe on a mission to save Admiral Ackbar (IT’S A TRAP!), and much more. It’s also important to mention that these side stories were worked on in conjunction with Lucasfilm and are now considered canon in the Star Wars universe (fanboy nerdgasm).
Between the movie missions, the bonus missions, hunting down all the gold bricks, and other random tasks, theres plenty of stuff to do to keep you occupied in LEGO The Force Awakens. Collecting everything in LEGO games isn’t for everyone, but it’s my favorite series to try and get platinum trophies in, so your milage may vary when it comes to the collectibles. One gripe I have is that I wish the open world environments were a bit more fleshed out, like LEGO Avengers, but that doesn’t at all diminish what Traveller’s Tales has accomplished here.
Up until I started LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my favorite LEGO title was LEGO Dimensions. While I would love to see Disney characters from Marvel and Star Wars featured in Dimensions, I understand why they won’t allow it (yet). The level of detail and immersion is not something you can get being in a bite size level of Dimensions. So for now, Marvel and Star Wars will continue to get their own LEGO games and that’s surprisingly a really good thing. I really don’t have much bad to say about my experience with the release. If you like LEGO games, you’ll love it. If you like Star Wars. you’ll love it too. If you like LEGO and Star Wars, you might be blown away (like Greedo). Needless to say, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the best LEGO title ever made in my opinion and everyone should check it out.