- + Returning to LEGO Star Wars feels like a warm cup of Force-poured hot chocolate
- + Harrison Ford returns to voice additional dialogue
- + Blaster Battles bring a fresh change to gameplay
- - Still no online co-op
Want to look beyond the score? Check out the full review below…
Start Replay: “A New Hope”
Every time a new LEGO game rolls around I hope it will set itself apart from the countless other brick-built universes that have come before it: will a new iteration break the mould and evolve, and if so, will it result in a fresher experience? This was the question running through my mind when Tt Games announced their take on Star Wars: The Force Awakens – an overdue return to a universe that initial ignited their success with LEGO. However, despite my reservations, I’ve had more fun than a Stormtrooper at the annual costume party.
When given the opportunity to play a LEGO game with an original story versus that which follows the events of a familiar movie, I’ll always opt for the latter. There’s something irresistible about replaying a movie in adorable blocky form, whilst also enjoying the classic LEGO humour that comes alongside it. I get to compare the serious scenes with the funny transitions they make in-game. Provided you’ve already seen The Force Awakens, it’s genuinely hilarious to see the comedic amendments.
Unsurprisingly LEGO The Force Awakens takes place across the latest film, recreating all the important scenes in cutesy block form. Instead of one hub to access all levels, a galaxy map is provided to showcase all the different planets visited throughout the story. The beginning of the game picks up at the end of Return of the Jedi, filling in a few segments for newbies, whilst also chronicling some classic action that leads to the 7th instalment. Aside from ripping audio clips directly from the movies, actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Harrison Ford reprise their respective roles to voice additional dialogue. It was such a joy to see levels extended alongside new voice work by all-important cast members.
As far as gameplay alterations go, TT Games has clearly tweaked their creative outlook. Additions such as Multi-Builds, Blaster Battles and open-ended flying segments, all make for an experience that feels more grown up than previous entries. Whereas the LEGO series as a whole has been quite slow to introduce meaningful changes, LEGO The Force Awakens marks a bold new step for every new title moving forward.
Signified by a glowing bunch of bricks, Multi-Builds offer the chance to use one set of blocks to build a collection of different objects. Once the build button (circle on PS4) is held down, bright silhouettes appear to showcase each construct. Though some of these are simply there for pure fun, a lot of them play an important part in solving puzzles. It’s a neat feature that adds a bit more depth to each level’s layout.
Taking to the skies in any LEGO game has led to some pretty linear flight time, but TT Games has made an effort to open up air space. Though hand held flying segments still occur, there are now open-ended areas designed to give you more flexibility and freedom in the heat of battle. I could take time to live out my X-Wing pilot fantasies; zipping across Takodana whilst attempting to recreate Poe Dameron’s heroic fight against the resistance.
Of all the improvements and new features, Blaster Battles were easily my favourite. At specific moments throughout most levels a hectic gun fight will occur, leaving you the task to push through enemy defences one line at a time. Whilst the camera draws close to the action and pits you behind cover, you can spring out to take pot shots at the enemy, flanking and taking advantage of weaknesses in their defence. Diving into third-person as Han Solo and shooting the helmet off an unsuspecting Stormtrooper made me chuckle, and the fresh gameplay Blaster Battles presented caught me by surprise. If anything, I’d be interested to see what an entire third-person LEGO shoot ‘em up would look like.
Given I’m not a fan boy of the Star Wars universe, I was surprised by how much fun I ended up having playing inside its LEGO-ised world. It’s clear that its developer has listened carefully to the feedback of fans, understanding the need to push themselves into uncharted territory. As ever, their attention to detail is astounding and Star Wars fans will pick up on a lot of references. However, an official online co-op component is still sadly absent, and poses the question as to why Tt Games has yet to implement a seemingly simple feature. I want to play with my friends, dammit!