Two mammoth empires are joining together to make something big for gamers.
The result? LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens for multiple gaming platforms.
TT Games has once again fused their LEGO game license with a popular movie license. But is this something the British video game company can build into something huge? Let's dump out the box and take a look at the pieces.
“One thing about 'Star Wars' that I'm really proud of is that it expands the imagination. That's why I like the 'Star Wars' toys.” - George Lucas
First, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts off with the Battle of Endor from "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi." It's a bit odd, but it works. This prologue reacquaints the player not only with old familiar ‘break and build” mechanic the LEGO games are known for, but it also introduces the player to some of the new game mechanics like Blaster Battle. The Blaster Battle sections are effectively cover-based shooting galleries. Your characters hide behind cover and pop up to aim at and blast bad guys. They add a bit of fun, challenge and break up the sameness of the levels.
From there, it moves into "The Force Awakens" story proper and adds the cute LEGO-game style of humor. For example, almost every time Han Solo is about to do something impossible, his character knowingly gives a cocky wink complete with a "ting!" sound effect. On one level of the Starkiller base, instead of breaking down a door, Finn accidentally breaks down the whole wall - which reveals a bunch of stormtroopers in swim trunks relaxing in a hot tub.
“The thing about 'Star Wars' is that every single person is important. Even though Rey is a big role, everyone influences everyone. If that wasn't so, why would so many people remember Admiral Ackbar?” - Daisy Ridley
In addition to the main story, "The Force Awakens" has many side stories that fill in some blanks and add more for the characters to do. One mission has Poe Dameron rescuing Admiral Ackbar from the First Order. Another has Han Solo and Chewbacca capturing the rathtars they had on their ship. It's small touches like this that really gives the game a sense of being -- something more than just a movie tie-in.
And Travellers Tales even goes beyond that. They got the actual actors from the movies to voice the characters, instead of just swiping lines from the movie. All of these side missions required new dialogue. And we're talking the big names (ie. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley).
“Acting in 'Star Wars' I felt like a raisin in a giant fruit salad, and I didn't even know who the cantaloupes were." - Mark Hamill”
As fun as LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, it does have problems. I've had quite the share of bugs with this one. Twice, I've had boss characters stop interacting with the game, preventing me from finishing levels. On one boss, I got down to the last section of health, only for him to suddenly stand there and pivot doing nothing. He was completely impervious to anything I did to him. Mildly annoying, but easily fixable by restarting the level. On the other hand, I have had the game completely freeze and then crash to the desktop twice. These two major bugs happened in the same hub world of Takodana, where Maz Kanata's castle is. Both times it happened as I had characters flying vehicles over the water.
Another thing that just bugged me personally is that instead of one hub world, the game was broken out into several hub worlds. While it is kind of neat to be able to explore the different worlds, I spent a lot of time waiting for each of them to load. Plus, some are very massive. I think the Jakku alone can take the better part of an hour to complete if you want to try and break open each LEGO breakable.
And then there is the fact that there is still downloadable content waiting to be released. Needless to say, this will be one I'll be playing on and off for a while.
With new gameplay mechanics to keep the game fresh and fun, topped with a healthy helping of fanservice LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, just like its movie namesake, is a lot to get excited for. Unfortunately, there are some major bugs that mar an otherwise awesome game. Despite the bugs, I kept coming back for more. I give it a 4 out of 5.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is rated E10+ for Everyone 10 years and older for Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, and Mild Language by the Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB).
For more information see the official LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens web page.