Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for well over a decade and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks the return of the long-running beloved series. Since there was a long break in the “Star Wars” series between “The Revenge of the Sith” and “The Force Awakens,” there hasn’t been a new LEGO Star Wars video game in five years. The series is back and brought the signature charm, humor and action that we love it for.
LEGO video games have tackled plenty of blockbuster movie franchises from “Indiana Jones” to “The Lord of the Rings” to “Jurassic Park.” Star Wars was the first movie adaptation in its long history. It has always presented these classic stories in a clever and family-friendly manner. It’s the perfect way for kids to experience the movies, even if the movies may be too mature for the kids to handle.
The movie “The Force Awakens” had a fair amount of violence in it, and “LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” makes it suitable for younger audiences. Since all the characters are depicted as toy block characters, that removes blood and death from the equation.
The gameplay of the LEGO series was in need of a rebuilding phase. The same old formula was injected into so many of these games, that they became tired after playing for so long. LEGO SW:TFA adds new features to the gameplay. These games have always been logic puzzle games. Different characters in the vast cast have various abilities that need to be used to get to the end of a level. Characters break down objects that can be rebuilt into helpful ones that can clear a path or reach a platform.
New mechanics adds to the brain teasers. Some LEGO piles can be rebuilt into different structures, and then broken down again called multi-builds. This can lead to some seriously head-scratching moments. This is a game aimed at children, and I struggled with some of the puzzle solutions.
But not all features that have been added improve the experience. Cover shooting sections are a new part of the game. Characters can pop out of cover in these areas to take out storm troopers or shoot objects like a typical third-person shooter. LEGO games have never been about the shooting, and these cover sections show why that is. The shooting is clunky. It’s not that these sections are difficult, but they bring the progression and puzzle solving to a halt while the characters blast their way out of a scenario.
Since X-wing battles are a major part of The Force Awakens, air combat has been improved and are some of the best parts of the game. Piloting Poe Dameron’s custom X-Wing is a blast as he destroys Starkiller Base or protects Maz’s temple. These parts are as satisfying as they are action packed.
LEGO games always have a huge amount of value because of the number of unlockable characters (over 200) and vehicles. LEGO The Force Awakens adds even more unlockables thanks to extra missions. These are missions that star the cast of “Episode VII” but depicts events from the movie that happened off camera. These are a nice treat for big fans of the movies.
Finishing the story mode will only unlock between 25% and 30% of everything there is to see in the game. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of trying to unlock just one more minikit or finish one more optional quest. It will probably take roughly 40-to-50 hours to complete 100% of LEGO The Force Awakens, but I’ll leave that to my son ☺ .
From a technical standpoint, there’s room for improvement for the next LEGO Star Wars games. Local co-op is the only way to play with a friend since online co-op isn’t supported. There are a few bugs that can be ironed out like hard crashes and annoyances like characters becoming unresponsive or not being able to interact with blocks. These could be fixed with post-launch updates, and hopefully they are.
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