LEGO Star Wars Force Awakens Review
LEGO games are LEGO games…they rarely change and depending on which franchise is be adapted, the game could be hit or miss. When I had the chance to finally sit down with the full The Force Awakens package, I was unsure of what I was going to get. Sure, the demo I played at the launch event was a lot of fun, but would that translate to the whole game?
A Complete Overhaul
When you boot up LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens and begin playing through any of the 10 main chapters, you quickly realize that things are very different. The HUD is different, how you interact with various puzzles is different. It’s almost all different, and in the best possible way. The old formula had run its course 2 or 3 games ago already, but with the Force Awakens, it is new.
The first obvious change is to the HUD. Everything has been overhauled to create a much more attractive look. While this does not actually impact game play that much, it shows that Travelers Tales is ready to innovate and do things differently. If nothing else, this would have been considered a huge change for the company.
However, that wasn’t all that got overhauled. The biggest new addition to LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the multibuilds. Multi builds are a great new innovation to the LEGO franchise, and while I feel it could have been better – indications on what I should build first when collectibles are at stack – overall, they add a lot to what LEGO has already, especially when it comes to puzzles.
In previous LEGO games, you break blocks, find the ones you need to build a contraption, build it, and finish the puzzle. With multibuilds – the ability to turn one pile of bricks into two or three different contraptions – now allows for more in depth puzzles. You’ll need to build contraption 3, before doing 1, and finishing with 2. Do them in the wrong order and you won’t be able to complete the puzzle.
These puzzles are not hard, but they are different which is nice. In a few situations, however, I wish the game gave you an indication that collectible was near. In so many situations, I had the option to build 1 of 2 contraptions with my pile of blocks. I build the one I needed to progress, but then a cut scene pulled me away from that area and I missed out on a collectible. Since you play the levels more than once, it isn’t a huge problem. I still see it as an oversight however.
Good LEGO Charm, Accurate Portrayal
The worst thing about LEGO games is that they often just do shot for shot remakes of various parts of popular movies. This is the case for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but Travelers Tales have added other side missions and a prologue that doesn’t come directly from the Force Awakens cinematic experience. So even though you know what you are playing each time you enter a chapter, there are 8-10 other experiences outside what you know, that fill in backstories you might not otherwise have seen.
This really makes LEGO Star Wars appealing to the wider Star Wars audience. Not only can you play through the Force Awakens, but you get to do numerous side missions and quests that will bring you to multiple planets. Often, these missions will require flying, something that has also been dramatically improved in The Force Awakens.
I have seen LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens get many bad scores, with people citing numerous level breaking bugs that ultimately force the player to quit the level they are playing to start over again. I never encountered any bugs while I played through the game on Xbox One; the only minor problem I ever found was some serious frame rate issues when running around the resistance base.
The only other major problem I had with this latest title was the lack of save points in the middle of levels. To be fair, no level took me more than 30 minutes, but having that piece of mind is always nice. Bring it back Travelers Tales!
Any LEGO fan or Star Wars fan really needs to pick up this title. For those saying, “Once you have played one, you have played them all!” should grab a copy and see all the wonderful changes the developers have brought to the franchise. Once again, LEGO games are on top of the film-to-games genre, and if they continue to innovate like this, they will hold that spot for a long time!