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Review: LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

0

BB-H8te

Controversial opinion incoming -- I didn't think The Force Awakens was the best Star Wars.

I know, I know. Maybe it isn't as controversial to say as it was back in December, but anyone who sees it is seemingly contractually obligated to sing its praises because of how cool and progressive it is. Yet, I had a few issues with the film that prevented it from ascending into the pantheon of greatness with Empire Strikes Back.

It was a great action film though, and the LEGO rendition reflects that.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (3DS, PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Released: June 28, 2016
MSRP: $29.99 (3DS, Vita), $49.99 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), $59.99 (PS4, Wii U, Xbox One)

I'm going to stop right now and recommend that if you're a diehard fan of Force Awakens, the game will immediately appeal to you. If you thought that because the project only focuses on one film, not several (like past entries that encompassed trilogies) that it wouldn't have enough stories to tell, you'd be wrong. Take the tale of how C3PO got his shiny new red arm for example (which matches up with the comic, and is also a Sony console bonus, by the way), or why the First Order was ready to pounce on Jakku at the start of the movie, and you'll have an idea of what it's trying to do.

Like the fact that Traveller's Tales shifted to full-on voice acting instead of the gibberish. There was a time when that was all we needed, and the original fully-voiced releases bordered on "we cut this directly from the film" territory, but over time it has improved. With LEGO Force Awakens, the voice-overs allow for more comedic situations on top of the slapstick and situational routines that the developer has already nailed for the past decade. A lot of it is fanservice -- both for the source material and LEGO -- but it's lovingly done. Basically everyone from the film reprises their roles, which is of particular note because Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma) actually has a larger role in the game than she does in the flick.

Getting back to the expanded stories angle, you'll see things like Han and Chewie searching for those big tentacle monsters (Rathars) you see in the movie. I mean, just don't go in expecting big reveals like the identity of Snoke, and you'll be happy. Its numerous gaidens are tastefully done to the point where they're giving you, well, a taste of new storylines, without going overboard.

Of course, there's lots of Scooby-Doo moments inside of those revelations. These games have more become novels than anything -- their own art form that doesn't stray too far from the source, getting the point across while also injecting some humor. Jokes range from things so silly that even kids won't laugh at them (trombone-playing Ewoks) to delightful revisionist history, like Luke giving Vader a crudely drawn crayon portrait to entice him to unite against Palpatine.

There is one exception, though -- the prologue. Players inexplicably have to relive the Battle of Endor, which I estimate maybe 1% of the entire human population who has access to a television probably hasn't seen by now. And it's not just a quick movie explaining how Luke bested the Emperor and the Rebels basically took down the Empire -- it's a near 30-minute retread of past events, which were already depicted in a LEGO Star Wars game. It's not excruciatingly bad or anything, it's just odd padding. From there you'll jump 30 years later to Poe's POV, right before the start of Awakens.

Note that this is still a family game. For most of the adventure you'll press a button to build a contraption that will solve the very light puzzles in your way, mash the attack button to destroy everything, and collect little bits to unlock more upgrades or vehicles. Death is merely a momentary fleeting inconvenience, as you'll lose a little currency (which is used to buy enhancements that you don't need, because again, death is meaningless), and that's it. Puzzles usually amount to "build this thing to collect the water, then press this thing to dump it on a fire." Playing with a friend is especially key to circumventing these dull passages, so you can tackle them twice as fast (plus, the AI can be painfully unresponsive).

You have to give this version credit though as it tries to iterate a bit. The new cover mechanic brings me back to my days playing the relatively obscure Star Wars: Rebel Assault series, in that it's basic, but functional and fun. It also looks great on current-gen systems, providing a cool-looking sheen on the figures that make them look cartoony, but in the style of actual, living LEGOs. I can see why kids love this series so much given how authentic it is. Authenticity, mind, that is marred by occasional glitches and re-appearing objects (none of which have been game-breaking for me).

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens still feels limited in nature, but it's a better, more pointed effort than Marvel's Avengers, which was all over the place. It might feel a little more stretched if you didn't go bonkers over Abrams' film, but if you're really anxious to hang out with Finn and the gang again, this is a good opportunity.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviewed by Chris Carter

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures


 



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