No. 1 LEGO video game franchise is back
Return to a galaxy far, far away and embark on a LEGO-ized journey through the blockbuster film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks the return of the No. 1 LEGO video game franchise, and lets you relive Rey and Finn’s epic struggle against the powerful First Order—infused from end to end with LEGO’s hilarious wit and signature charm.
To entice fans further, LEGO SW:TFA goes above and beyond the feature film by offering multiple exclusive, previously untold tales that explores events leading up to the film. New features also spice up the tried and true LEGO video game formula, including brand new Blaster Battles, high-speed space flight gameplay, and Multi-Builds. Additionally, the game brings back classic LEGO co-operatively multiplayer, letting you play and enjoy the entire adventure with a partner. And, like all previous LEGO video games, the gameplay is extremely accessible and the difficulty very forgiving, making this an ideal game for children and grown-ups to enjoy together.
Platform: PlayStation 4 / PlayStation 3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Nintendo 3DS
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Modes: Single-player, local multiplayer (2 players)
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
See the film, then play the game
Similar to previous LEGO games based on licensed movie properties, like LEGO Jurassic World and LEGO Harry Potter, if you’ve seen the source material you’ll get a lot more out of playing LEGO SW:TFA. The game is essentially an interactive highlight reel of the most memorable scenes from the film—all told through a LEGO lens—and a good deal of fun is seeing how the moments get remixed with hilarious LEGO twists. I won’t spoil any surprises here, but I will say that jokes are plentiful and downright sidesplitting, so expect to laugh helplessly all the way through.
To a lesser degree, those who have seen Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi will also have an advantage, since your very first mission (a Prologue) takes place during the Battle of Endor, complete with adorably cute LEGO Ewoks and pint-sized AT-ATs built from bricks. There’s also an entertaining boss battle against The Emperor, where you play as Luke Skywalker and a conflicted Darth Vader who turns on his master to save his son, complete with numerous LEGO jokes that lighten up this emotional scene. This prologue chapter wasn’t necessary to set-up the events of The Force Awakens, but it acts as a nice bridge between episodes, and provides a fun opportunity to play as classic characters like Princess Leia, R2-D2, Wicket, and more.
Original dialogue from the film cast
Fans of the film will be happy to know that key members of the theatrical cast recorded original lines just for the game. Voices you’ll hear include Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), and other top stars from the film. Many of these new lines are pretty silly, like Han Solo constantly asking folks to feed Chewbacca a “Wookie cookie,” and you get a strong sense by their enthusiastic deliveries that the actors had a great time recording them. Another really cool aspect is that each of the game’s chapters are introduced with a classic Star Wars text crawl, complete with a field of stars backdrop and the film’s iconic opening theme music.
Backstory missions expand the Star Wars story
Playing through LEGO’s version of The Force Awakens is a total blast, but it may not even be the most enticing reason to pick up the game. Even more tempting, perhaps, are the half dozen all-new adventures that take place between Episodes VI and VII, which incredibly enough are considered official Star Wars canon. In these missions you’ll learn the intriguing backstory behind Han Solo’s rathtar hunt, see how Lor San Tekka discovered the map piece leading to Luke Skywalker, take part in Poe Dameron’s daring rescue of Admiral Ackbar, plus gain insight into the First Orders’ ruthless hunt for knowledge leading to the whereabouts of the Resistance hideout, and Skywalker. All these untold tales strike a good balance between appeasing fans of Star Wars and the LEGO video games, giving us enough juicy insights into the new movie and its characters, while layering in just the right amount of LEGO humour.
New gameplay features
Over the last decade, TT Games has slowly been improving upon the original LEGO video game formula, and that trend continues with LEGO SW:TFA, though the jump seems a bit bigger this time around. The flashiest new feature is the exciting and intense Blaster Battles that add a Gears of War-like cover system to the game’s more thrilling set piece battles, including the epic confrontations on Endor (Ep. VI) and Takodana (Ep. VII). These moments are action-packed and have an eye-popping cinematic flair, but the one drawback is that every time you spring out of cover your reticle auto-locks to the nearest enemy. Younger players are sure to appreciate this targeting support, but more experienced gamers may feel Blaster Battles are a bit too paint-by-numbers.
Another welcome new feature is the enhanced Multi-Builds system that gives you multiple construction options when solving puzzles. From the same pile of bricks you’re now able to create 2-3 different objects, with each build helping you to solve the puzzle in varying ways. During one puzzle, I was required to navigate a winch back and forth through a ceiling rail system containing a few gaps, but I only had enough LEGO blocks to fill one hole at a time. To complete the task, I had to build and rebuild the same set of LEGO blocks several times, each build moving the winch further along its intended path. Occasionally, some build configurations weren’t required to complete the puzzle; instead, they led me to areas containing bonus collectibles, like LEGO studs and Mini-kits. Multi-Builds don’t radically shake up the core LEGO gameplay, but I did appreciate how they add new and interesting ways to solve familiar puzzles, and it was nice to get rewarded for experimenting with different builds.
Past LEGO games have featured flying segments, but none come close to the polish and variety found in LEGO SW: TFA. There are some genuinely thrilling, high-speed flight missions starring a range of characters piloting iconic vehicles, including Rey and Finn’s desperate attempt to flee Jakku in the Millennium Falcon, and Poe’s action-packed aerial assault on the First Order’s Starkiller Base in his X-wing. Flight missions come in various shapes and sizes, including on-rail shooters at breakneck speeds, mid- and large-sized arena-based battles, and intense dogfights in space. While these sections can be a blast to play, it’s too bad that your objective never goes beyond a simplistic destroy X number of TIE Fighters or fire missiles to blow up a certain amount of whatever.
Hundreds of characters and collectibles
A core feature of LEGO video games are their vast number of unlockables, and here again in LEGO SW: TFA shines. There are more than 200 collectible/customizable characters, 80 playable vehicles/creatures, and tons of bonus goodies ranging from Gold Bricks, to Red Bricks, to Mini-kits, to Carbonites. Even after completing the main story, the game’s progress tracker said I was less than 50% complete, indicating that I still had plenty of unlockables still to discover. I liked that the game includes so many characters from the new movie—from obvious headliners like Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren, to characters with lesser roles in the film, like Unkar Plutt, Bala-Tik, and the Kanjiklub Gang. My dream of playing as BB-8 came true, and I’m happy to say he’s just as adorably cute (and useful) in the game as he is in the movie. Since the Prologue mission takes place during the original trilogy timeline, plenty of classic characters are also included, such as Yoda, Wicket, Anakin Skywalker, and classic versions of Han Solo and Princess Leia. All in all, there’s enough collectibles to keep you busy for weeks, and considering how enjoyable the game experience is, there’s a good chance you’ll want to revisit chapters long after the end credits roll.
Team up with family or friends
LEGO SW: TFA is fun to play on its own, but it’s much better when you bring along a buddy. The game features seamless drop-in/drop-out co-operative multiplayer, and TT Games did an excellent job this time around ensuring both players have meaningful objectives to pursue at all time. I’ve always felt that LEGO video games are designed specifically for adult/child co-operative play, and this game is no exception. Puzzles are just challenging enough that a child may need a grown-up’s help to solve, and getting through some of the more complex flying sequences is better done in pairs. You won’t have to worry too much about the difficulty though, since this game embraces the series’ trademark lenient gameplay offering unlimited lives, immediate respawns, and virtually no penalty for dying.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a superb addition to TT Games’ long-standing video game series, offering hours and hours of entertainment for Star Wars and LEGO fans alike. I really enjoyed revisiting the incredible story of Star Wars: The Force Awakens through the lens of LEGO’s signature humour, and it was equally as exciting experiencing the all-new adventures that shed light on key events leading up the film. Having the star-studded cast record new dialogue lines is a major plus, as is having the ability to unlock more than 200 characters from the latest film, and original trilogy. There are few nagging technical issues, such the odd time the game froze on me, but overall it was a great experience that I’d recommend to gamers young and older.
+ Fun to revisit The Force Awakens with LEGO
+ All-new Star Wars adventures which are canonical
+ Film cast recorded original lines for the game
+ Lots of genuinely funny moments
+ Great game to play co-operatively with younger gamers
+ Tons of replay value
+ LEGO BB-8 is too cute
– Jokes won’t be as funny for those who haven’t seen The Force Awakens and the original trilogy
– Occasional glitches
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.4/5 (88%)
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