The block awakens.
There are a lot of LEGO video games. I have played almost all of the LEGO video games. I have grown tired of most of the LEGO video games. If there is one certainty in the gaming industry, it is that Madden drops a new game once a year, and there are a ton of games based on these popular blocks. For years TT Games has been a factory when it comes to pushing them out. Between three and four releases a year, which is kind of insane. It has become overkill, and I, like many other players, have felt the fatigue.
LEGO The Force Awakens feels different though. I can’t quite put my finger on all of the details, but it brings back the magic the series had when it was in its infancy. It is fun, intuitive, and absolutely gorgeous. Even for fans that have felt the burnout of all things LEGO, Force Awakens is worth checking out.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, PS3, 360, Wii U, Vita, 3DS
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Force Awakens looks and plays like any other in the series. The game follows the new Star Wars movie pretty much beat for beat, with a little throwback at the beginning to the original trilogy. Movie dialogue is mixed in with new lines, which is still a little jarring, but for the most part all of the story beats are here. Players are still tasked with solving puzzles, collecting studs, and of course the occasional vehicle level. The formula hasn’t changed much, but the execution has.
Probably one of the biggest changes is the constant evolution of directing the player on what to do. Past LEGO games suffered greatly from feeling obtuse in a lot of situations. I would find myself confused as to what to do. Force Awakens trims down levels to make them linear enough to follow, yet still feel open. The new cover mechanic also somehow works, Gears of War it is not, but popping up to grab a headshot on a Stormtrooper is still super satisfying.
Simplifying the game also helps. No longer are there a ton of suits or characters in any given level. Instead the game focuses on the action at hand. The new build mechanic allows for multiple ways to solve puzzles, and the new super meter adds personality to the characters, and an impressive way to wipe out the opposition. The flying levels are stellar. Zooming around space, taking down enemy ships, feels like classic StarFox, and it is glorious. Everything just feels more streamlined and fun in this iteration.
The game is simply stunning at times. This feels like the first in the series truly designed to take advantage of these new consoles. Everything is slick and super shiny, I was in awe at the giant space battles, and everything just has an outstanding level of detail. The audio is great, as per any Star Wars game, but the inconsistency of voice acting mixed with movie lines is still awkward more often that I would prefer. Still the presentation is stellar.
There is a lot of game here. Between the lengthy, eight hour campaign, the insane amount of unlockables, and ridiculous amount of characters, there is never a lack of anything to do. I could spend months tinkering around and still not even come close to getting 100% in this game. Thankfully it is also fun to do, unlike some previous LEGO games. Going back to levels never bothered me here, and the range of characters makes the Star Wars nerd in me jump for joy.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a much needed boost for the series. After Dimensions launched I thought all the standalone games would more or less be phoned in, but that is definitely not the case here. This has me excited for the next LEGO game, something I have not been able to say for years.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.