Have you ever realized that the LEGO games keep getting worse and worse? I don’t know about you, but after suffering through last year’s LEGO Avengers, I was ready to call the franchise quits for good. The gameplay had gotten stale; the jokes bad, and the simplicity mind-numbing... but that has all changed in LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Developer Traveler’s Tales has finally given the LEGO franchise the serious kick in the butt that it’s needed for the past couple of years, and the result is a game which would be more aptly titled LEGO Star Wars: The Fun Reawakens.
Let’s just say that if you’re a fan of either LEGO or Star Wars, you’re going to love this game from the moment you boot it up. It improves upon past LEGO games in so many ways, and the complaints really are minor. It’s still an overall simple experience, but this time it’s a worthwhile one, especially if you have a co-op partner who is just as into Star Wars or LEGO as you are.
The biggest improvement in TFA is undoubtedly the action. Star Wars is known for action-packed blaster battles, exhilarating dogfights and edge-of-your-seat lightsaber duels... and LEGO is not. With that being said, Traveler’s Tales has figured out how to marry the fast-paced action of Star Wars and the fun simplicity of the LEGO games, and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air. Blaster battles are now cover-based and feature brilliant usage of a cinematic camera, and dogfighting in X-Wings and the Millenium Falcon had me wishing Traveler’s Tales would take over development on the next Rogue Squadron game... it’s that good! Fighting with a lightsaber is still fairly simple, but the fact that each of the over 200 (!) unique characters you get to play has their own individual special power made combat feel fun rather than boring, especially if you’re playing with a friend.
Another new feature is what’s known as “multi-faceted building.” You know how in previous LEGO games, you had to destroy objects and then rebuild them to solve a puzzle? In this game, there are many different solutions to these puzzles, as you can build multiple different objects. This adds a few more layers of depth to a series of games which have been growing increasingly stale. There are still some frustratingly simple puzzles that become a chore simply because you have to keep repeating them over and over, but the general uniqueness of each encounter (combat or non) makes dealing with these annoyances worth it.
As far as the eight hour story goes, you won’t simply be retreading the events of the movie, but actually picking up in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The best part about this? All of these events are canon! That’s right, the devs were given permission by Lucasfilm itself to expand upon some of the questions raised in the movie and answer them through gameplay (such as how did Luke’s location get leaked?), so TFA is worth playing just for that fact alone. What’s even better, the movie’s actors reprise their roles in the game, so you’ll be listening to the likes of real Star Wars actors such as Harrison Ford as you play!
All in all, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a must-play for any fan of LEGO and certainly any fan of Star Wars! Traveler’s Tales really knocked it out of the park, and I’m actually excited to see what’s in store for the future!