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Review

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

  • First Released Jun 27, 2016
    released
  • Reviewed Jun 27, 2016
  • PS4
Chris Damien on Google+

Rey of Sunshine.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a cultural juggernaut, but it isn't without its detractors. It may be a rollicking adventure, many say, but a lot of it feels like a retread. Characters, locations, and story beats echoed those of the very first Star Wars film, with even the movie's creators acknowledging that there were many (deliberate) similarities between the two.

Much the same can be said about Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As the newest entry in the long-running Lego series, there's more than a touch of the familiar about this game. It's gameplay, puzzles, and basic structure are all well worn, and even some of that trademark goofy Lego humor is starting to feel a little predictable. No surprises doesn't necessarily mean no fun, however. This game isn't a mold-breaker in the same way the superior Lego Dimensions was, but it delivers on its core promise of being an engaging, fun, and charming title that's imminently suitable for families. It's also goofy enough for adult fans of Star Wars to get a few giggles out of.

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens follows the plot of the movie closely, allowing you to play through many memorable sections from the film like the desert planet of Jakku, the lush forests of Takodana, the ground (and the skies) of Starkiller Base, and more. You can play as dozens of different characters from this movie and other Star Wars films, but for the bulk of your first run through of the game's story mode, you'll be in charge of key characters from The Force Awakens such as Rey, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Poe Dameron, and BB-8.

Befitting a title aimed at young children, character controls are simple, and with unlimited lives and immediate respawns, there's no real penalty for death. As is standard with the Lego games, many characters have unique abilities which are used to solve puzzles or access specific areas. Rey, for example, can use her staff as a lever to activate some switches, while Chewbacca is armed with explosives that can destroy certain structures.

None of it is too challenging; the game specifically tells you which characters to use to overcome obstacles, and even the more obtuse puzzles usually just involve finding the right object in the world to destroy in order to "build" a new Lego structure. But the fun--as in previous Lego games--is in the way you'll have to swap between multiple characters to achieve objectives, such as using BB-8 to maneuver a winch whilst regularly swapping out to Finn to build the rails for the winch to run on. Lego games are built for co-op enjoyment, and The Force Awakens is no different. The puzzles are just hard enough that younger players will require adult assistance to solve, making it an ideal game for some outstanding kid/grown-up game sessions.

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There’s also a new mechanic added to puzzle-solving--the ability to "choose" which Lego structures to build (and the order in which to build them) to solve some puzzles--which adds little to the overall experience. Despite the potential for interesting solutions or a greater variety of outcomes, this new mechanic usually just results in different animations that lead to the same conclusion. It's window dressing and adds rather little to the Lego formula.

Combat is the weaker half of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Most enemies in the game can be defeated through simple button-mashing, save for a few bosses that require some loosely timed quick time events to vanquish. There is one new addition to battles here: in some levels, characters can duck behind cover and shoot at enemies (like a Lego version of Gears of War). But the game's concessions to a younger audience make this addition challenge-free. Hitting the left trigger automatically targets an enemy, so there's never any need to actually aim.

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That formula may be well traveled by now, but it's still a pleasant one to experience, even though a lot of your enjoyment will depend on your affinity for the Star Wars universe (and The Force Awakens in particular). "Charm" is a word oft-used to describe the Lego series, and it's still appropriate here. Simple though they might be, I still found delight in many of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens' levels. It was exciting flying Poe Dameron's X-Wing above the lakes of Takodana and over Starkiller Base's thermal oscillator, dogfighting against waves of TIE fighters amidst chatter from my fellow pilots. I also loved controlling both Rey and the stormtrooper she Force-controlled in the movie to escape her imprisonment from the First Order.

And while the goofiness in which the Lego games approach their source material has now become somewhat rote, it still elicited several laughs from me. It was funny to hear some ambient chatter from two stormtroopers about one of them achieving a 3 out of 10 ranking in a recent target practice session (a new record, apparently), and I laughed out loud when Kylo Ren, during that pivotal scene in the snowy forest, bemoans not simply walking over and picking up that fallen lightsaber. Trying to use the Force, he says, was just "cooler." And I swear there was a gag directly referencing a "secret" cameo within the film (that is, a cinematic spy who played a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens). It's little asides like this that make the game enjoyable for grown-up gamers despite the simplicity of play.

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There are even several extra levels that expand on the events from the film, including a pre-film timeline rescue of Admiral Ackbar from the First Order's clutches and another detailing exactly how Han Solo and Chewie secured those Rathtars in the first place. For Star Wars fans, these are exciting (and apparently canonical) additions, and it's given more authenticity by the inclusion of nearly the entire cast of The Force Awakens, who recorded new lines of dialogue for the game. It's wonderful if you're a Star Wars completionist, but it's also annoying as these new, non-film levels are hard to access. They're locked away until you earn the requisite number of gold bricks within the game, so you're going to need to play a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens to experience them all.

Playing a lot of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens won't be a chore, though, especially if you do have a younger partner to take with you on your galactic journey. These Lego games are confectionaries now, little candies that don't have a huge amount of substance but are enjoyable nonetheless. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't really take you to a new galaxy far, far away, but it's still a pleasant journey.

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The Good
Great use of the Star Wars universe
Kid-friendly gameplay
Some genuinely funny moments
The Bad
Extra levels will take some effort to unlock
Not much different to the typical Lego game formula
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Randy completed the story and played a few of the unlockable side missions in his roughly eight hours of play with Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. GameSpot was provided a copy of the game from Warner Bros. for review.
38 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for bdiccus
bdiccus

I'm guessing you, the reviewer, played very little of the game because you failed to mention some serious game breaking bugs and glitches in this title. So much so, I was shocked that TT Games let this title release. Don't know what I'm talking about? Try playing The Finale in freeplay mode against Kylo Ren. The quick time events don't translate well to free play and the game get stuck when Kylo force-freezes one player while the other player runs around a glitched out Kylo. I found that tossing a grenade at him invokes a hilarious animation out of Kylo but the other player is still force stuck! Oh and don't get me started on AI... or lack thereof. Ugh. But with all that said, you stating that this lacks much originality at the same time you mention it for kids is baffling. First, kids require repetition to learn anything and second if it's for a kid then it's probably NEW and NOT tired and old. Consider the audience.

Avatar image for facts23
facts23

i played maybe 2 or 3 of these lego games. i guess indiana jones and a very, very bad one on the wii u. the style of these lego games, the whole approach to pack licenses into lego is not for me. i will never buy a lego game again. but it seems there are countless dudes and dudesses who still think a lego game is a great thing.

Avatar image for kenundrum7
kenundrum7

No Lego game is great. They are all mediocre. So a 7 is to be expected. Cute, mildly fun, but no real replay value. The review seems right.

Avatar image for RobDev
RobDev

@kenundrum7: No replay value? The game is designed to be constantly replayed.

Avatar image for kenundrum7
kenundrum7

@RobDev: Yea, but it isn't fun enough to actually do it. Going through the story the first time to see how they interpreted it into the Lego style is only a one play through type game.

Avatar image for fanirama
fanirama

Wow. Based on the review the score seemed more like 8 to 8.5 - really had no complaints as such. 7 seems a lower score now..

But gamespot reviews always depend on payments or something seeing how MGS gets a ridiculous 10 while GTA doesn't, the same old Call of Duty or BF gets high scores etc.

I really liked the earlier GS reviewers like Greg Kasavin and others who gave meaningful justified scores... rather than these new lot who're just all over the place.

Avatar image for westsiderz28
westsiderz28

same old same old move along

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

Game should lose a point for pimping out their DLC. Still can't believe Sony paid for exclusive LEGO DLC. This is the first LEGO game my kids and I won't be playing. I guess when Sony said they will invest heavily in paid exclusive stuff they weren't kidding but, this is just stupid. I mean who pays for exclusive DLC for a LEGO game? I own a PS4 but can't support this kind of crap. Pay for full on exclusive or leave the game the F alone.

Avatar image for Wild360
Wild360

@bdrtfm: Just buy the game and not the dlc.

Avatar image for biggamerdude
BigGamerDude

@bdrtfm: It's business.

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

@biggamerdude: You spelled "bullshit" wrong.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

@bdrtfm: Dude, it's lego. Who cares?

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

@Bread_or_Decide: I do. My kids and I love and have played every LEGO game on Xbox ever made. They don't like playing on the PS4. So now I'm supposed to buy the PS4 version and scrounge up 2 more DS4's and make them play it on a system they don't like just so we get the full game? Either that or I have to explain to them they have to miss out on some very good parts of the game because: Sony. It's BS. These games are for kids and their parents to play together. Not for some console war, make us feel special by keeping content from other gamers bs.

Avatar image for SolidSnake35
SolidSnake35

@bdrtfm: You could buy some DS4s and subject your kids to a console they don't like (oh the humanity of that) or you could enjoy the majority of the game and forget about the DLC. I understand taking a stand on your principles but there's no way you need to have a serious chat with your kids about Sony's business practices. If your kids love the game, let them play it.

Also, why would Sony paying for full exclusivity be any better? Then you'd get nothing without buying those DS4s...

Avatar image for rikku45
rikku45

7/10 too much lego.

Avatar image for biggamerdude
BigGamerDude

@rikku45: keep that meme on ign.

Avatar image for TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@Metallicwolf29: Lay off the meth.

Avatar image for Mudvayne84
Mudvayne84

@Metallicwolf29: Movie was so much garbage. I wonder if my little cousins will like this game

Avatar image for TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@Mudvayne84: You too.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

@Metallicwolf29: no

Avatar image for pylo
Pylo

The amount of times is see "Not much different to the typical Lego game formula" in a Lego videogame review... . They really need to find a way to spice up the formula

Avatar image for bdrtfm
BDRTFM

@pylo: They really need to get back to the way the older games played like Star Wars Complete Saga. That game was excellent. Now its fewer but larger levels. You have to complete story mode before unlocking most of the red bricks and one of each character type needed. Way too many times races and stuff etc.

Avatar image for htp_75
htp_75

Unless this game has problems like HFTR did, with Glitches/Bugs/FRPS then, I dont see a problem.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@biggamerdude:I disagree with you and all of those who agreed with you.

Looking at the context of how the player unlocks the levels and the content of the levels, I consider this to be a justified complaint. In my eyes, this is a cheap way for the game's designers to inflate the game's replayability.

For anyone else reading this, never give game-makers the benefit of the doubt so easily when they put price tags on their products.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@rglgathrawn @Lord_Sesshy:

I really dislike how you try to say that the reviewer had said things that he didn't say. I don't like Ramsay here, but I really dislike the likes of you who put things that others did not say into their mouths.

Having read the review, I believe that the dude is implying that the so-called "extra" levels should have been included in the list of levels by default.

Ramsay is not saying that there should be a price tag, but rather that they should have been available from the on-set in the first place, i.e. no-caveat, no-restrictions gratification.

With that said, I would say that this is just a cheap-ass way by the developers to stretch the replayability of the game.

Avatar image for rglgathrawn
RGLGAThrawn

So replayability and working hard to achieve new content is a negative now? Maybe you'd have preferred spending $15 in DLC to get insta-gratification. And not being too different from other games in the series isn't a complaint if the gameplay is actually fun, which this review claims it is. I don't think GameSpot ever used that in a Mario review and those games are just as samey-samey as LEGO games.

Avatar image for buzzwah
buzzwah

I preordered

Avatar image for rasterror
rasterror

I'm a huge suckers, I mean fan of the Lego games so I'll be getting this this week. The demo was pretty good and seems to offer more variety than some games, especially Lego Avengers.

Avatar image for wasteland2058
Wasteland2058

I love these lego games

Avatar image for biggamerdude
BigGamerDude

I'm sorry but "extra levels take effort to unlock" isn't a complaint.

Avatar image for sam13800
sam13800

@biggamerdude: agreed. i actually enjoy something extra that takes time to work towards as a reward in these games

Avatar image for Lord_Sesshy
Lord_Sesshy

@biggamerdude: They probably prefer to pay to unlock them.

Avatar image for TheWatcher000
TheWatcher000

@Lord_Sesshy: There really are wankers out there who love to fellate their Microtransactions, because they are too lazy to work for a reward.

Avatar image for snugglebear
snugglebear

Yeah, everyone pretty much knows what they're signing up for when they buy a Lego game, these days. I'm looking forward to it and I hope they put some thought into releasing a Lego City remaster so they can give us a sequel.

Avatar image for omegashenron500
omegashenron500

Great for "couch" co-op with girlfriend, friends, kids. It's sad to see offline co-op/ splitscreen dying. Sure we still have some Borderlands, Diablo, etc, but nice to have new additions, even if they aren't... new. Solid as LEGO games always been, if you know what you're buying.

Avatar image for dhaynes25
dhaynes25

@omegashenron500: Same here. the wife and I have a game we can play together

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens More Info

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  • First Released Jun 27, 2016
    released
    • 3DS
    • Android
    • + 9 more
    • iOS (iPhone/iPad)
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Wii U
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens the latest LEGO game will provide "additional insight" about The Force Awakens and its characters
    7.9
    Average Rating37 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Developed by:
    TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
    Published by:
    Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros., Feral Interactive
    Genre(s):
    Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, Mild Language