A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the latest LEGO video game, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They didn’t have to ask me twice as the kids absolutely love both LEGO & Star Wars, and the two most played games the kids own are LEGO Marvel Superheroes (300+ hours) and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (200+ hours).
Traveller Tales, the developers behind the LEGO video games, really know their stuff. Their games work for kids in as much as they aren’t incredibly difficult to complete the story mode but also work for adults as the humour is properly multi-layered and a lot of the unlockables are utterly fiendish to unlock, which means there is plenty of challenge for us older players.
Travellers Tales also know how to keep things fresh by constantly evolving the gameplay in successive LEGO games. The player might not notice this from game to game but if you were to fire up something like the LEGO Indiana Jones Trilogy, you would definitely notice it is a lot more basic than the more recent games like LEGO Marvel Avengers or Jurassic World.
LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens takes this development on a notch in several ways, the most notable is when you now break something up and get the jiggling bricks that indicate you have something to build, you now sometimes get a choice in what you build. One puzzle early on requires you to pick which of the three options you need to build first, then second and finally last in order to solve the puzzle. I must admit the first time I attempted it, I didn’t notice the new build mechanism and sat there flummoxed until the 9 year old put me right.
The first level actually happens during the events of Return of the Jedi, and right from the start you’re introduced to unlockable characters, in this instance Wicket the Ewok as you battle Stormtroopers on the forest moon of Endor. You soon end up with Han Solo, the kids favourite, in a Scout Walker, shooting at stuff, and everything is awesome (ahem).
From LEGO Batman 3 onwards, there have been arcade shooty bits in LEGO games, and this is no exception, the first one sees you piloting the Millennium Falcon on it’s run to destroy the Death Star at the end of the first level. It’s visually great to look at and as always it’s wonderful to see an iconic scene from a movie replayed in LEGO.
After this first level/prologue, we’re in to the Force Awakens proper. We found a few more enhancements to the gameplay in the first few levels, most notably the cover/shoot system that brings more traditional shooter elements that adults might recognise from games that are unsuitable for little ones. It didn’t take our 9 year to twig how it all worked though, so that will stand him in good stead for later on in (his gaming) life.
One of the fun parts of any LEGO game are the unlockable characters, and in keeping with the more recent games, The Force Awakens has loads- over 200 apparently. I say apparently because we’re nowhere near that yet but the kids are still playing it well after actually completing the main story mode. The characters range from Darth Maul, through to just about every possible Stormtrooper imaginable, Tuskan Raiders, tons of different Droids, several Wookies and, well you get the idea.
All the LEGO games we’ve played recently have been great fun, even Jurassic World was pretty good, but this brings the Star Wars franchise right up to date with the latest gameplay enhancements that Travellers Tales has implemented. It’s been over 5 years since LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars came out, and it’s high time that the series was given a sequel that built on the more modern LEGO video games and this is that game!
LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens is available on PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita, Xbox One®, Xbox 360®, Wii™U, Nintendo 3DS™ and Windows PC