High-quality LEGO game that brings the Star Wars experience to life – and isn’t afraid to make fun of itself.
I’ve been waiting for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a while now. I first heard about this game during a visit to my local GameStop. They had an elaborate countdown timer stationed near the checkout line, and it was about 19 days until the release. I was a little sad to see that the Wii U only had a regular version (unlike the special versions for PS4 and XBOX One), but I was still excited for the game.
LEGO games have always had a great sense of humor, and I was ready to see how that humor translated to the The Force Awakens. I really enjoyed this movie, but I also know how ridiculous Star Wars can be (*cough* original trilogy *cough*). After getting back from the store with the game in hand, I was eager to see how it would portray some of the movie’s darker plot points.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens does not begin with the Attack on Jakku, as depicted in the movie. It starts, instead, 30 years in the past – at the Battle of Endor, or the end of The Return of the Jedi. While I was surprised by that choice at first, it helps set up the context for the story of Episode VII very well.
The Force Is Strong With You
The gameplay is synonymous with the most recent LEGO games, but it brings something unique to the Star Wars game experience. The flying missions work super well, as they’re fun and the controls act just the way they’re supposed to. The multiplayer aspect of the story-mode is very balanced, and if you’re playing alone, you’ll be switching between both characters often.
The levels are very humorous, although a bit childish. In one example, you play as General Organa, who is going around trying to collect Wookie Cookies for Chewbacca. Grr.
It’s a little frustrating when you see all the things that Luke Skywalker has access to, but you can’t use because, you know, you haven’t found him yet. Which is interesting, now that I think about it, because the entire story of the game is the search to find Luke Skywalker.
But that wasn’t the only attention to detail found in this game. When Rey is deep within Maz Kanata’s castle, she hears her own voice call from the darkness and her countenance changes. As you control Rey, she moves very slowly, hunched over, face contorted in pain. She’s remembering something that hurt her deeply, and it directly affects the gameplay.
Not only that, but during the penultimate level, both Rey and Finn suffer injuries which limit their ability to jump, shoot, and fight. You must trudge through the snow, clutching your side and hobbling away from enemies.
In that moment, you’re not just playing a LEGO game – you’re experiencing it.
There’s an incredible moment during Rey’s battle with Kylo Ren in which he’s encouraging you to use your anger to defeat him. The game requires you to repeatedly tap a button as your lightsabers clash, and you wonder if maybe Rey is – or maybe you are – actually giving in to the anger like Kylo Ren wants.
And then there’s the final, thrilling moment, when you climb the Jedi Steppes and finally reach the top. You’re still in control of Rey as Luke Skywalker appears in the distance, back turned, cloak floating in the wind.
You know the cutscene is going to take over in a second and the game is going to be over, so you wait there for a moment. And then you walk forward and hope that he’ll say something.
I Have A Bad Feeling About This
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens was not without its shortcomings. For one, the sound was an epic failure.
Let me explain.
The music was superb, because it’s Star Wars. The voice acting was incredible, as the original cast came back and even recorded new, fresh dialogue.
But the mixing of those voiceovers was horrendous. I can only attest to the Wii U version, of course, but I was severely disappointed by the lack of quality in the sound of the voiceovers.
Famous Last Words
Overall, I really enjoyed this game. Both the silly and serious parts of The Force Awakens were handled with great care.
I will never forget, at the end of the game, seeing General Organa – scratch that – Princess Leia – looking at a picture of her and Han Solo and literally doubling over in tears, only to pop right back up again when it’s revealed that R2D2 had the map they needed all along.
It’s supposed to be an emotional moment for her, but it’s not too heavy for kids playing along.
The game got right to the point, but left behind hours of things to do after the credits rolled. Including playing as J. J. Abrams. Let’s not forget about that!
If you haven’t played LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, go pick it up! And then let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.
Until then, may the Force be with you.