It’s been a while since I sat down with my other half and played some good old light hearted lego. These times aren’t only about the fun of playing with your partner, but also the fact that Lego games are just as enjoyable as ever, with a funny and mundane story all set in the same universe of brands/franchises you love. It’s this lightheartedness that makes me more than happy to sit down and play the game, even if I have other things I should be doing.
So, to start off with, what is Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It’s a lego game which retells the film’s story, albeit in a more light-hearted and fun tone. You play the actual characters at the story-beats of the film, and proceed to re-enact the scenes, all with lots of gameplay thrown in inbetween. For example, early on in the game you play as Rey and BB8 as they explore a ruined old Star Destroyer – a great way to get you used to each characters abilities, all whilst playing lines of dialogue from the film.
Being the Lego franchise gives the developers more freedom in regards to the story-beats, meaning (most) characters don’t ever actually die, and meaning you get bigger levels to explore, showing off more backstory to the Star Wars universe than the films actually showed. A fantastic example of this is a new level that opens once you complete the game and have enough gold bricks – in it you play as Han Solo and Chewbacca as they try to capture a creature which is seen in the film (and later on in the game). These scenes don’t add that much to the fiction, but extended the time we played the game, and gave us more reasons to keep coming back, which is only a good thing.
As per (most) of the Lego games, Lego The Force Awakens manages to be as entertaining as ever, with myself and my partner laughing at least a few times in each level. Some of the funniest moments are when you least expect it – for example a story beat where a character is meant to die may seem sad, until the dead character suddenly gets up and waltzes off the screen, only to grab some flowers and act dead once more. It’s times like these where the Lego is a genuine charm to play.
That’s not to say there isn’t grinding: being a Lego game, Lego The Force Awakens has a lot of grinding throughout it’s stages, with 10 minikits, 3 gold bricks, and 1 red brick ready to collect on most. Issue is, the vast majority of the collectibles can’t be grabbed until you’ve already completed the stages once and have proceeded to buy specific character with abilities that allow you to get them. This “grind” is annoying when you first play through, seeing clearly signposted collectibles being too far out of reach is always going to be annoying, but it gives you reason to come back, and is all the more gratifying when you actually 100% a stage.
Graphically, as per all Lego games, it’s a mixed bag. The main playable figures themselves have so few polygons that I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out of PS2 assets with all but a few minor tweaks. But the levels, and environments they traverse are gorgeously rendered – massive landscapes with plenty of detail on grass, leaves, star systems, the lot. It’s a weird mis-match of an aesthetic, which is weirdly pulled off very well – if it weren’t for the low poly characters, you would know you’re playing a PS4 game.
There are puzzles throughout, but as with any Lego game you’ll come across, but the vast majority of them are easy to solve and don’t require much past pressing and holding the O button in the right place. Things are mixed up a bit when you have to use two characters to slot things into place, but when you’re playing co-op, these also become trivial.
There are a few niggles I have in the sound quality department though – namely, the voice acting. Most voices for the characters are great, and are either masterfully taken from the film (so much so you can’t even tell), whilst others have great new original dialogue. Where this falls apart though is in some of the quality of the main characters – namely Rey. You see, the voice acting is so atrocious in quality that you can’t help but hear the room/street it recorded on. Her voice sound so distant, so bad that you can’t help but notice how much it stands out. Even my partner had to ask why her voice quality was so bad, with me advising that it was most likely due to the fact they had only a short amount of time with the actress and wasn’t able to do retakes. To say it stands out is a bit of an understatement.
So overall, as with most of the Lego games I’ve played, I thoroughly enjoyed Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Voice acting nuisances aside, I managed to put a good 15-20 hours into the game with my other half, collecting as much as possible just to see as much of the game as possible. If you’re looking for a highly polished co-op game, with no sharp edges, by all means give the game a go, you won’t be disappointed.