Review: LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • Wii U
  • Nintendo 3DS
  • PC, Mac
  • iOS, Android

Format/Hardware Used:

  • Blu-ray Disc
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (23.53 GB)
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Developer: TT Fusion
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 483 of the podcast at 136:35.

Gameplay:
It’s a LEGO game, you know the drill. You’ll make your way through various levels, breaking bricks to collect LEGO studs which you can then use to purchase characters and other unlockables. This is the first Star Wars LEGO title since LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars hit the PlayStation 3 in 2011 and many fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting a return to that Galaxy far, far away.

I’ll get this out of the way right up front. Because LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place entirely within the one movie, it’s short. Shorter than most LEGO games. There are a number of DLC levels that help pad things out a bit but I was genuinely surprised when the credits rolled.

Of course, being a LEGO game, it isn’t over when you get to the end of the story. You have the opportunity to dive back into any level in Story Mode or Free Play, allowing you to try to unlock the various minikits and such hidden within them.

Each successive LEGO game tries to bring something new to the table and this one is no exception. We actually get several upgrades that work to varying degrees. The first, which showed the most promise in previews of the game, is the Multi-Build system.

In previous games a groups of LEGOS would be highlighted and you’d simply approach them and hold down Circle to build an object. Now when approaching the bricks you’ll see an orange outline of two to three different builds that can be done. You’ll have to decide which ones to build and in what order in order to solve puzzles and move forward in the game. After using an object, you’ll break it down and build the next one if necessary.

… a third-person action game with a good cover mechanic …
As a new game mechanic this shows a lot of promise but I think it needs a little tweaking to become a more worthwhile addition. For the most part it’s still too easy to see what needs to be built first and it ends up feeling like an artificial way to pad out the game.

The new Blaster Battles are a more significant change and really work to make the game feel more different than every one that came before it. You’ll have a number of set pieces during the game where a firefight is going on and you’ll actually dive behind cover.

You’ll need to pop up and fire at the enemy and even move from cover to cover to get a better angle on them. The whole thing makes it feel like a third-person action game with a good cover mechanic. It really adds a lot of excitement but it needs some work as well. Being a LEGO game, there’s no real consequence to being killed so cover may seem a bit unnecessary.

While you are playing through the one movie, there’s a nice twist to the setting for the game’s intro that I won’t spoil here. It’s really set up as tutorial level to get you comfortable with the new mechanics and it’s really well done.

… unlock classic characters from the original six movies …
The only other big addition consists of dogfights and arena battles using flight. While LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga had a number of space battles, they were all pretty much on-rails. In this one, you’re given the freedom to roam, within the confines of an arena anyway, as you fight your way clear from the First Order as Finn and Poe in a TIE Fighter, or take down the attacking fighters over the water before they destroy Maz Kanata’s home/bar. It works well and will be a good addition going forward.

There’s certainly plenty to do and a ton of characters to unlock, more than 200 actually, so you’ll be quite busy even after finishing the main story. You’ll also have the chance to unlock classic characters from the original six movies if you find special collectibles and return them to the Rebel base.

Visuals:
The lighting is excellent here and it really helps to bring the different environments to life. From the interiors of crashed Star Destroyers to the bright barren deserts of Jakku everything is familiar and wonderfully rendered in its own “LEGO” way. The detail of ship interiors like the Millennium Falcon will make any Star Wars fan giddy.

Audio:
As is the recent trend with LEGO games, audio clips have been pulled directly from the source material to varying degrees of success. It’s a little more hit than miss this time around but the dialogue can still be muffled or just of such a different quality than the rest of the audio that it’s distracting.

… a lot to love here …
The rest of the aural landscape is every fan’s dream though. The lush orchestral score of a Star Wars film overlays the signature sound effects to the point where you could close your eyes and believe that you’re hearing the original movie.

Online/Multiplayer:
Local co-op is available as always and it works perfectly. My son and I played through several levels of the game in Free Play mode and had a blast with it.

Conclusion:
Overall the new additions to the LEGO formula are decent concepts but they feel like they need some work to have a significant impact on the series. Fans of either the Star Wars or LEGO franchises will find a lot to love here, especially since this is the first LEGO Star Wars game we’ve seen in five years.

There’s nothing broken about the game or wrong with it but the shorter length combined with the slightly underwhelming additions left me a little down. Either way there’s so much humor, laugh out loud humor at times, and there’s so much to do after the story is done that it’s all worth it in the end.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 25 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation – minus the Switch.

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