Disclaimer: This review was completed entirely in two player local co-op mode.
Star Wars and Lego has demonstrated time after time that they are a match made in interlocking plastic brick heaven. Charming, fun, accessible and light-hearted are words that could be used to describe every Lego game ever made. Those words alone don’t make a great game however.
Lego Star Wars: The Forces Awakens (LSW from here on in) is all of those things. The Lego version of BB-8 is just as adorable as you imagine. Rey, Fin and Poe are just as likeable, thanks in no small part to the actors lending their voices to their characters and the slapstick humor adds some welcome brevity to the darker scenes, particularly for a game aimed at a younger audience.
The traditional Lego game play returns and creating items from bricks is as satisfying as it’s ever been. The rapid fire ‘clickclickclick’ of bricks is still one of the most enjoyable sounds in gaming. There are often multiple build options giving a (very) slight puzzle solving element, although it feels superfluous. There is no indication of the correct build order until the item is actually built and if you build the wrong thing an NPC will soon inform you of it. It’s all kind of pointless and I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve with that other than frustrate the player.
There are some new game play elements to the franchise that are quite fun. Cover based shooting sections, while simple, are a nice change of pace, as are the ship combat sections. It does make me wonder why every Star Wars game includes excellent ship combat but no one is making a new X-Wing or TIE Fighter game, but I digress.
While these additions are fun the frequency of them breaks flow of the game play. It seemed like just as I was getting into the flow of a level or exploring an area I’d be forced into a cover based shooter. It soon begins to feel like filler.
We played through entirely in co-op and, generally, this is where the game truly shines. It’s no secret we love local co-op at D1DLC and LSW is an excellent game for it. It is almost impossible to complete a level without the unique abilities of multiple characters making sure both players are active in moving the game play forward and allowing for a wide array of characters in each level. The game clearly illustrates where unlocked characters can be used highlighting the opportunities to come back and hunt for collectables. The co-op split screen is intuitive. It doesn’t always split in the same direction, rather moving in conjunction with each player and the direction of the level itself. It can take some getting used but frankly it’s kinda cool.
The only downside was that I often found myself standing around with nothing to do while waiting for the other player to complete a task or puzzle. This waiting was not generally for a long period, maybe 10-15 seconds at a time, but it occurs far too often than I would like. Much like the overuse of additional game play sections this broke the flow of the level and the story.
The levels themselves are a good length and as always the Lego models look fantastic. The environments are great and instantly recognisable from the movie. From the inside of a derelict Star destroyer to the new Star-Killer base the locations of the movies are fantastically recreated and a joy to explore.
LSW is a fun game and a great option for local co-op. It can at times be frustrating and often feels like it changes things up just as you get going. If you’re a fan of previous Lego games you’ll feel right at home, particularly when you hear the iconic music and blaster fire. It’s a solid game, but not the awakening we were hoping for.
And enjoyable co-op romp in the Star Wars universe
While not perfect Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fun and funny game. If you like Lego, Star Wars, co-op gameplay or any combination of the above you should check it out. Just be prepared for the occasional frustration.