LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Looks Surprisingly Slick

Last week IGN posted a video showcasing Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Game Director, Jamie Eden, playing through eight minutes of the newest installment to the ever growing Legolization franchise. During the eight-minute video, viewers are treated to sneak peeks at blaster battles and flight sections of the game, but does this peek behind the curtain prove to be all that exciting?

Lego games based off of popular film franchises have been being developed for consoles since 2005. Lego Star Wars, which featured Episodes I-III, proved to be a big hit and since then it has taken a brick-sized shot at multiple franchises. Over the years new gameplay mechanics were introduced and implemented to fit each new franchise that Traveller’s Tales tackled and through their travels they have discovered what pieces work best and what pieces are Mega Blocks that don’t quite fit well together.

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During the gameplay footage we see Eden take control over Poe Dameron during the confrontation between the First Order on Jakku and the game looks smooth as butter from the beginning. During the first few moments of the video we are introduced to the seamless switching off between melee and gun attacks, but what I can’t get over are the breathtaking visuals. Everything just looks neat and polished and even in the mist of battle and destruction, the characters and scenery are gorgeous. After a short encounter with some Storm Troopers, Eden takes control of BB-8 who we get to see use a charge mechanic, which look eerily similar to Batman: Arkham Knight’s Batmobile power winch. The way the cable attaches to the device and discharges blue electrical beams while displaying an icon on the screen showing where the indicators sweet spot is is all too familiar.

We then enter into the first blaster battle of the game and my god is it amazing. Compared to previous entries in the series, this by far takes the cake, as previously the player would either just kind of stand around stagnantly or run around in circles aimlessly, repeatedly firing their weapon, until the room was clear. This time around there is actually a cover mechanic, which makes the combat sequences a lot more engaging and thus a lot more interesting. The battles themselves even look and feel like a third-person shooter sequence as you crouch down to avoid enemy fire, which is blasting all around you perfectly capturing that Star Wars look and feel. The enemies this time around actively try to avoid your blaster fire instead of standing around in one spot allowing you to rain down shot after shot on them. The AI you encounter will not only actively try to avoid your blaster fire, but they will also try to out-flank you during the blaster battles, providing a whole new challenge when approaching puzzles sections that incorporate blaster battles into the mini brainteaser. With the upgraded AI and combat mechanics, I can’t wait to see how Eden has implemented everything that’s new with the combat into the lightsaber battles, which hopefully will put a far more intuitive spin on the saber battle portions of the game.

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The next section of the video we get a peek at takes us on a high flying ride in the cockpit of a a TIE fighter during Poe and Fin’s escape from a Star Destroyer, which brings me to the impressive camera. The last thing I thought I would ever be impressed with in a Lego game is the camera and trust me when I say there’s a lot to talk about and love with the camera in this one. Every moment of this video between the ground and space battles just looks and feels cinematic; it’s as if there is a little Lego camera man capturing every moment of the action. The way the camera tracks your character around the battlefield is just mesmerizing. The game perfectly captures those movie-like camera angles, making you feel like you’re playing a scene taken straight out of the films. If there was anything I could praise more about the newly added features to the game, it’s the camera.

During the dogfight section as you fly around the Star Destroyer. It looks and feels more polished and intuitive compared to Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, as during these space battle sections I tend to lose focus and interest in what I’m doing. The pacing just always felt off to me and the controls felt clunky while preforming simple tasks like turning around or avoiding enemy fire in the small-enclosed parameters you were forced to fly around in. This time around, however, it seems as though the parameters and layouts of these sections have been greatly expanded, as now you can explore more of an expansive area instead of being locked in tiny claustrophobic corner of space. The one thing I wasn’t thrilled to see return is the mechanic of collecting special torpedoes from certain enemy fighters in order to destroy a specific object. Although it’s not hard to accomplish, this aspect always felt tedious to me. Flying around in general, however, has received a much needed upgrade, as now the player can pull off aerobatic moves with more ease than ever before. All it takes is a simple click of the buttons and once you have mastered the controls you will be able to perform some aesthetically pleasing moves.

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Overall, our first look at Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens seems to be taking all the best bits of previous Lego games and mixing those features with up-to-date concepts and ideas. At first I was a little nervous about the game coming out so soon with a single film to explore compared to the first two games, but now after viewing the eight-minute gameplay video, it’s hard not to be excited.