Lego games have been around for quite a long time, eleven years to be exact, and with each new entry to the series, the franchise follows a similar formula regardless of the universe the brick-sized figures inhabit. As expected, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains in the line of what one could expect from a Lego game and although it doesn’t derive much from the proven formula, there are plenty of new gameplay tweaks and additions here and there to make the star-studded experience feel fresh and stand out from its brethren.
The free demo I experienced on PlayStation 4 takes players through The Niima Outpost. If you saw the film, then you will know this is the junkyard where Ray, Finn and BB-8 all met up just before the First Order attacked. If you have played through any of the Lego games, than you know what to expect. You go through the linear levels switching between one character to the next collecting studs, solving puzzles and causing adorable mayhem through familiar locals taken straight out of the film. Although the game plays similar to pretty much every Lego game released in recent years and the platforming remains untouched, somehow, it still retains its lovable charm while also being one heck of a good harmless time.
The gameplay changes are small, but notable. The biggest change to grandma’s Lego recipe is the addition of multi-builds, a simple yet game-changing feature. These special multi-builds create additional puzzles and instead of passively building piles of hopping Lego Bricks in order to advance from one room to another or solve a puzzle, the player now has two to three options to build different models that end with different results. The second biggest change is the blaster battles. During these portions of the game, the player will switch into over-the-shoulder view as they take cover and move about the battlefield.
During these encounters, players have an array of objectives to complete before moving forward. Objectives usually range between taking out a set-number of enemies, blaster-turrets, and in Niima’s case, Tie-Fighters. In order to drive back the First Order’s forces during blaster battles, Lego Star Wars utilizes all of its characters including droids to get the job done. In the demo, BB-8 is used to hack a large turret to rain fire down upon the Tie-Fighters swooping overhead while also taking down the tower housing the turret gunner Storm Trooper who’s being protected by a shield. There’s nothing more satisfying than wrecking the battlefield and cleansing it of its forces as a simple BB unite.
The flying sections of the game is another major and much needed change-up to grandma’s old recipe. Lego games are not shy to flying areas, but they are typically incredibly dull and hand-holding. For example, in both Lego Star War: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy, the flying sections in the game relied profoundly on on-rail segments. The new and improved flying areas have now greatly opened up allowing the player to stretch their wings; vehicles now maneuver around satisfyingly allowing the player to engage in dogfights in all sorts of manner. It seems as if TT-Games has drawn inspiration from that of Starfox Zero, believe it or not as Piloting the Millennium Falcon through the wreckage of imperial Star Destroyer and Walker feels like a level ripped right out of PlatinumGames’ title. First, the player is challenged with avoiding Tie-Fighter blaster fire as they traverse the wreckage in assault run fashion, then the area opens up into an open arena shooter before jumping back into a trench run through the inner workings of a downed Star Destroyer before finishing the level and thus the demo.
Overall, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Demo hits all the right notes and although there is a lot of the same old, same old happening in the demo, the game’s quality and fun isn’t dragged down because of it. There’s just the right amount of new mixed in among the old to give the game a fresh feel. If you haven’t already, head on over to the PlayStation Store or Xbox Marketplace to download the free demo and give the game a test spin yourself. I promise you won’t regret it.