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LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Aims To Please Fans Of Both Franchises

Good news, LEGO Maniacs and Star Wars, um, fans (why isn’t there a proper name for this?): the latest LEGO game not only pays proper tribute to Star Wars’ beloved seventh episode, it’s also the most thrilling LEGO game to date.

Kicking off with a prologue that puts us smack in the middle of Return of the Jedi’s Battle of Endor, the latest LEGO game sustains those new and nostalgic feels as it segues into—and then blast right through—The Force Awakens.

While this LEGO game doesn’t play entirely like its forerunners, those who’ve played past ones should feel right at home here. You may have grown a little tired with the frequency and familiarity of these games, but LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens thankfully has more innovative tricks up its sleeve than last year’s very fun, but somewhat forgettable, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers.

LSWTFA_HanSolo_RathtarHunting

It’s no secret the best way to enjoy a LEGO game is with a less experienced co-pilot. As a matter of fact, one of the series biggest strengths (or, some might say, weaknesses) is how easy-breezy each game is from start to finish. While you can certainly die a bazillion f times, there’s no real consequence, just a less impressive high score. The biggest challenge of this franchise are the puzzles, and fortunately The Force Awakens features some of the smartest ones yet. Granted, it’s still the same formula of smash, build, repeat, it’s definitely hit its pinnacle here. Moreover, unlike previous LEGO games, there’s a seamless balance between both players having to perform their character’s unique ability in order to solve puzzles and progress, so Player 2 gets a little more love this time.

While these brain-teasers are clearly the franchise’s brick and butter, The Force Awakens adds a slew of fresh gameplay mechanics, like piloting an X-Wing or Millennium Falcon through various dogfights and on-rails scenarios (which gives off major Star Fox vibe), cover-based-shootouts (a la Gears of War), Lightsaber swinging and dodging (avec fast reflex button prompts), and slightly more open-ended LEGO-building (you’ll often have to piece together different structures in different locations in a specific order—but all from the same pile).

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Throughout the game’s eight-ish-hour campaign, you’ll encounter countless memorable Star Wars characters, hear tonnes of actual Force Awakens voice work, and witness literally hundreds of amusing sight gags and snippets of dialogue. Of course, like all LEGO spinoffs, it’s fun to see how iconic movie scenes unfold (answer: often with the presence of ice cream cones). Even the film’s saddest/most spoilery moment that you should definitely know about by now is handled in a lighthearted, yet entirely faithful, manner.

There’s plenty of replay value for completionists, and this being Star Wars, there will likely be many. After going through the main story, I only unlocked about one-third of the game’s myriad secrets, including secret locations, missions, characters, vehicles and other collectables. Upon finishing one of the game’s dozen stages (plus six robust side quests), you be granted access to freely explore it and revisit all those tempting puzzles that required specific character abilities to take on. Expect plenty of incentive to revisit Jakku, Maz’s Castle, and Starkiller Base even after you blown the latter up to smithereens and kicked Kylo Ren’s bratty butt.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out now in a galaxy very close by on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U,  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS… still not done… Windows PC, Mac, and on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

INNERSPACE CLIPS