‘Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ First Impressions

When Star Wars: Battlefront came out, the main complaint I either heard in person or read online, was that it lacked the single player campaign. Which made sense to me, considering the fact that one of the cornerstones of the Star Wars franchise, is their fun and powerful narrative. 10 hours into my first play-through, I can safely say that what Battlefront left out, the latest offering from the Lego franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has in spades. While there are a handful of game play issues to address, the prologue alone is enough to rekindle the fun spirit of both the Lego and Star Wars properties. If you want zero details from the new game, stop reading now. (Mild In-Game Spoilers).

LEGO® STAR WARS™: The Force Awakens_20160628132036

LEGO® STAR WARS™: The Force Awakens, PlayStation 4

If you got the chance to play the Demo for TFA, you would have experienced a small sampling of melee combat, the multi-build system, cover-based shooting and flight mechanics all set in Episode VII. It was a pleasant surprise for me to find that in the Prologue, which places you at the very end of Episode VI Return of the Jedi, to finish the fight against the Emperor, take out the generator on Endor, and blow up the Death Star.

It is these moments specifically that shine brightest in this universe. Fighting alongside Darth Vader as Luke Skywalker, against the Emperor, brought back so many nostalgic nerd feels that I think I spent more time smiling at the cut scenes, and taking a few moments to reminisce, than actually playing. But where the Lego series does a great job of taking real audio, blended with new audio, to craft a new and fun story to fill in the gaps of the movie property in question, it also fails to nail down a lot of the necessary mechanics for it to be the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

The Power of Flight

Arguably, the best feature in the game is the flight mechanic. So far I’ve piloted both the Millennium Falcon and the black Tie Fighter, and those are some of my favorite moments. They’re fast, responsive, intuitive, chaotic, and everything I want from a dog fight both in a planets atmosphere or in deep space. If anything, I haven’t had enough time to spend in the air and patiently await my next opportunity to take flight.

If you build it…

The multi-build mechanic also serves well for some fun puzzle solving. Rarely have I built the correct Lego set on the first go. But fortunately all I need to do is break it a part,and try one of the other versions to figure out which one works best or needs to be built first. I’ve encountered several of these on various plants and have yet to feel irritated by it.

Fist to Face Style

Melee combat is back and pretty straight forward. Lego has introduced this special “finisher” style move for the characters that have the option to use it. The combat overall is pretty repetitive, but the switching to different characters and using different finishers feels pretty satisfying throughout.

Gun Control

My main concern after playing the Demo, was how wonky I felt the controls were. Since the game was just a vertical slice, I knew there wouldn’t be any time to retool the mechanics, so the same issues in the demo are present in the full game. The aim seems sluggish and off, and I was hoping after spending a lot of time behind the barrel of a blaster, it would get better. It hasn’t. Figuring out how to use the controls doesn’t mean the controls are good, it just means you’re making the most of them so you don’t die .

The other issue is you can only use the cover-base shooter system when the game wants you too. Granted, the game is light and quick and doesn’t necessarily warrant you taking cover fire, as jumping in and mixing things up works easily enough. It just seemed strange to me to only allow certain styles of game play whenever the game wanted you to use it, as opposed to just building the cover system throughout the entire game.

The Journey Ahead

As I said in the beginning, I am only 10 hours into the game. Game mechanics are pretty consistent, so what you experience in the beginning, generally echos throughout the remainder of the game. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement to make this game become one of the best games in the galaxy, but I’m looking forward to the fun journey centered around some of my favorite intellectual property to prove me wrong. Yes, this is a Lego game. But it’s also built around one of the biggest franchises in pop culture, and warrants a certain amount of polish.

Analog Addiction’s full review of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be up as soon as possible.