Having played a couple of Lego- based movie games, it never fails to fascinate me whenever a new title is released. I enjoy discovering how that familiar Lego signature is mashed with the source material into something that is fun to play for many hours.
Needless to say, my anticipation was high as I loaded up Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA). The game starts off by offering players an option to allow their gameplay to be tracked, so as to improve future titles. It is a nice touch for a series that remains very faithful to its core gameplay, which can get a little mundane to those who have completed past titles.
As I played on, I found that Lego TFA does surprise with some pleasant content.
Beyond all that smashing of items into collectible bricks, building new structures and solving puzzles, the game is loaded with nods to fan service. Lego TFA is not the first Star Wars game to be given this treatment, but it is nicely weaved with snippets from other episodes. This is a proven formula to extend a typical two-hour plotline into a decent video-game campaign that offers mileage and replayability value.
No matter how familiar the scenes are, most of them are enhanced with Lego's traditional brand of animation and mimes. Recently, though, voice-overs have been added for personality.
Fans of X-Wing and The Millennium Falcon will be ecstatic to know that there are playable scenes involving these two aircraft, and the experience is breathtaking. I reckon those who have dreamt of this since childhood would not stop grinning. With authentic sound effects and additional script from the original cast, it is worth turning up the volume.
PRICE: From S$75 (PS4 tested), Multi-platform
Like all Lego games, each character has a purpose crucial in tackling specific puzzle sections. For example, Chewbacca can deal out projectile damage, BB-8 can access terminals and Rey can reach special areas. As you unlock more characters, you will be able to conjure up teamwork among dream characters.
The hallmark gameplay of building structures has been upgraded with "multi-builds", allowing players to build more than one structure using the same pile of bricks. This reduces the tedious task of always needing a fresh set of bricks. And the right build choice can lead to branching paths and hidden corners. This encourages exploration and discovery of items.
Star Wars is famous for face-offs, and the new concept of Blaster Battles and dogfights puts players in the middle of adrenaline-pumping sequences against enemies with better artificial intelligence.
Nothing is too hard to handle, though, because this game is meant for a wide age group.
I was cautioned about bugs and glitches but did not encounter anything close to game-breaking with the review game disc.
Lego TFA supports cooperative play, and the tasks available for Player 2 are equally enjoyable for Star Wars fans of all ages. If you have been thinking of investing in an additional controller, now is the time. Fans of both Lego and Star Wars series should also not think twice about going for the Deluxe Edition, which contains additional season-pass content.
• Nizam Mohd is a freelance writer