GAMES: Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Multi)
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Multi)
THE last time we got to play Star Wars in virtual Danish plastic was a long time ago, and now Traveller's Tales return to the franchise that kicked off their incredibly successful brush with cinematic franchises – one that’s since blockified every movie to trouble culture bar Lego Human Centipede.
An unholy union that sees the best scenes from the latest Star Wars film acted out by plug-bonced Lego characters, gameplay follows the tried-and-tested smash-and-build routine as you blast your way through a cuboid retelling of JJ Abrams' epic.
Almost everything can be broken for sweet Lego studs then reassembled into new forms to complete the game's many puzzles.
Bridging the gap between the original trilogy and Episode VII, TFA kicks off in Jedi territory, with a blistering reimagining of the Battle of Endor.
In fact, the game explores six back-stories from The Force Awakens, unlocked by finding Gold Bricks and explaining such mysteries as how Han and Chewie got those scaly critters onto their cargo ship.
After Lego Batman, Avengers, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Jurassic World, the formula has become understandably stale, but Force Awakens sprays off the funk with two new mechanics.
Cover shooting introduces Gears of War-style hunker-and-blast gameplay while multi-builds mean piles of Lego can be assembling into different items, opening up branching gameplay options.
Best of all is the dogfighting. While the original Lego Star Wars titles treated space battles as top-down mini-games, the starfighting here is some of the best yet committed to binary, with open arenas to navigate, a range of manoeuvres and squad chatter making sequences such as the iconic flight through the crashed Star Destroyer a sweaty-palmed joy.
As ever, the farce is strong with this one, and Lego Force Awakens boasts spot-on parodies and references that go beyond the film narrative, including digs at George Lucas' maligned digital do-overs and Harrison Ford's run-in with a faulty set.
The yuks are driven home by a movie cast that gamely lends their pipes to proceedings en masse.
In fact, some of the more underused characters get to spread their vocal wings here. Star turns are turned in from Gwendoline Christie's Phasma and Max von Sydow's Lor San Tekka, while eyes may well be moistened on hearing Harrison Ford in his first videogame performance and arguably final stint as Han Solo – even if he’s playing it for laughs.
Brimming with laughs, content and warmth for the source material, Force Awakens offers much for Lego loyalists to love, and represents a much better prospect that EA's overhyped, content-starved Battlefront.