LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Wii U) Review

By Josh Di Falco 12.07.2016

Review for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wii U

EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE FILM.

TT Fusion is no stranger to creating LEGO games for the home consoles. However, its latest was the first in one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises ever. Adapted from J.J Abram's Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens released in December of last year, this latest adventure recreates classic scenes from the film and successfully crafts expansive levels devised from locations in the hit film. With a cast of over 200 characters, the Resistance is at war with the First Order as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia return with a slew of new characters such as Rey, Finn, Poe and BB-8. Bringing with it the cute quirks and humour that are usually present in a LEGO game, does LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens have what it takes to be remembered as one of the better LEGO games?

The LEGO games have typically been full of humour by nature, due to the main target market being children and families. While they have made light of some of the darker moments in films, they have always seemed to know where the line should need to be drawn in order to be in that middle ground of being funny for all ages and being downright cringe-worthy for older gamers. LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is no different in this regard. Many of the scenes from the film that it is based on have been adapted well to the LEGO world, with certain liberties taken in order to generate a few laughs. Kylo Ren's obsession with Darth Vader is exaggerated to the point of having posters of him, as well as a bedspread in his bedroom, for instance.

It is always expected that people must go into the LEGO games with a very open mind, as not everyone will appreciate the jokes that relate back to the films in the saga. In one example, there is a moment where Han tells Leia that he loves her, only for her to respond with "I know," as a throwback to that infamous scene from The Empire Strikes Back when the roles were reversed. Moments like these really generate a giggle or two.

The game plays as expected from a LEGO title, with no fundamental changes at all. New abilities have been added that allow for differing platforming sections than what is usually presented yet, for the most part, the simple style is still present, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. While some may be turned off by the easier difficulty, others may find it inviting if they are looking for a simple bit of fun to just complete in a short amount of time.

Screenshot for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wii U

The main story is made up of ten stages, with a prologue and an epilogue on either end of the sequence. While it may sound like a small number, the stages are quite vast and expansive, and are not always limited to the one location or to the same group of characters. The opening prologue, for example, takes place during the Battle of Endor at the end of Return of the Jedi. Beginning as Han, Leia, and Chewie, and later Wicket the Ewok on Endor, the stage continues into Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader and the Emperor on the second Death Star, before finishing up as Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb on the Millennium Falcon during their onslaught on the Death Star itself.

The prologue, while quite long, acts as a tutorial that outlines the control scheme and gameplay mechanics. It sets up a range of different obstacles that require specific characters to use their abilities in order to proceed through the stage. It is a smart way to teach newcomers to the series the controls, while also giving a refresher as to where the heroes last left off with the Return of the Jedi. The stages are connected through a series of hub worlds, which are non-mission based worlds littered with collectibles not found in the specific stages, such as the Han Solo Carbonites. Such hub worlds are quite extensive in design, and they house side stages, such as Resistance or First Order specific missions, as well as races.

The stages still contain enough collectibles, such as the ten mini-kits, a hidden red block, while trying to collect enough studs in order to achieve the 'True Jedi' status on the currency metre. In order for this to be achieved, stages must be replayed again once more characters have been unlocked. This is due to them having challenges that require a certain ability to get past, and such abilities may not be available until later on.

There are also LEGO pieces that can be used to create new structures or objects that can be used to proceed through further. However, there are new LEGO pieces that can be constructed and deconstructed, and they generally have multiple purposes. While this adds a new element, it certainly doesn't ramp up the challenge in any way.

Screenshot for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wii U

The one thing that is really commendable is that The Force Awakens offers a lot in terms of replayability. In addition to the twelve story stages and the side missions, there are the new Star Wars adventures that detail certain events that took place between Episode VI and VII. These are designed to also shed new light on some of the characters who are briefly seen in the film, or barely mentioned at all. These help to promote some of the bit-players to more prominent roles in the overarching scheme of things. Access to these "bridging" missions does require a set amount of gold bricks for each stage; for instance, in one case, ten gold bricks are required, and so on, and so forth.

Collecting studs is still the aim of the game, however, which in turn can be used to purchase new characters, or modifiers that are unlocked by collecting red bricks. During battles, killing enemies grants a multiplier, which increases the amount of studs gained. Some battles display a kill counter, requiring for a certain amount of enemies to be killed before progressing through the stage, while in some instances a cover-based shoot-out will occur. These battles contain a medal, and the challenge is passed without dying, the maximum studs are rewarded, along with a gold medal.

Where this game works really well is in its two-player drop-in/drop-out, couch co-operative system. Being one of the few remaining gaming franchises that still contains this element, this is an enticing prospect to those still wishing to share the experience with a partner, and, really, that is probably the best way to play, since the AI partners do nothing at all to assist, and seem like they are only there to deter them. Very rarely do they listen to the commands they are given, and trying to switch between them in order to encourage two characters to work together can cause quite a lot of confusion, with the AI character almost always leaving its post.

The two-player experience shares the same screen, splitting into two once the two players are far enough apart. Due to the dynamic nature of the stages, the screen will split either vertically or horizontally, depending where on the screen the characters are. This is quite handy when trying to pay attention to where both characters are on the screen, and having a human partner greatly helps in solving challenges and taking down enemies.

Screenshot for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wii U

The soundtrack is taken straight from the movie, and it is one of the best musical pieces to listen to in the background. The Star Wars franchise has always been renowned for the great John Williams-crafted tracks, and this does not disappoint in including all the great themes from the The Force Awakens, with "March of the Resistance" one of the better compositions.

Unfortunately, no game is without its flaws, and this latest LEGO adventure seems to have quite a few bugs and glitches that break the immersion and the Star Wars world that it tries to emulate. Although bugs may get patched in future updates, the amount of glitches that got shipped in the final package is still astounding. Upon loading the game, the sound effects during this review were 204/10 on the volume scale, with no way of adjusting it except for closing the game and relaunching it. Another prominent issue was the use of the waypoint system. In theory, a waypoint can be marked anywhere on the map, with blue guide cogs appearing on the screen that lead the way to that waypoint; however, what ends up happening most of the time is that certain areas just cannot have a waypoint placed there for some unspecified reason, and even if the waypoint manages to stick, although the blue guide cogs just refuse to appear.

The frustration this causes in trying to find specific things on the map is compounded when compared to the really clunky controls that can creep in. While the controls are fluid, for the most part, sometimes characters can get stuck behind a piece of debris or a plant by accident, and a good mashing of the buttons is required in order to free them… or, in some cases, certain jumps have to be made in order to reach the next area of the stage, and yet the jump can only be performed when standing in the exact same spot that the game requires, and can then only be performed once the button prompt appears on-screen. Again, it sounds good in theory, but in practice, a fight ends up ensuing between the controls and gameplay mechanics.

Other mechanical issues that arise are when in combat with characters such as Finn, who can wield a blaster and a lightsabre. However, there is no choice to use one or the other, and instead Finn whips out his blaster randomly during a lightsabre battle, with no regard for his lack of a defence. Other times, when you would want Finn to use his blaster, he would ignite his lightsabre, thus proving himself very useless… This would happen with other characters that had multiple weapons, also.

Screenshot for LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

However minor the various issues may seem, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a worthy addition to the LEGO Star Wars videogame franchise. Even though the gameplay mechanic feels a little bit dated, and is still susceptible to a plethora of mechanical glitches and rough controls, this latest adventure is a refreshing take on the ever-expanding galaxy that is Star Wars. With new locations and characters taken from the movie itself, with a booming soundtrack to back it up and plenty of humour thrown in, this LEGO adventure is a must-buy for any fans of either LEGO or Star Wars, and is definitely one that should be experienced with another player, if possible.

Developer

TT

Publisher

Warner Bros

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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