Looking at Lego Star Wars
Tourists can’t help but stick out from the crowd. They dress oddly, behave oddly and interact… oddly. They are overly cautious of traffic and can sometimes be seen taking photos of the most mundane things. You’ve seen them, wandering your streets and it’s very likely that you’ve been one too. If you’re anything like me, you hate being the tourist, and you wonder how to fit in as quick as possible. When I was a open mouthed tourist in Manhattan, I experienced that moment when you transform from tourist to possible local. If you can walk down Time Square and not get bugged to see a show, congratulations, you’re a local.
When it comes to the virtual Lego genre, I was the tourist. I purchased Lego Star Wars : The Force Awakens (Shortened from now on to LSW:TFA, shortened again to LSW) on Steam for 29.99. I haven’t played any of the other Lego titles until now, but I thought, f*ck it, I’ll just get it and dive in.
The menu loaded up and that’s when I was that tourist trying to cross the road. The mouse didn’t work which literally contorted my face into a bamboozled expression. The keyboard and mouse combo to me is the potato to the Irish. LSW is keyboard/controller only… the hell? Ok… so, we’ll see how far this goes. A, W, S, D keys which the keyboard and mouse population will instantly recognise. For me, H, U, J and K, not so much. Then a third set, L, P, ;, ‘. I’ll be honest, I sighed but got on with it. I could have remapped it, but I’m lazy… so just clicked Start.
BAM, I’m in star wars world now. The music kicks in and it sounds perfect. Excellent visuals. That expected Lego / Star Wars hybrid works perfectly, two joyful childhood emotions mashed together. The LSW story opens near the end of Return of the Jedi. The controls took me a few moments to get used to and it’s very clear that it’s designed for a controller. From my limited experience of other Lego titles, the game is following the same trend of solving puzzles, surviving the pesky storm troopers and getting to the end of each stage to push the story on. As you complete a level you also unlock characters and other components. It’s a completionists dream game. It’s clear that each level is intended to be replayed as different characters; so if you were the type to hunt down every dirty pigeon in GTA 4, you might want to take a look at this game.
So, after a while
I’m feeling comfortable now, surrounded by constant humour and lighthearted banter. I can feel the tourist skin shedding to the floor, then a second BAM! I’m at home because out of the blue, it turns into a rail shooter, controlling the Millennium Falcon through the Death Star trench. I lean forward in excitement as a memory sparks to life, a memory of 1995’s Star Wars: Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire. Among all these blatant references and, dare I say, cheap laughs, I get this delicious old school moment, but that feeling doesn’t last.
Visually, it’s amazing! Audio-wise, I can’t fault it. Music is spot on, the dialogue is excellent, it has a mixture of direct lines from the movie and additional lines from the cast. Like the tourist though, I know it’s not my home. I just don’t belong here. When I strip back the look and feel of the game, the mechanics are overly simplistic. You have your hand held and there’s no real worry of ‘losing’ the game. It’s designed to push you through the story and enjoy the game rather than ‘win’ a game.
The way the story is told is another miss for me. The writing is enjoyable at first but the cheap laughs and the constant jokes gets a bit tiring. There are moments when it could effectively take a serious tone, but it’s just not there. I feel like the group of writers were too nice to each other to say ‘no, too many jokes here’, so all jokes were included. Then again, maybe that’s what is expected from a Lego game, and this is just my foreign, touristy attitude.
So is the game for you?
- Star Wars fans will enjoy the humourous experience
- It looks and sounds fantastic
- Lots of enjoyable references within and beyond Star Wars
- Completionists will be kept busy
- Not very challenging / quite a casual title
- Controller recommended
I liked my trip as a tourist into the world of the Lego series, but I’m also glad to return home.