There's an old adage that says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," but thankfully that's not a piece of advice that TT Games is comfortable with. The studio behind the Lego video game franchise isn't afraid to play around with a successful formula, and that's never been more true than with Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Flying is a big part of the Star Wars films, but it never felt all that great in the Lego games. This time around, though, the on-rails, roller coaster-like flying has been replaced with more open, arena-style dogfighting sections. Now, you actually feel like Rey did at the helm of the Millennium Falcon, dodging, weaving, and shooting TIE fighters out of the sky. Another addition to the Lego formula is a cover-based shooting mechanic. Occasionally during gameplay, the camera zooms in behind the shoulder of your character as you run, shoot, and scramble for cover amid a hail of laser fire. Finally, some areas of the game let the player choose which items to build from scattered Lego parts, tear them down, and build something different. It's an interesting way to expand the exploration of stages and open up multiple paths.
The new additions will feel instantly familiar to gamers, but don’t worry -- this is still a Lego game. That means the game is still simple enough for gamers of any age to pick up and play but not so simple that it won't present any sort of challenge. There's plenty to play with, too, with nearly 200 characters from across the entirety of the Star Wars canon, expanded story content (including content bridging the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens), and even more to come with optional DLC. Fans will even get a kick out of the fact that, wherever possible, the original cast members from the films were brought in to record their dialogue, versus the developers simply editing in audio clips from the films, a shortcut that was jarringly evident in Lego Marvel Avengers. Put all these pieces together and you've got a game that's not only one of the best Lego games in the franchise's history but one of the best licensed games to come along in recent memory.