Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, if you’re familiar with Lego games, then the chances are you know what to expect with the latest outing from developers TT Games.  However, while the core gameplay maybe how you expect it to be, The Force Awakens throws a few little surprises into the mix that helps to evolve and somewhat freshen up the tried and test formula that we come to expect from this franchise.

Firstly, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick recap of the story for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which of course is the same as the movie it represents.  The droid BB-8 has important information that leads to the whereabouts of the seemingly last Jedi Knight in Luke Skywalker.  New heroes in Finn and Rey are tasked with insuring that this vital information makes it to the hands of the Resistance led by Princess Leia and not in the hands of Kylo Ren and the First Order, who are now the big bad following the demise of Darth Vader and the Sith.

The Force Awakens is every bit pick up and play, just how you expect it.  It’s a formula that has worked fantastically for TT Games, despite the gameplay pretty much remaining the same since Lego Star Wars: The Videogame in 2003, which has helped it appeal to gamers of all generations.  However, new gameplay elements have been introduced into The Force Awakens, which are certainly welcomed additions.  Firstly, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens now has a cover-system, which sounds a little odd at first when saying it aloud, but it might just surprise you how well it in-fact works.  Don’t get me wrong, you can’t take cover behind every wall that you see, instead it is restricted to certain moments in each level.  Yet, this helps mix-up proceedings and while I can’t see it working with all Lego games, it’s certainly a natural fit in this outing.

Secondly, the other big introduction is having the ability to build more than one object with your pile of Lego bricks.  Again, you don’t have multiple choices with every pile of bricks that you come across, as its restricted to certain moments in each level.  Depending on the situation, it will depend on the choices that are made available to you.  Some multiple choice structures may lead to an alternative path in the mission, while others may lead you to a hard to reach collectible, such as a mini-kit.  Unlike the cover-based moments in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this is something that I can see working in just about every Lego game, especially with Lego Dimensions, so I hope that this feature is something that is not implemented exclusively to this game.

Thirdly and possibly the best feature of The Force Awakens, is the introduction of Dog Fights.  No, not of the animal variety, thankfully, but rather during gameplay segments when using X-Wings to the Millennium Falcon.  Those that played the demo following E3 would have gotten a taste of this new feature on the Jakku Outpost mission.  This becomes even more awesome during one mission, when you are tasked with taking out gun turrets on a giant Star Destroyer ship with Tie Fighters hot on your heels.

However, if there was one critiscm that I would say with its gameplay (and this really is dependant in the individual playing), it would be the fact that there is no option to invert the camera.  This seems especially odd as you had this option in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and for someone like me, this was a godsend.  But if I’m correct, this option has not been present since Lego Marvel Avengers.  So please, if you’re listening TT Games, please give us an option to invert the camera in future games, it just makes our gaming a little easier for some.  It’s worth noting that you can invert the controls for the Dog Fight sections.

Some may be concerned that basing this game on just one movie, rather than waiting for a complete new trilogy, might result in a campaigning falling short in length.  Yet, TT Games have managed to fill out missions by expanding its content with moments that you won’t see in the movie, adding more to the lure, if you will.  If done poorly, missions could feel stretched out for the sake of it, but the developers have done a great job in keeping each mission rewarding, meaningful and ultimately, fun and what more could you ask for, especially in a series such as this one.

If you’ve grown tired of the Lego series in recent games, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the perfect game to get back in on the action.  At its core, it has the same pick up and play elements that helps it appeal to such a vast generation of gamers, especially for parents wanting to find a perfect game to play with their young children.  Yet it introduces new features that while not drastic, does help to evolve the series and keeps it feeling a little fresh.  Then throw in the signature Lego humour and charm into the mix, with the added bonus of the Star Wars universe, then you have in my humble opinion, the best Lego game since Lego Marvel Super Heroes.