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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: 'Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

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Posted at 7:18 AM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 18:24:43-04

Phil Villarreal's novel, Zeta Male, is available at Amazon.

Most Lego adaptations are based on multiple films, giving developers tons of source material to pay mocking tribute to. "Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens" draws on just one film, but pads out the content with ancillary material from many other corners of the "Star Wars" universe, adding backstory that bridges the original trilogy with the current franchise.

The extra material has been granted the blessing of the powers that be at Disney, and is regarded as canon. True "Star Wars" geeks will need to play through the game -- or at least watch the cut scenes on YouTube -- to get a fuller story than the movie or novelization delivered.

Thanks to the story scope, the final product feels as robust, if less diverse, than other games in the series. The usual charm of these building, breaking and light puzzle-solving adventures continues to thrive, maintaining the Lego tradition of saving its finest efforts for the galaxy far, far away. 

Also maintaining previous form, the new game shines brightest in multiplayer co-op. "Lego Star Wars" games remain one of the most accessible and satisfying parent-child gaming experiences out there. There's nothing like helping your little one overcome a tough lightsaber duel or X-wing dogfight. The game's ample humor prods the overly serious and nerdy aspects of the movies, providing consistent laughs that temper the set piece-laden thrill ride.

If there's a knock on this game, it's that at this point, series veterans have done just about everything worth doing in the "Lego Star Wars" universe, over and over again. Unlocking characters you've opened up in several previous games lacks the sense of wonder and feels more like a routine chore, and switching helmets lacks the novelty it had at the beginning.

But that doesn't little to rob the game of its appeal, either to newcomers or old-timers. A gaming calendar with no "Lego Star Wars" games in sight would be a sad thing indeed, and with annual movie releases now in the offing, the franchise reawakening is as exciting on the game front as it is in theaters.

GAME GUIDE

Prima's official guide to the game gives you full maps and walkthroughs that are helpful for tackling some of the tougher puzzles. It's bundled with a digital copy -- with potential updates that will tackle future DLC -- you can access on any smartphone, tablet or computer. To order the 288-page guide, click here.

Publisher provided review copy.