Gamers were told that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens was set to fill in the murkier areas of the sequel trilogy. After a week of playing the game, while getting ready for the story mode assault on the Starkiller Base, I realized that I had enough gold bricks to play most of the hidden story levels. What I saw started as interesting and turned into informative. It’s weird how a video game made details cut from Star Wars interesting again.
“Poe to the Rescue”
The first new story level was “Poe to the Rescue.” It’s a basic introduction to Poe Dameron and how he quickly rose through the ranks of the Resistance. Dameron busts Admiral Ackbar out of a First Order ship brig. From there, we get a fun chase through an asteroid evoking the best of Empire Strikes Back.
“Lor San Tekka’s Return” and “Rathtar Hunting”
The next two unlockable story missions are the first to really build on moments from The Force Awakens movie. The first level shows us the importance of Lor San Tekka, as he begins his journey to helping the Resistance. The second level shows how Han and Chewie captured the Rathtars on their freighter prior to the events of the film. You don’t get to see Kanjiklub or the other gang show up in this mode, but they are available to purchase as free play mode characters.
“The Crimson Corsair”
“The Crimson Corsair” fills us in on the crew that offered Finn a job when he was trying to get off planet Takodana. Apparently, this gang of barely-there cameos and set dressing arrived on Takodana shortly after putting the screws to Kylo Ren and stealing a First Order drop ship. The result of the fight for the ship means that the pirates have to hide out in Maz Kanata‘s castle, which is where they meet Finn in the movie.
“Trouble Over Taul” and “Ottegan Assault”
These next two may be the best story levels in the bunch. “Trouble Over Taul” covers the same ground as the recent Marvel Comics C-3PO one-shot, explaining how the protocol droid lose his original arm, among other things. “Ottegan Assault” opens with Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma leading a planetary assault to capture Lor San Tekka and his map. Phasma is the star of the level, as we get to see a personality that was sorely missing from the film.
These levels stand out as they let you play as the villains. In the film, the First Order was portrayed as too mission driven. Armitage Hux, Phasma and others never got the attention they deserved. While this will probably be fleshed out during Episodes VIII and IX, it’s nice to have something to satisfy fans now.
Is It Worth It?
While the new gameplay dynamics of LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens are fun, it feels like the narrative is artificially extended. Star Wars fans will enjoy having the video game equivalent of deleted scenes to play, but these don’t add anything new to the story. Instead, they simply fill in the gaps with minor details.
Audiences can now say that they know of the Giger-style homeworld where Rathtars roam. We even get to see the Family Circus-style path that Lor San Tekka takes with the map before giving it to Poe Dameron and BB-8. Ultimately, though, this doesn’t amount to much substance for Star Wars fans to care about. If this is the face of the new Star Wars canon, then we’re going to be drowning in minutia for awhile. At least nobody dropped a moon on Chewbacca in any of these levels.