LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't just a humorous LEGO adaptation of the seventh entry in the Star Wars saga — it's also an exploration of events from prior to the film. In fact, these extra pre-Force Awakens levels were one of the game's key selling points prior to its release.
It just makes the fact that none of the non-movie levels in LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens add anything new to the Star Wars canon even more disappointing.
Not that the levels themselves are bad. They're in many ways just as fun as the other, movie-based levels in the game, even if they do tend to be shorter. Each level features all of the same gameplay aspects that make the core retelling of The Force Awakens so much fun. There are blaster battles, X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter dogfights, puzzles and more. The issue is that, for lore-hungry players eager to learn more about what happened prior to the film, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't deliver.
Sure, LEGO games are funny, tongue-in-cheek titles that are marketed toward kids. An in-depth exploration of pre-The Force Awakens events wasn't to be expected. However, what fans actually received in-game is hardly anything worth exploring.
Two of the levels revolve around Lor San Tekka, the mysterious character from the early moments of The Force Awakens. The one responsible for handing over the map containing the location of Luke Skywalker is one that begs to be explored in more detail. Who is he? How does he know Kylo Ren? Where does he come from? How does he know the location of Luke? However, levels tackling how he obtained Luke's whereabouts and reached Jakku feel like nothing but filler.
Fans do learn where San Tekka retrieved the information, but it all happens off-screen and is a story actually told from the First Order's perspective. No further details about who the character is or where he comes from are revealed, and the level that adapts his journey across the deserts of Jakku is an uneventful one.
It's much the same when it comes to one of the game's other promising extra levels, Rathtar Hunting. The story of how Han and Chewbacca captured three of the deadly beasts seen in The Force Awakens (at the request of a king, no less) sounds like the perfect side story material, but LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens doesn't do anything with it. The level is over right after the first Rathtar is caught, and it doesn't care to share details about Solo's crew, his employer or the enemy mercenaries that beat Han and his gang to the punch.
Thankfully, the game's lore-light extra levels don't change the fact that LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the most entertaining LEGO games in recent years. There's still plenty of fun to be had and Star Wars fan service to experience — just don't expect to learn anything meaningful about the events prior to the film.