Vanguard Outpost: LEGO Universe’s First World

Some more looking back at LU. . .

The Luprechaun

In 2007, LEGO Universe was in early development. Very little about the game was known to the public at this point, but on December 20, 2007, the website’s progress log was given a brief update:

December 20
BBC Newsround’s Adam was invited to LEGO Universe Command Center in Denmark to try it out with some LEGO fans… Read more on the BBC website.

This BBC article had been posted on December 17, 2007. Just two days shy of a decade ago, as of the time of this writing. As far as I can tell, this is the first time the game itself was described to the public. There’s several interesting things in it, but this is the part I want to focus on:

Then we entered the 3D virtual world. We were allowed to explore a castle in a valley filled with purple fog.

Everything was made from…

View original post 939 more words

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What LU meant for me (part 2): A Farewell

(If you haven’t already, Visit the first post: What LU meant for me (part 1) https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/what-lu-meant-for-me-part-1/)

When I look back at LEGO Universe (LU), I see what could’ve been done better. For example, it felt like they announced the game a little early. With the information coming just a little too slow.

And then they redesigned the game, a big no-no in large scale game development because of the extra cost and work needed. And this is an MMOG, An even bigger task.

Comparing the Concept artwork, you can see a big difference. And while I was completely won over by the story concept for the new game, I certainly wish they had kept more of the Sandbox game design as well. (and maybe some of the environments!)

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Original concept art

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New Concept art

It’s hard to make a video game, even harder a Massively Multiplayer one. This theme seems to run throughout this post.

LU was originally being made by both LEGO and a company called Netdevil, both of whom didn’t have any experience making MMOs. Then, at one point, Netdevil decides LU isn’t what they want to do, so they hand the reins completely to the LEGO group.

Netdevil

NetDevil abandons LU

It’s like it was already destined for failure.

So when LU shut down; on the Midnight of January 30, 2012; millions of players were instantly saddened. Causing many to join petitions, complain, and wish they could do something.

 

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But a couple months before the shutdown; on November 4th, 2011; Rioforce decided to start a game team to bring back LEGO Universe.

The Legend Team (TLT) was made up of both LEGO Universe News writers and readers. And they were the first ones.

(See their blog. https://thelegendteam.wordpress.com/)

The moment I found out about them, it brought me hope. It’s thanks to them that I started blogging in the first place. I didn’t know what to do with my blog at first, and I gave it the first name that came to mind: Nenen’s Blog of Fun. Then I left it alone for a while.

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Meanwhile, the LEGO Universe News Network (blog and forum) had an identity crisis thanks to the scheduled shutdown, we had been originally all about LU. But with the game being shut down, that meaning was largely lost.

Then Rioforce had the bright idea of switching the name around. So instead of simply being about a certain game, they would expand to ‘The Universe of LEGO’. Now reporting on any noteworthy LEGO news, though with a special interest in new LEGO MMOGs. This breathed new life into the blog for a while. LU shutting down hit the forum more harder, causing a massive decrease of users in the end. (see link to post here. https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/re-launch-of-lego-universe-news/)

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Getting back to the Legend Team. They first tried using both LU files and Unity, and they realized they couldn’t do it. Rioforce had Gie005 to help with development. But the guy was the only programmer, and finally quit, saying that he was tired of doing all the work.

TLT had failed to recreate LU, so at this point they changed their vision, it was obviously too much to try to recreate such a huge game. Instead they decided to make their own game.

oops

They ran a coder contest, but only one person entered, StopSecret, and so he won by default. And he did a lot of work, and helped teach some stuff to Rio and others.

Then Project BUILD came on the scene, they wanted The Legend Team to merge with them, another team had already been absorbed into them (The Nexus Project wiki). In the end, TLT said no, but some of the members, like StopSecret, became inactive in TLT, joining BUILD.***

At about this time, I joined TLT as a testor, my only real skill at the time 😛 . I wish I could have done more to help. But that’s not how it went.

Rioforce had said, looking back, that “our team was too unorganized and since I didn’t know anything about making a game earlier (before he [StopSecret] became inactive) he felt like he was doing all the work and I know how that feels. It stinks.”

tltposterishThe Legend Team was the ‘New LU’ to many, and in the end, had to stop and shutdown as well. It seemed inevitable looking back.

They announced the closure of TLT on Nov. 27, 2012. This was the end, And the beginning of the end for the community that we had built around TLT and LU.

https://thelegendteam.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/the-legend-comes-to-an-end/

newlogo

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The LUN network had been hearing rumors of a new LEGO mmog being developed, cashiers of LEGO stores were a large culprit in starting some of these. Different themes and ideas came out, and speculation ran wild all over the LEGO community.

Finally we learned about it, and there were actually two MMOGs.

The Legend of Chima Online (LoCO) developed by Warner Bros; and LEGO Minifigures Online (LMO) developed by MMO veteran Funcom. Information and screenshots were found in business reports of the respective companies, as well as news press releases.

Our LoCO press release: https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/lego-legends-of-chima-online-open-beta/

our LMO press release: https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/lego-minifigures-mmog-countdown/

Neither one was like LU. In example, Both of these games featured a Top-down camera perspective, while LU had a third-person camera (LEGO reported that LU’s camera was hard to do.)

Their stories were less interesting to me, LoCO would have done better if they allowed players to play on either side of the Legends of Chima theme conflict. While LMO had a Big Bad who was stealing minifigures, with a slight collection mechanic similar to the toy line.

But really, I think neither one had as interesting design as LU had at any point of their known development. They both soon ended therafter, LoCO simply closing down, and LMO was abandoned by Funcom. (In fact, Funcom was seeking buyers of their company, suggesting internal trouble)

The LUN blog was being led by a few writers now, possibly only one. It seemed that each of the games were a breath of life to the LUN network, and with every shutdown came the possibility of our final breath.

Again, LEGO –with the help of others– had failed to make a persistent online world (another term for MMOs), this time on two separate attempts. If LEGO ever ties to again, they would have already damaged our trust that they would actually be able to deliver.

We all played these games. But all things come to an end. But one wonders why it seemed to happen again and again. Never did things survive long.

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At about this time, Rioforce, now the only active admin of the blog, decided to recruit more writers. I enthusiastically joined, and I know others wanted to as well. But it seemed that I was the only new writer who actually wrote anything.

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Finally, a new game that is also, in many ways, a spiritual successor to the Original vision of LEGO Universe, become an overnight out-of-the-blue sensation. Nobody saw it coming.

LEGO Worlds’ immediate impression is that it’s a Lego version of Minecraft, and indeed many design similarities support that. But it is different.

https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/lego-worlds-beta/

LEGO-Worlds-Logo

I have yet to try it, being unable to. Similar reasons to when LU first launched.

But already a community is building around it. One notable difference between it and any of the LEGO MMOGs is that the servers are player hosted, one may argue that it isn’t an MMOG at all. And while it may not be, it is certainly at the current end of the LU legacy.

It’s almost like LEGO has come full circle. They started with the idea of a LEGO Online sandbox, which changed into a more typical MMORPG. And they finally returned to that first idea.

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And now, something that’s just as sad as when both LU and The Legend Team shut down. The LEGO Universe News network is dying. It’s a much slower death, a death of silence rather then instant shutdown, but is otherwise very similar.

It seems like soon we may have yet another Goodbye to add to the list.

😦

I would be Glad if either this Blog or the Forum would instantly revive, suddenly having at least the small tight community it once had. But it seems unlikely.

AnswertheCallSaveLUN

I will personally try to do a few things on this blog before then, but Life does move on. It seems like the story of LU, where everyone becomes lone rangers, carrying most of the weight. Netdevil abandons LU; TLT has several, first Gie005, then StopSecret. . . And now this Blog, for a time Rioforce seemed to carry all the weight. Now I’m the only one saying anything.

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I who once found LUN by accident, when the forum had just started, am now a writer of it’s blog. Another full circle. I’m glad to have participated in LU, The Legend Team, and finally this blog.

There’s so much to be thankful for. God has led me through so much. The LUN Forum community had been a wonderful place to participate in, helped me through lots, and I could probably write a tribute to that place alone. And many thanks to The Legend Team, I’ve been able to practice writing because of them (even if it isn’t fiction), so it’s sharpened my skills. And they gave me an interesting lesson.

Thank you all for participating in this community. And I hope we can all stick around longer.

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Final Thoughts.

Defining what LU meant for Me is somewhat complicated.

LEGO Universe had such an effect that even Roblox, a competitor, gave a few words in recognition of LU.

But to me, I look back and am surprised at all the things that happened in connection to LU. Including things I didn’t mention in either of these two posts.

In one way, it was a continuing lesson that nothing in this world gives lasting fulfillment. Everything in this world dies, and is forgotten by the world. All good things come to an end. And from our limited perspective it seems bad.

On the other, It has led to friendships, greater skills, knowledge we didn’t have. I believe God’s promise that “the end of a thing is better then the beginning”*, for He “worketh all things good to them that love Him”* He knows how to take bad and make good.

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Notes:

*Ecclesiastes 7:8 and Romans 8:28  respectively.

*** [BTW, it seems that Project BUILD is gone too, I cannot find any trace of it.]

Sorry for taking so long! A combination of rewriting this post several times, no home internet, and lack of research before starting, all worked together to make this longer then I would have hoped.

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Post-Script:

LEGO Universe had an interesting effect on the rest of the world.

Many later games took the idea of making a Name-Generator system for a Player’s characters. (Where names like UltraSpaceGadget comes from.) And they made it almost exactly the same way as LU.

LEGO Universe music is one of those things everybody praised, and it always gives us memories. It’s interesting how many places beyond LU I’ve heard them! I’ve heard some of the Beta music (by the Deviled Eggs) used on PBS tv shows! –Of course, when another LEGO game uses LU music for their trailer, it feels like a violation. [If you want to hear LU music, go here: https://legouniversenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/one-for-the-road/]

 

What LU meant for me (part 1)

This will be a two-part post, this 1st part will be about LU itself.

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The MMORPG, LEGO Universe, was shut down at the end of last month, in the year 2012. (6 years ago) It was a sad thing for many people, but interestingly enough was a turning point in my life. So I want to give glimpse of what LU meant for me, and to later show how God can use all things for His glory.

I found out about LU on the LEGO.com website. It was at the very beginning, they had put up a Teaser site, with the big “Coming Soon” words displayed. I quickly grew excited about the idea, and always paid attention to anything new that came onto the site.

It took a long time before things really started to change, I would look to the Lego message boards. I don’t remember too much about this time, I think they might have put up some Concept art. But at some point, behind the scenes, LU went through a design change. And so a lot of things began to change.

When it finally reached the time when LU needed Beta testers (a Beta test is the 2nd bout of testing for videogames. Usually when the important fundamentals are complete and it’s time to finish up and polish the game.) Things had gone through all sorts of changes. And the moment we could, the oldest two kids of our family (Me and Chewen), signed up using our parents e-mails, and waited to be accepted.

newsletter

Taken from LUN archives

During the wait we lost our home internet, which didn’t bode well for us being able to play. Then one day, our parents came home from using the internet at a library with the news. Both of us had been accepted into the LU beta. They later brought us to look at the e-mails. We were pretty ecstatic about it, literally jumping up and down, and the fact that we couldn’t play yet didn’t dampen our spirits.

Then we got dial-up internet, which didn’t solve the problem. If you ever tried it, you’d know that Dial-Up is slow. Very slow. We tried to install LU, but I think we only got the ‘patcher’ downloaded and running. There wasn’t much else we could do.

One good thing did happen at around this time though. I found this Lego Universe News blog. I believe it may have been technically before getting accepted into beta, but I can’t really remember. LegoFan101, the founder, had recently started the LUN forum. I quickly joined. (I’m the 8th member of the forum. 😛 ) And when we did get accepted for LU beta, I showed a picture of the acceptance e-mail as proof of my beta tester status so that I could be on the LU beta insider zone. Though I didn’t really participate there too much, since I didn’t have anything to add there.

lunheader2.png

Taken from LUN archives

There was a lot of good times on the LUN forum. It helped us go through the disappointment of not being able to actually play ourselves. Helped us, but it wasn’t really enough.

Finally, Lego Universe’s beta ended. They were ready for launch, it was officially launched in October (Chewen’s birth month). The moment we got to a store we showed our parents the game. They were uneasy with the price tag, and uneasy about the fact that you were paying a monthly subscription fee. We patiently explained to them that it was an MMO. The game world stays there forever. And the box included a month of free game-time anyway.

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Taken from LUN archives

We didn’t get it. It stayed in our minds though. We hoped that someday, maybe, we could possibly buy it.

Then, some months later, Free-To-Play. I think I discovered the news on the back of one of the LEGO store calendars. I, of course, immediately showed it to my brother. And we later convinced our parents to let us download and install Lego Universe.

That was definitely one of our happiest days of our lives, especially from that perspective. It was on even better then when we got accepted into beta (probably because we actually get to play it this time.). We got our first taste of LEGO Universe on a Sunday. I was first. I made my character, UltraSpaceGadget, and got playing.

It was fun, and what design flaws/problems that I can think of now, I didn’t notice yet. I wasn’t judging at the time, accepting it all. Though I didn’t have much to compare it to, having only played a couple other MMORPGs (Champions online, Runescape). At the time, if it was an MMO, we thought it was cool. It was the ultimate kind of videogame. So that was certainly in LU’s favor.

One problem we did find though, It was too short. I know now that Videogame critics, who played the game at launch, often complained that LU had too little structured content (Unstructured content would be the building ‘Properties’) and some even saying you could play the whole game within the first month of gameplay.

But we were in the Free-To-Play zone. And it was much more shorter. We played a little bit more after we had completed all the F2P quests, I even tried to get some of the wackier achievements like dying a certain amount by falling off a certain cliff. But finally we got bored. And so we stopped playing for a while, though we would come back now and then.

We still payed attention to any more news about LU, mainly through the LUN blog. Heard about all the new worlds being added. Like Crux prime, or Frostburgh. Project Moonbase was also interesting, allowing players add stuff to the official game was an amazing idea. If only LU would have stayed around. . .

One thing LU did was make the LEGO Club magazines even more better. If it mentioned LEGO universe, it became one of our favorite magazines. LU contests were ones we definitely tried to enter. It was my favorite part of any Lego magazine. When I later heard that some people didn’t like LU’s presence in the magazine, I was surprised. For us, Lego magazines lost some of their allure after LU shut down. Only when it gave news of other interesting LEGO games did our interest come back for a time (like LEGO City undercover, or LEGO Minifigures online.)

mag2010lu

That last year, I personally determined to save up some money to buy 1 month of membership for December. (Since Frostburgh only came around during that season, I thought it would be the best value month to buy membership on.) But then the news came. LEGO Universe is going to shut down.

What?

We complained as best we could in the LEGO message boards, it wasn’t good news at all. Though one side effect of that is we came back to play LEGO universe for a extended period of time, We played up to the day it closed. The last day of January.

They refunded everyone who paid for membership beyond the year of ??##, and gave a free membership for the month of January to everyone who ever paid for LU. I regretted never buying myself, but it was too late. I wish they had simply given EVERYONE free membership, but they didn’t. In my opinion they should have, but they had their reasons.

And when we were playing on that last day of LU in January. I finally realized that we could take screenshots. We never thought about doing that before. You played a game to have fun, not take pictures. But now LU was shutting down, and we had not even one screenshot of memories.

I took the only two screenshots of LU we ever made, probably on the last hour of LEGO Universe. The moderators, aka Mythrens, were giving everyone free goodies. Jetpacks, super powerful gear, etc. Using the powerful gear I increased my personal record for the Avant Gardens survival. Then I used the Jetpack to get into one of LEGO Universe’s ‘Glitch’ worlds. And there I took my two screenshots. One of me standing, wearing the jetpack. The second with me flying, a few moments later.

It was my brother Chewen who actually played the last moments. He didn’t take any screenshots though. And finally, Midnight. And the message pops up declaring that LEGO Universe is shut down.

The next day we try to open up LU again, just to see what happens. The message still pops up. We took a screenshot of that too.

(I cannot access either one of those screenshots at the moment . . . sadly 😦 )

But this isn’t the end of the story, LU may have shut down, but this caused shockwaves of effects. And though many didn’t realize it at the time, many changes occurred.

legounidown

The end of Part one.

(I’ll try to get the second part out fairly soon, It may take longer then I hope though.)

 

Please share any stories of LU that you found particularly memorable. or comment on my story. Ask questions, etc.

Darkflame Universe

So, another LU ‘remake’. . . (Or emulator)
This is Safe right? No hacking/Malware or that kind of stuff?

The Luprechaun

Hello everyone!

Aronwk here with some very exciting news! I’m sure alot of you know of the numerous projects that were made in order revive LEGO Universe.
Well the wait is no more! Darkflame Universe is here!

Darkflame Universe is an emulator for the popular LEGO MMOG, LEGO Universe, that closed in 2012. We strive to make this emulator as accurate as possible to how the game was during live, meaning we want all the features that the game had then to be working in this.

Because of that scope, we don’t have everything working just yet. You can currently play on the Venture Explorer and Avant Gardens, but no other worlds are available just yet. This means you can still smash Stromlings and other Maelstrom enemies, build quickbuilds, earn loot, complete achievements, socialize or just hang out like when the game was Live!

Alpha will start January 31st,2017. It…

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Where is LEGO Worlds?

It’s been a while since we (LUN) have talked about LEGO worlds, and those of you with good memories would also remember that LEGO worlds was hoped to be launched in early 2016 (We are now ending 2016, it is almost past us.)

LEGO worlds was a game that, in concept, is very similar to what LU was going to be originally. And is certainly similar to a game named Minecraft.

(Please see previous Blog posts for more info. Search LEGO Worlds)

So, Where in the world is LEGO Worlds?  Good question :P.


  Well, Here’s their answer. . .

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“The original plan was to finish the “v1” by mid 2016. However, the experience we have had, has been so overwhelmingly positive that we have decided to continue through to 2017. No firm date just yet, but we’ll share more when we can.”

And in another News update:

LEGO Worlds will be leaving Early Access in February 2017


     So I guess you can expect it sometime early next year!
Finally the wait is over. Maybe soon we will get to play it… 😛
That’s all for this news update!
NENEN

Great LEGO Videogame Moments

Soon the year is going to end, and for many of us Lego fans it reminds us of the end of LU. Instead of being sad, Let’s think about all the Great Moments we had playing both LU and Other Lego games.

I encourage you to share your Great Lego Videogame Moments in the Comments below. Let’s not end the year on a sad note.

First, the Writers of this blog will share some of ours (Me & Rioforce this time). Then in the Comments you guys can share yours! Everything from your Longest Survival in Advant Gardens (LU), to finishing an Online LEGO game. Other Examples would be the moments the contributing writers share.

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NENEN’s Moments:

I would like to share two (maybe three) different moments.

My First is a LEGO Island 2 moment.

A long time ago, when I was around 8, my father told me that he thought I was too old to play LEGO island 2 (because of the ‘suggested age’ on the box.) Me and my younger brother of course disagreed, and we challenged him to play it. Specifically the part where you have to fly an airplane and shoot bananas at the monkeys and get to the end before time runs out (We were stuck in that part.)

not my screenshot :(

not my screenshot 😦

Our father tried it, and failed. Several times I think (Not getting past). He exclaimed with surprise to us that, “This game is hard!” So much for me being too old!

My Second is the first time a played LU.

For multiple reasons, we never got to play in the Beta test of LEGO universe (even though we were accepted.) So we had to wait until it became Free-2-Play. When our parents let us install LU on the family computer. We were so happy! I went first, Made my character (UltraSpaceGadget) and played for a while… That was one great Sunday.

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RIOFORCE’s Moments:

Some of my favorite moments in a LEGO videogame occurred in LEGO Universe Beta. I was all into the out-of-bounds fascination that was going on at the time, even leading a group of players out of bounds to play. One of my favorite out-of-bounds areas was Nimbus Station. Getting out of bounds near the Forbidden Valley launchpad, I ventured around shark-infested landmasses and behind the Nexus Gate at Race Place. Wearing my cowboy hat and holding a key, I trolled in-bounds users saying that I was a GM and held the key to the Nexus Gate. Of course, I wasn’t, so I justified myself of the lie by making up my own acronym for “GM” that applied to me (I forget what it was, unfortunately). Ever since then I loved going Out of Bounds in LEGO Universe, both in Beta and free-to-play. I discovered quite a few holes in LEGO Universe in my time.

A hilarious event happened one day when a bunch of players and I were venturing out of bounds in the Avant Gardens spider cave. We were going around looking at the various cob webs and up at the “Spider Boss” and trading rare items. But immature as I was, I stuck to my “GM” acronym (which had something to do with my “club” of explorers of the unknown). This got me into trouble with the other users, for they were saying I was no GM, but I was insistent that I was. Before long, someone reported me to the mods. I received a big popup on my screen. “Please do not impersonate a GM,” it read. Interestingly enough, the mods didn’t even care that we were breaking the game, they just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t impersonating them!

That “run-in” with the mods made me realize I shouldn’t be impersonating moderators. However, it never stopped me from going out-of-bounds in LEGO Universe. In fact, I did it until the very day that the game closed its doors for good.

-rioforce

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Now it’s your Turn guys!

LEGO® Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™

The Newest in LEGO’s videogame franchise. LEGO® Star Wars™: The Force Awakens™  promises to be something more than the Previous games.

Here are some of the Features

http://www.lego.com/en-us/starwars/games/videogame :

 Relive the Blockbuster Action – Blast off into a new and improved LEGO Star Wars experience that takes fans deeper into the new film than any other game, retold through the clever and witty LEGO lens.

Exclusive New Story Levels – Experience untold adventures set before Star Wars: The Force Awakens through exclusive new story levels that takes place between Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and the new film.

Variety of Characters, Vehicles & Locations – Play as all of the heroic characters from the movie, including Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and BB-8, as well as Kylo Ren, General Hux and Captain Phasma, while exploring iconic Star Wars locales, such as Jakku and Starkiller Base, and utilizing a multitude of vehicles along the way.

Build… and Rebuild – Through the enhanced “Multi-Builds” system, players must choose from multiple building options – to puzzle solve, or just for fun – all advancing the game in different ways.

Exciting New Blaster Battles – Use your surroundings as cover during intense Blaster Battles and drive back the relentless First Order.

Experience the Galaxy Like Never Before – Experience the thrill of high-speed, action-packed flight gameplay like never before, including arena-based battles and dogfights in space

More “I” in A.I. – Enemy fighters can now build using LEGO bricks to support their fellow Stormtroopers, calling in air support, reinforcements or heavy artillery – taking the fight to the Resistance with the power of LEGO!

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Personally, what I find most interesting is the ‘Build and Rebuild’ ; ‘New blaster battles’ ; and Better AI. (Arguably the only real new features :P)

When referring to the Blaster battles the Walmart Gamecenter magazine said that those battles take ideas from third-person shooters (Such as the use of Cover),  and these battles will feature more prominently compared to the Lightsaber battles of past games. The Enhanced A.I. help make these battles even more interesting.

The Build and Rebuild sounds like a really great idea (Allowing you to ‘Build’ multiple things using the same pile of bricks)

It will release around the 28th of June 2016. On PS4, PS3, PSVITA, Xbox ONE, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC

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(Also See http://videogames.lego.com/en-us/lsw-the-force-awakens/about )