Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Review

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Platform Adventure
 
Rating: PG
 
Release Date: Out Now
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/5


 

Positives


-Massive amount of levels, ships, characters, worlds and content from across the Star Wars universe
-Great sense of humour with plenty of references and jabs that Star Wars fans will love
-More open design makes exploration more enticing

Negatives


-Co-op experience feels lacking compared to older Lego games
-Upgrades feel great in some areas, not so much in others.


Posted April 10, 2022 by

 
Full Article
 
 

The original Lego Star Wars game, based on the then-brand new prequel movies, was a smash hit success – a co-op platformer that not only provided a family friendly adventure, but poked fun at some of the franchise’s most famous moments. The formula proved to be so successful, that it would shape the output of developer Traveller’s Tales for decades to come, as well as Lego games in general as Lego Star Wars sequels followed built on the formula, alongside Lego Indiana Jones, Lego Harry Potter, Lego Lord of the Rings, Lego Batman, Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, and so on and so forth. It’s worked well for 17 years, but it’s fair to say it’s been stretched as far as it can go over that time, and could do with a refresh. Enter: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. The latest Lego game not only aims to provide a comprehensive Star Wars experience that spans the breadth of the nine main movies, but also update the Lego gameplay for a new generation.

The first obvious shift comes in perspective, as the once floating-high camera has been replaced by a much closer over-the-shoulder view. The result is an experience that’s clearly aiming for a much more cinematic look and feel, as while characters and destructible objects are built from Lego, the actual worlds they inhabit are built as realistically as the sets from the movies, and impress just as much running on PlayStation 5. While aspects of the Lego experience remain the same, it all feels like more of a shift to a more traditional third-person adventure title now, with specific aiming with guns and lightsabers often necessary. The real drawback to this perspective, however, is the co-op experience, which is limited to local multiplayer and takes place entirely in split-screen. The appeal of the wider perspective in older Lego games was that it largely kept both players on-screen at once, and made collaborating easier. By comparison, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga feels less welcoming to younger or less experienced players, and is best played either single-player or with a friend already well versed in modern 3D game exploration.

There’s also a skill tree now, split across several categories that can unlock ‘core’ upgrades that affect all characters, or class-specific upgrades for certain types. It’s not too in-depth, especially compared to the upgrade paths in larger single-player experiences, but it does give more meaning to the collectibles you gather throughout the game. Kyber Bricks earned for specific missions and objectives can be used for upgrades, while the millions of studs that are traditionally gathered around levels can be used to purchase other things, like classic Star Wars ships for unlimited use.

Combat has also seen an upgrade, as Travellers Tales are clearly trying to get away from the simple single attacks from older games. A combo system has been implemented that lets you string together attacks from all face buttons, juggling enemies into the air, and dodging attacks. It generally works best in the many lightsaber duels in boss fights, when dodging telegraphed lightsaber sweeps and following up with a flurry of attacks of your own really helps the battles feel much more like their big-screen counterparts. In regular gameplay, it sometimes gets in the way more than it assists. When faced with a group of disposable stormtroopers, you’re often wishing you could just bop them apart into Lego bits like in the past, rather than having to enter a one-on-one combo to bypass a shield and take them out. It affects the pacing of levels, which sometimes force you to arbitrarily defeat ‘X’ number of baddies before allowing progress, and you’re kind of forced to use a blaster just because headshots seem to down enemies more quickly.

Aside from combat, there’s also a range of simple puzzles, usually relying on character class-specific abilities (like Rey’s scavenger ability to craft net launchers or other devices) to further progress. There’s nothing too difficult here compared, as Lego games have never had especially high difficulty, but sometimes objectives for a puzzle can be poorly telegraphed, so that you may find yourself wondering around what exactly you’re even meant to be doing. At the other end of the spectrum, the UI occasionally over-explains and gets in the way of the experience, as entering new areas or starting missions all receive a barrage of wearying ‘Are you sure?’ screens.

But, onto the good. The best part of all this is, of course, the wealth of content here for Star Wars fans. The Skywalker Saga covers all nine main films, including the original, prequel and sequel trilogies, with all the planets, characters, ships and storylines contained within (as well as some extra ones if you shelled out for the Deluxe DLC packs, including The Mandalorian, Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story). While you’re limited to playing as the canonical characters your first time through each level (like, say, Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi on in Episode I‘s intro), you’re encouraged to come back and replay levels to fully unlock everything, as characters from different films may have abilities you need to unlock secret areas, or help make side quests easier. As you play through and unlock more episodes, those worlds become available to you to explore at your leisure, even with their own outer space zones you can fly around in with the Star Wars ship of your choice. You can explore Ahch-To, take off, enter hyperspace to fly to Naboo, and land much as you would in the Star Wars universe. Now that’s pretty cool.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga‘s sense of humour is also a big reason Star Wars fans will want to pick this one up. While often story scenes are played relatively straight, with soundalikes delivering dialogue directly from the movies, there’s also a litany of gags and jabs at the franchise’s expense. There’s visual gags here that younger players will absolutely enjoy, meme-aware jokes that play on what general fans will be aware of (Anakin’s immortal “I don’t like sand” line, for instance), and then there’s quite a few deep cut references to behind-the-scenes or super specific Star Wars trivia that will delight the faithful fans.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga re-energises the Lego franchise with upgrades across its visuals, combat, gameplay and exploration, making a more modern take on the Lego series that encourages several playthroughs to see and collect everything. Not every upgrade necessarily makes for a superior experience, and The Skywalker Saga definitely works best as a single-player experience. However, the developers clearly love Star Wars, and have made a game that will appeal to original, prequel and sequel fans equally, with plenty of adventure, content and laughs to satiate everyone – a unifying Force for the fandom, hopefully.


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.