The force is strong with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Naff’s puns aside, this is the best LEGO game yet and one of the most ambitious Star Wars games ever. In a way, you could even say it makes the movies better.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, out this week on PlayStation, Xbox, PC and Nintendo Switch, retells all nine of the franchise’s main episode films, from The Phantom Menace through the original trilogy to the conclusion of The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s worth noting that you can start with any trilogy and switch between these trilogies at any time. However you like to watch the Star Wars films in the right order, there will be something on offer to suit your preferences.
The nice thing is, even if you didn’t like some of these movies when they were released, you can enjoy them here. The game doesn’t hesitate to poke fun at them, acknowledging and addressing some of the usual concerns and good-naturedly jabbing at the very same moments that probably offended your taste in the first place.
The game adds additional dialogue, new visuals, and lots of gags to expand on what was seen in the movies, and in some cases even goes so far as to connect some dots that weren’t explicitly connected in the movies .
For example, if you hang around Maz’s cantina longer than Rey did in The Force Awakens, you’ll hear this Han Solo did at least know something about Rey’s legacy – even if the films only revealed it two episodes later. Moments like this, while played for laughs, tighten the overall storytelling in a more cohesive way than the films.
This revisionist tale of space opera is welcome in this author’s household to such an extent that we’d say LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is worth seeking out for any Star Wars fans looking to improve their relationship with the films .
Given that the chance of a non-LEGO game or other retelling of these films seems very slim, this is your best chance to rekindle your love for the Skywalker saga of the same name. It helps fix the movies so all those disparate building blocks fit together a little better than they do on the big screen.
Aside from this admirable structural work on the storytelling side, this game is also impressively extensive on a physical level. Each world you visit for a story mission also has at least one open-world area, each filled with fun little puzzles and side-missions (many of which contain Easter eggs and references).
In the Galactic Freeplay mode, which you unlock after completing your first episode, you can travel between these planets in any unlocked ship (you might even come across some space battles along the way) and switch between characters whenever you like (you could e.g. switch to a Force user like Obi-Wan Kenobi for a puzzle and then to a protocol droid for the next task and then to a stormtrooper and so on).
Very few Star Wars games have offered so many planets to explore and characters to control. There are hundreds of characters in the game, split into numerous classes, each with different abilities, and the paid Character Collection DLC also adds The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.
And even though much of the world is made of bricks, there are still moments when the graphics and design look noticeably impressive. There truly is an entire galaxy to explore, which is no small feat. There are 24 planets to be precise, which is certainly a lot more than your average non-LEGO Star Wars game.
At the macro level too, moment-to-moment gameplay feels deeper and more varied than previous LEGO games have achieved. You can now properly aim with armed characters. Or in melee situations, there’s now a combo system that prevents you from just pressing a button to attack.
The level design feels more complicated than previous LEGO games and for us everything went smoothly, making for a fun and at times slightly challenging experience (this is definitely a game for kids, but adult fans will love it too).
There are often multiple ways to move through an area, and sometimes you’ll have to switch between characters in wildly different locations to find the solution you’re looking for. LEGO games have dabbled in these types of level design ideas before, but they feel refined and perfected here.
Some characters have multiple abilities – scavengers like Rey can cobble together a variety of tools, from gliders to net-throwing devices to help you scale walls – and this gives you options that allow you to think your way through a situation , instead of just storming through it.
It’s worth noting that all the episodes here were made from scratch. Even if you’ve played the latest LEGO Star Wars game (LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens from 2016) or any title before it, you’ve never played through the Skywalker story this way.
Special credit also goes to the audio, which blends those familiar orchestral voices with impeccable dialogue and an array of authentic sound effects from the movies. All of this adds to the overall immersiveness and helps make this galaxy feel alive and interesting despite being made entirely out of toy parts.
Playfulness runs through every element of this game, with punchlines and wry nods lurking around every corner on every planet. And when you bring weird character combos together in weird side-mission situations (e.g. Emperor Palpatine and Jar Jar Binks working together to round up some rogue droids on Tatooine), it really feels like the kind of silly fun a kid would dream of along while playing with their Star Wars LEGO sets on the floor at home.
If you’re a Star Wars fan and have ever enjoyed a LEGO game, we highly recommend checking it out. All of the upgrades take a few hours to get used to and the menu system is a bit unwieldy, but it’s worth sticking with. Just like a real LEGO set, when it all comes together you see something wonderful and can’t wait to pick it up and play.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be released on April 5, 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. We reviewed the Xbox Series X. Pre-orders are possible available at Amazon and other retailers
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