Gaming

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Review)

During times where the “big C” visits your household, you really need to find something to pass the time that can keep you entertained and distracted for a long time and the collect-a-thons that are the Lego games have been renowned for just that, giving players plenty to do. And with the newest game in the popular Lego Star Wars series there’s certainly a lot to keep you occupied for a long time, in a galaxy far, far away… sorry had to add that bit… the Star Wars nerd that’s part of my psyche pummeled my keyboard reflexes into typing it.

At its core, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga doesn’t stray too far from previous games in that it interprets the films into playable areas and missions/levels. Covering nine movies means there is a lot to see and the game does have its own uinque take on events, not a pure copy paste from past games, which gives you a lot of incentive to play through them all again. These changes go beyond just more movies being crammed into a single game. The visuals have been tweaked a lot including a much tighter third person view and for people like me who’ve only played the early games there’s plenty of voice acting here now too. That aspect alone might appeal to old fans wanting to revisit the series on their newer consoles.

Structurally the game still shares a lot of DNA with its predecessors. Hub areas connect up the individual missions that push the stories forward but the scope of what it all encompasses really sets it apart. Some locations are revisited often through the trilogy like Tatooine, everyone’s favourite desert world, so it makes sense to allow players to return to them as needed. Combined with players being able to fly many of the ships in the game you can easily travel between these locations and explore and there is just so much to do that it’s going to give completionists plenty to them occupied. With all there is to see it really gives a strong impression that few corners were cut.

Playing through each of the movies is accessible through a cool menu with animated Lego based on key scenes and it’s worth watching them as they are pretty funny in action. You can choose to start from any of the first movies in each trilogy and their sequels will unlock as you complete them. As you complete levels and discover new areas they become accessibile in the free play mode – this lets you tackle them again using anything you’ve previously unlocked which will help you get that hard earned 100%. Seeing as I’m old school (or just old) I had to start from the original trilogy. I had to do it also because I wanted to see how it differed from the original game. The narrative is still similar but there is more than enough differences in gameplay that it does feel like a new experience. That flying exists outside missions is a nice change – if you enjoy space combat it’s easy to find a zone and spend an hour shooting down fighters if that’s all you want.

Controls are good in the ground segments with and the tighter third person view works well for players with guns with characters also able to take cover. There’s generous aim assist which keeps the action swift and lets button mashers have a lot of fun. Prompts come up for more advanced skills or quick time events which mix up battles further. The camera can be a problem occasionally in cases such as climbing when you need to lock onto a handhold for a jump or grapple hook shot and just can’t get it right which can force you to make more mistakes than you might like. Flight controls feel like a simplified Rogue Squadron but apart from some minor differences in fire rate all the ships feel much the same which means for the majority of combat or race challenges you can get away with whatever you are flying with at the time.

As with any Lego game, the collection of studs (the series currency) is what you need to focus on if you’re wanting to unlock particular characters, ships or upgrade classes. While most characters that a part of the same class will substitute fine there are some that have unique traits you might find useful such as Boba Fett and his rocket pack. I suppose if I had any single gripe it’s that for the completionists there’s a lot of additional steps required to get everything. Where previously it was just about collecting all the studs you need there’s now also finding data cards that are necessary for unlocking the bigger perks such as the highly useful multipliers.

Visually the game is really good with a great amount of detail going into the characters and environments. In close up you can see imperfections in the surfaces of faces which really sells the idea these are Lego Minifigures – the same tricks that The Lego Movie used to brilliant effect. In the hub worlds there are some expansive areas littered with destructible items and plenty of NPCs to wreak havoc on and it runs well. The audio is backed to the brim with classic Star Wars themes, sound effects and excellent voice acting, though Qui-Gon Jinn does sound a little more Sean Connery and less Liam Neeson.

I’ve easily spent thirty hours playing the game so far and combined with chasing after a 100% completion I’d imagine I’ll spend at least another ten hours after completing all the movies. After playing through the first two trilogies I already feel like I’ve got my money’s worth so anything after more is a bonus, even if it’s just to play through the sequel trilogy which I think are the weakest of them even in game form. Even when facing the weakest aspects of the game though the broad humour goes a long way in keeping you playing and a great quality of the series has always been how it isn’t afraid to crack a joke at its own expense or that of the franchise it is built on. Overall it’s hard to not be impressed with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – it packs a lot of content into the game with more than enough variety to keep players engaged for a very long time.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is out now for PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch. Played on an Xbox Series X.

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