Ahh, Star Wars. A series of mostly delightful children’s films that somehow generates absurd furious discourse. Whether it be Ewoks, Gungans or Holiday Specials there’s always something to inspire internet bile. Therein lies the magic of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. From the opening cutscene spanning all three trilogies, a firm sense of gleeful unity is established. Characters across the series stand proudly together around the game’s logo, a seeming balance to the Force. Regardless of anyone’s feelings on any of the films, a goofy good time is promised.
Putting the “block” in blockbusters, the Lego series’ riffs on popular films started with the Star Wars prequels back in 2005. The simplicity of the game along with its charming humour and co-op made it a firm family favourite. Followed up with the original trilogy, Clone Wars cartoon and episode VII, the series has stuck around, albeit drowned out slightly by the mass of other Lego games.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – A Bigger Fish
Playing the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga feels like a quantum leap in many ways. A leap made with a faulty hyperdrive anyway. Every major gameplay advancement comes at the expense of older qualities that made the original titles so enticing. The enormous open worlds and interplanetary travel is exciting and vast but it comes at the expense of the excellently designed levels of the originals. Now individual films are retold in a combination of open-world sections with some linear levels thrown in. Bizarre story cuts are made to tell these truncated tales: Alderaan’s iconic destruction is absent!
After booting Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga up you can choose to begin episodes I, IV or VII. You have to play these to unlock their subsequent episodes meaning you can pick your favourite trilogy and have a complete story arc or go through the entire saga in order. Jumping around may be the best way to play, meaning you can unlock character classes for free play exploration. It’s a shame to see the hilarious humour of older titles diluted through full voice acting. As a wise Irish Jedi once said, the ability to speak does not make you intelligent.
No one’s ever really gone
Characters have so many abilities compared to older titles. Playing as a Jedi you now have extensive Force abilities. From picking up objects to commanding weak-minded NPCs. Blaster based heroes now play like a third-person shooter, taking cover and even blasting off trooper helmets with precise shots.
Even protocol droids now have an effete slap and can disassemble themselves in order to sneak through small passages! With 380 characters to unlock there’s a wide range of utilities that will come in handy for free mode exploration. Characters across the saga are represented but sadly Solo, Rogue One and Mandalorian characters are paid DLC.
A Different Point of View
Space exploration and combat feel extremely responsive and exciting. Bizarrely the dogfights feel almost exactly lifted from the last Battlefront title, the battle over Naboo feeling insanely hectic for a Lego game. Ground combat has been spruced up with a weird combo system that never quite clicks, a hollow attempt at improving a system that never required further elaboration. Co-op is also rejigged to suit the game’s enormous size, though at the expense of the clarity of the original titles.
While it’s great to see this series continue its newfound ambition has led to newfound weaknesses in the formula. The size, visuals and addictive gameplay are all still very impressive but the scourge of open-world spread rears its ugly head. Star Wars fans will be tickled pink by the in-jokes and bonkers unlockables (Yaddle!) but the uninitiated will be left cold.