[REVIEW] LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

A long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away… Gamers waited patiently for the day that their ultimate nocturnal nerd emission could be translated into the cold-light of day. Despite numerous pushbacks and delays, we can now safely say, the wait was worth it, as LEGO dish up a brilliantly fun, bright, and playable portrayal of all 9 movies in ‘The Skywalker Saga’. In fact, in many senses, the circle is now complete. When LEGO left us with 2005’s ‘Lego Star Wars’ on PS2, they were the learner. Now, they are the master. Sure, there have been Star Wars titles released since… Activision’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’ was a hugely under-rated gem, whilst EA performed admirably with both ‘Battlefront’ and ‘Jedi: Fallen Order’. But we’ve never quite seen the true Grand Theft Auto-style open-world freedom of each and every planet from the Star Wars saga which Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment are so readily delivering here!

Gone are those wide-spanned camera angles of previous LEGO titles, now focusing on the same tight third-person view which can be readily altered and swung 360 with a flick of the right analogue stick, in similar fashion to the uber-successful Spider-Man title of recent years. There’s also a huge difference in overall feel of characters based on strengths and abilities. For example, non-force users may rely on their blasters but feel – on the whole – average, physically. Whereas Jedi are not just notably faster across the ground thanks to force-speed, but are able to influence foes with mind tricks, and use the force to lift and throw objects, enemies, and much more. All of this without even whipping out a lightsaber (yet). The level of realism in this aspect is something which wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by Star Wars aficionados, with combinations of various costumes and appearances unlockable via gameplay, meaning key characters such as Luke Skywalker can don themselves in several chameleon-esque ways. From whiny moisture farmer Luke in the white robe, to orange-uniformed squadron fighter Luke,Return of the Jedi’ all-black kitted master Luke, and everything that comes inbetween.

The sheer amount of playable characters here (over 400 in total) is mind-boggling, and whilst you’d expect the likes of Vader, Palpatine, Kylo Ren and Obi-Wan etc to feature heavily, there’s also a nod to even the most minor of characters to have appeared on a Star Wars screen, giving you the choice to flap your way around as Watto, or sneer at young pod-racers as the slimy Sebulba. As for settings, the level of detailing is utterly jaw-dropping. Whether heading into light-speed into the Millennium Falcon and jetting off to the sandy dunes of Tatooine, or popping into the X-Wing to pay Master Yoda a visit in the murky swaps of Dagobah, there’s a fully immersive planet packed with incredible realism at just about every turn of the galaxy. You can even pilot a tie fighter to Mustafar and take the high ground, should you so wish.

If there is one slight criticism of the LEGO Skywalker Saga, it may present itself in the somewhat ‘easy’ feel of gameplay. Characters crumble into broken LEGO pieces when their health bar runs empty, only to rebuild themselves into full plastic-shine glory a matter of seconds later, giving no real feel of ‘consequence’ or realism to reckless battles a you run head-on into the blast of Stormtrooper lasers. Having said that, this is also a redeeming feature of the game, allowing both children and adults alike a superbly fun, and care-free gameplay experience, devoid of the worrying ‘realism’ of war; something we’re faced with all too often via world events right now in our ‘real’ lives. There is also a huge amount of logic needed to work out certain puzzles, or where to place items at which moments and using which characters, which will get the braincells of even the highest IQs ticking into overdrive on certain levels, all whilst perfectly straddling the line of perfectly achievable for all.

Overall, LEGO manage to sprinkle in a fabulously humorous touch to several of the movie’s key moments in a way we’ve become typically accustomed to from the Danish toy manufacturer. Connecting with fans via several of the series most-loved nuggets (‘Duel of the Fates‘, anyone?), you’ll be hard-pushed to find a better value-for-money game this year. Whilst each individual episode, whether played via story-mode or free-play, could easily have been released title-by-title, the Skywalker Saga gives fans 9 games in one with a title which will easily keep us occupied all the way through the next few months at bare minimum. By delivering us a GTA of the Star Wars world, LEGO have provided fans with something we never realised just how desperately we craved. It’s only whilst holding down R2, to ironically spin R2 through the Mos Eisley Cantina, that you realise… This was the droid we’re looking for, and most importantly, this was THE game we’d been waiting for.

CULTR Rating: 9/10




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