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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Blockbuster action in the biggest brick-based game yet

Play all the films, including the sequels and the prequels

Jasper Pickering
Monday 04 April 2022 16:02
<p>This is where the fun begins </p>

This is where the fun begins

Since 2005, TT Games has been using the Star Wars franchise to create blocky miniaturisations of gigantic film properties that are highly marketable to family audiences.

What makes the Lego games so engaging are not just their ease of access but high replayability and a seemingly bottomless toybox of characters and vehicles.

Across Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and even Lord of the Rings, the Lego games follow a familiar pattern: Journey through each film across a handful of levels that succinctly capture their most recognisable set pieces with as much accuracy as a cast of minifigures can muster.

Along the way, players will collect Lego studs, complete simple puzzles and find hidden collectibles to unlock more content before moving on to the next instalment or replaying it with the shackles of canon removed. Want to relieve the trade blockade on Naboo as a hulking rancor? Go right ahead.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a grand continuation of this process encompassing all three of the mainline trilogies with as much enthusiasm and heartfelt appreciation as could be expected from a studio working on their sixth tie-in of the sci-fi epic.

How we tested

We tested the PS5 version of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. As players can choose which trilogy to start from, we chose The Phantom Menace and worked our way through each episode numerically.

‘Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’: £49.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Consoles: PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
  • Release date: 5 April 2022
  • Age rating: 7+

Story

If you’re familiar with each of the mainline trilogies in the Star Wars franchise, then the Lego reinterpretation doesn’t stray far off the mark. But it does engage with the source material in a fun way that plays up the laughs.

As each chapter begins, players are treated to the familiar yellow text crawl before assuming the roles of its featured characters. Cutscenes then loosely follow along with the original script, with the Lego series’ usual penchant for slapstick humour combined with a re-read of George Lucas’s famously stilted dialogue.

Try spinning – that’s a good trick

With that, some of the darker scenes of Star Wars are greatly child-proofed, but even its most notorious moments aren’t free from light-hearted scrutiny, with plenty of inside jokes thrown in for good measure. The omission of Chewbacca’s medal at the end of Episode IV, or Obi Wan Kenobi’s inexplicable confrontation with General Grievous in Episode III, both make standout moments in the fresh interpretation.

It’s a testament to the love and fan service that the source material has generated that even despite numerous flaws, all the films are given equal treatment in their condensed runtimes.

Gameplay

The Skywalker Saga has developed from previous iterations of licensed tie-ins, moving away from the button-mashing and repetitive action.

Combat for one has been greatly improved with a combo system that utilises dodging and counters to greater effect, without being unwieldy for younger players, and an updated over-the-shoulder camera also makes for more engaging gunplay with blasters and other long-range weapons.

Claim the high ground as a Jedi or deal in absolutes as a Sith

Force-sensitive characters have always been the go-to for their fighting prowess and abilities, but now even protocol droids are more engaging to experiment with different playstyles.

There are a number of different character types with different abilities, with nearly 400 to choose from in the base game alone. Of course, Jedi and Sith characters make an appearance but other character archetypes such as scavengers and bounty hunters have unique abilities exclusive to them.

This also plays into Lego Star Wars’sco-operative mode, as each character feels more balanced, with a fairer share of abilities to overcome obstacles. The second player has more bearing over the direction of exploration as a result. Rey and BB-8 are both capable characters that rely on each other’s strengths for traversal in Episode VII, for instance.

Read more: Nintendo Switch release date for ‘The Force Unleashed’ is set for April 2022

One thing that is missing from previous Lego games is the option to customise a unique player character but as there is so much already being offered within its vast library, it more than makes up for it.

Exploration

Each episode contains five levels interwoven throughout a galactic network of familiar planets, spaceports and ships, which do well to map the distinct aesthetic of each trilogy, whether that takes place in the underwater Gungan city in Naboo or on the Star Destroyer graveyard on Jakku. If it weren’t for the studded architecture or roaming minifigures, the locales could easily be passed off as their own CGI recreation.

The removal of a central hub in favour of a greater level of detail on each planet means there is plenty more to uncover outside of the main story missions. However, the varying level of detail and depth across each world makes certain areas feel underwhelming.

Players may not be inclined to revisit the aquatic planet of Kamino from Attack of the Clones as they would be to step into Mos Eisley on Tatooine, one of the series’s most frequent backdrops.

Explore the entire galaxy as Rey

Within each of those maps outside of missions are optional NPC quests, puzzles and platforming challenges to unlock new characters, ships and “kyber” bricks (replacing gold bricks from previous games) that can be used to unlock new abilities. There are over 1,100 of these bricks to be found throughout the galaxy with plenty hidden in plain sight.

Kyber bricks also play into the game’s levelling system, which requires a set number of bricks and studs to upgrade abilities – whether that’s movement speed or being able to locate hidden objects.

Model kits also make a return and are just as elusive to locate all five pieces, especially on the first pass of a level. As each story mission needs to be completed with the requisite characters of that film, it means that it is almost impossible to complete a level in its entirety on one playthrough, encouraging players to attempt the level again with access to the wider Star Wars universe.

The verdict: ‘Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’

The Skywalker Saga is a fitting tribute to the most enduring film franchise of the last three generations. Fans of both properties will enjoy it, especially those young enough to have missed the first few instalments. For longtime fans of Lego Star Wars, there’s enough of an improvement to the tried and tested formula to warrant some intrigue, if only to see how far the series has come along.

Like other Lego games, the sheer amount of content that can be uncovered is staggering and players could spend hours searching for every brick. This feedback loop lends itself well to the simplicity of its gameplay, making it simple enough for beginners to enjoy, but also difficult to master.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

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