The newest iteration in the LEGO game collection is here, and it’s definitely much different from previous entries in the LEGO franchise.
The first thing you’ll notice is that instead of the iconic camera angle that you get when playing LEGO games, you’ll get a third-person view from behind the character. This felt weird at first but it’s very quickly to get used to. Not only that, levels are more interactive with much more going on – they don’t feel long and like a slog to get through like many LEGO games in the last five years have; it feels natural and there’s enough going on (challenges that you can do, minikits, etc) that the time will pass by quicker.
Almost all of the levels in the game feel different to each other and add a lot of variety to the missions. You’re not just playing the same thing over and over like previous entries, you’re doing something different every time. This is the most engaging and vast that I’ve seen a game in the series be since the first LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game in 2013 (which to no surprise, is my favourite of all LEGO games). Some of these levels have variations on parts of the older Star Wars games like the Complete Saga, there’s the podrace which has been nicely redone to mimic modern racing games, the Death Star trench run is the same but different, lightsaber duels have been entirely changed (as you’d expect) but they’re still really fun. There’s different challenges to complete, some of which will require you to go back to play with unlocked content, and five minikits per level. Originally, there were ten minikits per level but with how much there is to do in the levels, limiting it to five can’t be seen as a complaint because there’s already so much amazing stuff going on in each level.
Even outside of the levels, there is a massive (and I mean massive) open world. “Galaxy free-play” is an option to choose, where you can explore all the hubs without being locked inside of different episodes. When I say this is big, it’s absolutely huge. I think it may be one of the biggest LEGO freeroam areas to date. You can explore almost all of the planets in the films and each one has their own hub full of unlockables, secrets and a plethora of content to sift through.
There’s upgrades an abilities that you can unlock using studs and kyber bricks to make the game more fun. Attract studs, make unlockables easier to find, baguette lightsabers – it’s all there. Not only that, but there’s 380 characters to unlock. That’s more than 100 more than LEGO Avengers, which previously had the most unlockables at 250. This time, unlockables are split into groups and classes, a great addition considering how many there are in the game. The aforementioned upgrades are also split into class distinctions, giving you unique boosts to each of the different types of character you’ll play as in the game. Bounty hunter, jedi, sith, astromech droid – they all have different abilities that can be upgraded through the menu. Although they don’t use kyber bricks, you can find special data pieces that can be unlocked to help buy what would’ve been red brick bonuses; if you love seeing 1235x studs in the corner while playing through the game and getting lots of cash, then that’s the option for you.
One of the most disjointed parts of the game is the blaster-shooting. It’s cool at first, and there’s barricades that you can hide behind if you’re a character with a gun, but it’s almost useless as you can just run up to the enemies and shoot them without much thought because your health just regenerates, so any health that you may have lost from being hit is already gained back. I think it’s understandable that it’s not very difficult because these games are targeted towards a family audience after all, but it would be nice if there was an option to amp up the difficulty on them to make them more of a threat and give the barriers a reason to exist.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a LEGO game without it’s humourous takes on the franchises that it’s spoofing. Most people were upset that LEGO Batman 2 started the trend of voice acting and that the joy of the games previously were its mumbled noises and portraying events through body language, props and expressions. I’m one of those people who think the majority of these games had the life sucked out of them through voice-acting (aside from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, which was thoroughly enhanced by it, but that may be the only one), so it’s great that there’s an option to enable mumble mode, switching the cutscenes from voice-acted to mumbled noises that made the original games so iconic. Even without mumbled mode, I think the game has done a great job of keeping its comedic charm and giving us the best of both worlds with its mix of voice-acting and physical performances.
We’ve all been used to most LEGO Star Wars games being stricly linear and place-to-place, but the Skywalker Saga is an almost completely open-world game – something I don’t think I’ve emphasised enough already. There’s 24 planets, all with their own different areas – some are just in orbit around them while most are completely explorable places on the planets themselves. Corusant is a fantastic example, it has two ground areas with so much content in both, including unlockable characters, ships, datacards and kyber bricks. Then, there’s a “space” area above the surface which also features some kyber bricks that you’re able to collect.
Looking back at older games, the detail that has gone into making each of these open-world planets is absurd – the feeling that you’re actually on these planets (albeit, in LEGO form) is really there. Every part is detailed to look as much like the planets in the Star Wars universe as possible. Instead of smaller, simplistic and easy to navigate levels and hubs like The Complete Saga had, there’s detail in everywhere that you look; the Death Star feels like the Death Star, and the two hubs from previous games – Dexter’s Diner and Mos Eisley – they’re actual places and aren’t just saved for cutscenes or a small hub to play levels, they’re explorable and look great.
Compared to the older, more memorable games in the LEGO franchise, the Skywalker Saga has changed mostly everything that made it recognisable and instead changed it to a more up-to-date, immersive adventure that uses technological advancements in the last 20 years to make an incredible game that is more in tone with modern games standards and delivers a great video-game from start to finish, with more content than ever before. The older games may be great, but the Skywalker Saga is an amazing entry that ties everything together and shows how much LEGO games have changed in the last twenty years. There’s so much going on that you can’t help but appreciate how much work has really gone into this game. You can explore every corner of the galaxy, unlock major and minor characters from every movie, there’s lots of reasons to use studs, there’s fun moments from the films and there’s lots of optional missions in free-play in both individual levels and in free-roam.
The Skywalker Saga is a fantastic subversion to the classic LEGO formula . The passion of the team behind the game can clearly be seen through how much the game has drastically changed from previous entries in the series. The prospect of a new Star Wars game that had all the movies together (again) was exciting enough, and Traveller’s Tales exceeded all expectations. It’s a must have for LEGO and Star Wars fans alike.