They might seem like a videogame staple now, but back in early 2005 there was no such thing as a Lego videogame. Lego Star Wars on PS2 was quite the revelation at the time and it seemed staggering that nobody had come up with it before. Of course, there’s since been many many different Lego games based on many other film franchises, not just Star Wars. Lego Star Wars II was an Xbox 360 launch title and along with Complete Saga and a numbered third installment during the same console generation, we’ve only had Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2016 since.
All of which brings us lurching to the present and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. If it feels a bit late compared to the last film having been released, you’d be right in thinking it’d been a while. The original release date for this was pencilled in as October 2020, until you know, 2020 lurched into existence. So it’s understandable that here we are eighteen months later finally at release.
As the title The Skywalker Saga might suggest, this covers all nine films, barring the spinoff Solo & Rogue One one-offs. Each of the films is represented across five distinct levels, the challenge for developer Traveller’s Tales being which set-pieces they choose to include. For the most part they’ve done a good job in fleshing out each set of levels with expansive hub worlds. It’s an understandable design choice, but inevitably means that scenes worthy of game treatment fall by the wayside. Many will have been included in the prior games, but it feels like the last two films aren’t really given a fair crack of the whip in some respects.
Given the last Lego Star Wars only covered the seventh film, this is the first outing for the final two films of the saga, being released in 2017 and 2019 respectively. We can’t help but feel the game should’ve perhaps been focussed more on those entries rather than the prior seven films, so perhaps this is more of a greatest hits album with the final quarter being new material.
Though given the way the last two films panned out, this probably isn’t a wholly terrible idea. Floaty Space Leia is thankfully relegated to an intermediate cutscene. Though pivotal scenes like the climax of The Last Jedi on the salt flats are barely shown. So it’s a mixed bag in terms of what’s included. You do get the daft space horses on the hull of a Star Destroyer set piece though. It’s not quite as groanworthy as in the cinema, but not far off.
Some levels can feel a bit terse and over very quickly at times, just as they’re hitting their stride. Though others are multipart and go on for a while with switching from one pair of players to another being possible.
This being the Skywalker Saga, lightsaber battles are very much at the forefront throughout each episode, beginning with Luke vs Vader during the classic trilogy, generally Obi-Wan vs all comers in the prequels, culminating with Rey fighting Kylo Ren over and again in the final three. Close quarter saber combat isn’t particularly fluid, but the speed and flow of the film fights are well conveyed via standard attacks and occasional QTE prompts. The latter aren’t quite as evil as you’d expect thankfully.
If you’ve ever played any of the Lego games, barring outliers like Rock Band, you’ll be well aware of how things pan out. The Skywalker Saga is no different in that respect, in terms of you’ll play through the levels once chronologically following the events of the story. As you go you’ll witness various collectibles that you can’t necessarily gather just yet due to not having the necessary character abilities just yet. Then you get to replay and hoover up the remaining collectibles.
In the prior Lego games this was quite onerous, especially taking into account ten collectibles per level. Multiply that by forty five levels, and you’re looking at a massive collectathon on the magnitude of a latter-day Ubisoft open-world game. Bearing this in mind, TT have dropped the collectibles to five a level instead. Well after a fashion they have. There’s now three hidden level goals into the bargain. We’d like to say they come through normal gameplay, but they rarely do. They reward experimentation and thoroughness, put it that way.
If you’re struggling to get them, you can spend studs to reveal the objectives, but that’s more of an endgame mopup activity as we see it. Let’s just say by the time we finished the entire saga of all forty five levels, we’d only managed to get all objectives on one single level. Yup.
There’s two main types of currency ingame, primarily studs that you’ll gather from normal gameplay, then kyber bricks you get from fulfilling objectives and from finding them in the various hub worlds. At six bricks per standard level, you’re looking at almost three hundred from that activity alone. Once all the hub levels and everything else is taken into account, you’re looking at four times that number in all. This is in part due to some events flinging five bricks at you for one of the easiest tasks there is.
Voice acting is generally good, though there’s occasional characters that we found particularly jarring. Qui-Gon Jinn is way off for example, we get that Liam Neeson was likely otherwise disposed but the inflection of this character was off to the extent we almost enabled the mumble voices to replicate the early games. Thankfully this is the exception.
There’s so much to do in this game that you’ll do well not to get caught up in busywork when between campaign missions, though oddly sometimes you’ll be in a hub level with your character choice locked to the story beats for no particular reason. It does mean you can spend an disproportionate amount of time in some areas unable to do much else other than passively following NPCs from one place to another. The mountainous island with the porgs that Luke Skywalker has decided to become a hermit on is a particularly egregious example, your tasks being very limited.
In conclusion, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a double edged sword of sorts. It can’t include too much lest it become a victim of bloat, but by its sheer scope it almost has too much source material. It’s forced to make hard cuts across the nine films it has in its scope, almost to its own detriment. Think of it more as a greatest hits package for the Lego Star Wars series than a true brand new installment. It’s pretty bloody great though. If you’ll excuse us, we’re off to play some more.
+ Lightsaber battles are given marquee treatment
+ Collectibles are streamlined
+ Splitscreen multiplayer is a thing!
+ Space Leia is but a cutscene
- The even handed approach means the newer films get short shrift
- It can feel like you're walking around aimlessly a little at times
- Some levels can feel a bit short
- Key scenes are omitted on occasion