Historians agree that there are three points on the human timeline when new discoveries changed the course of our lives: making stone tools nearly two million years ago, the invention of paper in the 1st century and, nearly 150 years ago, the harnessing of electricity.
What they all fail to recognize is the impact that the first LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game had on the world when it was released in 2005. It brought hundreds of thousands of ex-gamers back to their consoles, millions were drawn to LEGO Star Wars and it inspired a new generation of game designers, coders, UX developers, and beta testers to work together to deliver something even better.
After enduring a development saga of its own – and rumors that the game was destined for the same ignominious ending that Half-Life 3 suffered or the mysterious demise of the final installment of LEGO The Hobbit – Tt Games finally delivered.
That’s all behind us now, and it’s not worth ruminating over the delays – except to say that we’re all grateful that no one thought to prank us this April Fool’s Day!
There’s no doubting that it’s a fresh take on Star Wars and – after one foray into producing a standalone game for a single movie – is a welcome return to ennealogy-based structure, but is the culmination of nearly 20 years of gaming evolution really LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga?
And so, rather than make you wait while we play through the nine levels that make up the game, we thought we’d share our first impressions, whether they be good or bad.
- Overall the game is incredibly immersive, far more so than The Force Awakens, which is the closest comparable LEGO Star Wars video game. It’s also a lot more challenging – with 1166 kyber bricks (why, oh why didn’t Tt Games settle on a nice round 1138 instead?) and 5 mini-kit pieces in every level – this game is going to take a lot of your free time.
- Speaking of which, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is definitely geared towards free-play over story mode. In fact, there are some levels that don’t have any tasks to complete but are instead transitory levels to get you to the next mission. No doubt these areas will become important during free-play.
- As frustrating as spending five minutes crossing the Dune Sea or wandering through the streets of Theed is, Tt Games has made it tolerable because the rendered surfaces deliver stunning detail and the distractions innumerable. For the really long-distance journeys, they’ve created a taxi service that takes you from A to B in seconds. This helps to preserve the sense of geography without forcing the player into an open-world trek.
- While it’s impossible for there not to be some overlap with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game or LEGO Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – the plots are already laid out in celluloid after all – the game delivers enough new material in the form of expanding earlier locations and extending to new environments (including space battles) that, if you’re an old hand at these titles, you’ll forget that you’ve played through them before.
- One of the most heavily criticized features of the game is the heavily layered menu system which quickly becomes too complicated to navigate, and extra features – particularly the playable character selection – added to the game become lost.
- The hint system – delivered by the H1-NT protocol droid – is far too easy to ignore and doesn’t supply anything new that the in-game pop-ups don’t provide. Its one redeemable feature is the Eric Idle-like voice it vocalizes.
- Similarly, the HUD is overloaded with arrows, indicators, maps, health, scores, characters and stud counts and players are asking that some customization be included in an update so that some features can be turned off to declutter the screen.
Given that the first game was developed by a company that was spun off from the original LEGO gaming division, it draws from a well of multi-generational movies, and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga appeals to parents, their children, and even grandchildren now, this latest venture from Lucasfilm/Disney, The LEGO Group, Tt Games and Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment is truly all in the family.
What are your thoughts? Have you faced the Jedi Trials and overcome the odds or are you battling with frustration and your inner Dark Side to complete the game? We want to hear what you think!
Fervent documentarian, effusive AFOL and founding partner, Jeremy manages the daily news content and set reviews.
Having enjoyed playing with LEGO from his earliest years, Jeremy started collecting LEGO Star Wars in 1999 when the theme was first released. He has shared his thoughts and opinions on LEGO via a number of websites – including starwars.com, rebelscum.com and brickset.com – contributed to the LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary series and served the LEGO Ambassador Network as a Recognised LEGO Fan Media representative.