By Gabriel Fisher
In early April, Traveller’s Tales and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment struck back with the release of “Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga,” and it’s best-selling Lego game so far. For good reason, too, it’s an incredibly fun and unabashedly adoring take on the movies they’re based on.
But first, a history lesson. In the year of 2005, the developer Traveller’s Tales and publisher LucasArts, a subsidiary of Lucasfilms, released “Lego Star Wars: The Video Game” for Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, Windows, Macintosh, and Game Boy Advance. The game was an action game that served as a comedic adaptation of the three prequel movies in the cult classic space opera series, “Star Wars,” using the popular building block toy, Lego, as a basis.
The very next year, they released “Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy”, which adapted the original three movies, and then “Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga” the year after, which combined the two games into an experience covering every movie in the franchise thus far. The games were the first in a series of similar Lego-branded licensed games, many of which were well-reviewed and are fondly remembered. But since the release of “The Complete Saga”, another trilogy in the franchise has come out, leaving that original game not as complete as it advertises. Aiming to rectify that issue, Traveller’s Tales and their new publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, released “Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga” on all platforms, on April 5.
“The Skywalker Saga” adapts all nine of the main Star Wars movies with a silly Lego twist – the six that were in the originals as well as the more recent sequel trilogy. Considering how beloved the original games were, it had a lot to live up to, and thankfully manages to not only live up to them, but also surpass them in terms of gameplay. Taking a step away from the traditionally linear level-by-level progression from the originals, it adopts a mission-based approach in a semi-open world style, meaning that there’s a lot more to do and a lot more space to do it. Thankfully, every world you’d expect from the movies is recreated with loving attention to detail, all with the charm of the Lego bricks they’re made from. The game is absolutely flooded with content, giving you immense amounts of places to explore, puzzles to solve, things to collect, costumes and characters to unlock, and so much more.
The charm doesn’t just end with the visuals, however, as the story is also told with the classic Lego game style of humor. While the characters were mute in the original, leaving them reliant on visual gags to tell the story, “The Skywalker Saga” is fully voice-acted, with plenty of surprisingly funny jokes playfully poking fun at the movies, especially in the notoriously divisive sequel trilogy. But that’s not to say the visual gags are gone – in fact, a lot of the dialogue is played fairly straight, relying on the visuals to add the comedy to certain scenes. The developers even added a “Mumble Mode,” which mutes the characters, as they would be in the original game, only leaving subtitles to decipher the scenes. Since the game relies on its dialogue to be comedic on occasion, however, it doesn’t quite work as well as one would expect, but it is a neat nod to the originals regardless.
Of course, none of this would matter if the game weren’t fun to play, and thankfully it plays splendidly. The game brings combat to a “Resident Evil 4” styled over-the-shoulder perspective, and positively blows the originals out of the water in terms of how the action plays. The player can perform advanced melee combos with lightsabers and similar weapons, use the force to solve puzzles and push around objects, aim like a third-person shooter and use cover with blasters, and all of it controls like a dream. The level design is positively phenomenal, and brings every single iconic scene throughout the Star Wars movies to life splendidly, while also being fun to play through. There’s even a skill tree-esque system that allows the player to improve their abilities, adding even more customization.
It’s extremely evident that “Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga” was a game made with immense love and appreciation for the franchise it represents as everything about it is a beautiful homage to the movies they portray. If you are a fan of Star Wars, Lego, both, or just liked the originals when you were younger, this game is a must-buy.