Originally revealed back in June of 2019, this title had a notoriously long and complicated time in development. With more ambition than any LEGO title proceeding it, expectations have been high. Featuring beautiful graphics, a move to a fully 3rd person camera, and spanning 9 different movies it’s easy to understand why LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga took so long to make. This is my favorite in the long-running LEGO games series from developer Traveller’s Tales and it is one of the best, most content-rich, and just plain fun family games ever made.
A Game of Clones
I began my journey from the chronological beginning, Episode 1 which of course is the 4th movie, and not episode 4 which is, of course, the 1st movie. I have no love for the prequel trilogy as actual movie-watching experiences, but I found myself loving every second of them in this game. The humor instilled into every moment along with the quick pacing of the main story for each film transformed these cinematic failures into a game experience I loved in a way I did not think possible. Out of all 9 films, the greatest beneficiary by far is Episode 2, a dreary film with a terrible love story that gets lampooned hilariously at every opportunity. Gone are long debates about political issues and instead a tight focus on fun gameplay opportunities zips us through in a few hours if we choose to go from quest to quest.
This singular focus on fun permeates through everything on offer here, and there is a lot on offer. Moving to a predominantly 3rd person over the shoulder perspective and featuring a surprisingly large number of different class archetypes, flying levels, submarine levels, and tons of various mini-games mixed throughout this is the best playing LEGO game by far. The cover system for ranged fighting might not be the smoothest, the melee is spam-heavy, and there is no real risk of failure, but it all adds up to something that really works here. It’s not perfect, but it’s not aiming to be. It is a family fun-focused game first featuring basic puzzles with mostly obvious solutions. Split-screen co-op is emphasized throughout as extra characters are added in where necessary to facilitate two players.
We received our Deluxe Edition code a bit late for review so I marathoned the title over a day, which isn’t the ideal way of playing it. Still, it held up with only short breaks in-between each movie. I’ve barely scratched the surface of free play on each map, but I can tell that this game is as massive as you want it to be. Have no interest in unlocking everything, earning all the numerous upgrades, and just want to see each movie? The option is there with no grinding required to progress the story outside of only the first movie in each trilogy being available until you beat the previous one’s story. I would have liked them all to be open right at the start, but I understand why they didn’t do that for progression reasons.
Gone With the Windu
There are various progression systems in the game which are tied to upgrading your core abilities, upgrading the abilities of the many varied class archetypes that each character falls under, and finding mini-figure pieces to unlock more characters and ships. Upgrade blocks are the main currency you must earn to upgrade characters, and they can be found through various means. The first is finding enough studs during each main story mission to reach a certain threshold, which can net you up to 3 upgrade blocks.
There are hidden blocks around the game world both during missions or in free play, various minigames and puzzles can get them for you, along with a wide variety of in-mission challenges. It’s an excellent system that rewards replaying through and exploring content you’ve already seen. With just how big this game is, and all the various locations on offer I cannot imagine how long it will take someone to 100% it all. If you don’t care about that stuff your characters are still plenty capable without it, as the upgrades generally serve to make things a bit easier and do not block off progression in any way.
The figure pieces can be devilishly tricky at times to find and in my limited time in free play I spent it mostly hunting these down. Story mode is generally locked to certain characters but the game features 380 in total with the deluxe edition adding in characters from the Solo movie and Mandalorian TV shows at launch. Running around the forests of Endor or the desert of Jakku with Mando was a surreal experience. All this nostalgic bliss is carried along by some pretty darned solid third-person action.
Nothing gameplay-wise here is great, but it all ranges from mediocre to good. I can’t think of a more direct way to state it. The controls never got in the way for me on Series X but I can’t pretend like they’re great. It’s a serviceable system in the best sense of the word. Jedi lightsabers feel powerful, blasters feel a bit slow to aim but deadly with headshots. Melee is a spam fest but with a tiny bit more variety than in past LEGO titles, and flying feels tight… perhaps a bit too tight. The puzzles are repeated too often and having to constantly swap between characters who may be miles apart when playing solo to accomplish basic tasks is as frustrating as ever. When those issues don’t crop up though it’s an absolute blast, which thankfully was most of the time.
As mentioned previously there are several class archetypes ranging from Jedi to Sith, Scavengers who can craft on the fly, Astromechs who solve boring puzzles, Protocol Droids who are the only ones who can speak to various aliens in their own languages, and so on. Jedis and Sith using lightsabers and force powers feel incredibly powerful in fights, with force picking up and throwing being a delight to use on random NPCs during traversal. I must have knocked down the NPC escorting Obi-Wan in the Kamino clone facility 50 times before we finally reached Jango Fett. I hit him with damned near every single loose item in his facility, watching him fall on his ass every time while I laughed like a child. I think I shot Jar Jar Binks more than any droid during episode one as he blundered his way through the environment in front of me. The lack of any penalty and emphasis on just “playing with your toys” carries the mood here brilliantly.
Ship combat occurs often both in space, in the skies of various planets, and even underwater on occasion. It handles well and is a simple system much like everything else. I don’t believe I ever saw a “Game Over” screen or any type of failure state that required me to restart a mission. Again this is a family game and not LEGO Elden Ring, so I appreciate it.
Ewok the Line
Graphically the game is stunning. It is the classic simplistic LEGO style at a scope we haven’t seen before. Running up to 4k/60fps or always 4k/30fps on Series X it’s one of the best-looking titles on the system. Levels are huge, though pop-in is noticeable in the flatter ones, and the variety on offer is ridiculous. From the slums of Coruscant to the far too often seen lately desert of Tattoine nearly every classic Star Wars location is available here. You barely scratch the surface of most maps in the story, only going where the movies did. In free play I found dozens of side areas with puzzles, quests, and “rumors” for me to look into. Character’s mouths and faces animate constantly though the lips don’t really sync at all. This game even features Destiny-style slow descents into planets going from space into the cloud cover as a masked loading screen. Those load times are short everywhere which is big as you will move from area to area at a breakneck pace during story segments at times.
The DMCA strike-rich musical score of Star Wars is here in all its John Williams-powered glory as it should be. What is unexpected is the fully voiced soundalike treatment on offer. Featuring many of the animated series soundalikes it’s fantastic and a staggering amount of work. Even with that, they offer the classic distorted LEGO voices from the early games as an option if you so prefer. All the classic Star Wars sound effects show up as well, with the concussion mine of Jango Fett’s ship in Episode 2 sending shivers down my spine as it boomed in my headphones.
The Fault in Our Death Star
I did run into various bugs while playing with the majority being scripting errors where characters would stand around, but they fixed themselves every time. The worst offender was Han Solo standing in front of a button I had told him to push for 30 seconds in The Force Awakens before he finally remembered how his hands worked and pressed it. Performance during gameplay felt perfect but I did notice the occasional slowdown during some intense cutscenes.
The main issues with the game for me were mostly tied to my choice of marathoning it for this review after getting our review copy a day after the embargo. Many puzzles are reused and if you play the game non-stop for a day straight it can get quite grating. If you’re mixing things up with free play mode, or just taking your time like a sane person then this should not be an issue.
Maul’s fair in love and war
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an incredible achievement. Spanning 9 feature-length films yet never feeling like it overstays its welcome while featuring tons of actually funny stupid jokes, solid gameplay, gorgeous graphics, great voice acting, and all the nostalgia you could ever wish for this game is a triumph. It has done the impossible and made me enjoy spending time with episodes 1 and 2, hell not only enjoy but absolutely love it. Holy Snokes is this game awesome and everyone who enjoys Star Wars at all should play it.
|Reviewed on||Xbox Series X|
|Available on||Xbox One and Series X|S, Playstation 4&5, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC|
|Release Date||April 5th, 2022|
|Developers||Traveller’s Tales and TT Games|
|Publisher||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment|
|Rated||E for Everyone|