LEGO. A name that really needs no introduction.
Just saying the word brings back fond memories as a child and even now, as an adult, building sets and playing with them or simply displaying the completed structures on a shelf. Not only has the famous brand brought joy to many through their interlocking brick system, they are set in stone as one of the most popular brands across many markets all over the world. One of those markets being the gaming industry.
The LEGO franchise has so many games across various platforms. Way too many to list. My introduction the world of LEGO gaming came via Harry Potter Years 1 to 4 and 5 to 7 on the Nintendo DS. I then recall thoroughly enjoying LEGO Marvel Superheroes on the Xbox 360 and completed it to 100%. Each of these games are fantastic. There have also been some horrible ones, like the Jurassic World game from a few years ago. Ooof, that was bad.
The gaming franchise also has a huge range of Star Wars series games within its repertoire. None more so than the recent release of, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. And as the name suggests, this entry into the LEGO gaming franchise spans the entire Star Wars cannon that surrounds Skywalker. And not just Luke, but all of the Skywalkers across all nine of the Star Wars films. Having enjoyed some of the earlier Star Wars games in the LEGO franchise and also being weary of how hit-and-miss some of their games can be, I was unsure what I was in for. For this review, I played through the first two chapters of Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, all on the PlayStation 5.
Right from the title screen, I was greeted with a wide variety of characters in LEGO form that span the entire Star Wars film franchise. This sight alone had me excited and also weary of how huge this game is going to be. Nine whole films, cut down into playable levels, with dozens of characters to unlock. The competionist within me was both jumping for joy and cowering in fear! The first level is of course the correct beginning of the Star Wars franchise with A New Hope. I am even treated to an iconic text crawl before I get into the gameplay. Starting on the Tantive IV, Leia’s starship, and being chased by an Imperial Star Destroyer. It was this opening sequence that solidified that this game was going to be epic.
Not only do I get to follow the plot of the films, I actually get to act them out! As I begin ‘acting out’ the film as Princess Leia, I am quickly reminded about why I enjoy the LEGO games so much. Collecting studs, ALL OF THE STUDS! The first part of this chapter took me so long to complete because I kept getting distracted by destroying everything within my own ship that I am trying to save and collecting every single stud I could.
Like all LEGO games that came before, there are puzzles that you must solve in order to progress. Each puzzle requires a unique set of skills, some that your main character might not have, or a puzzle that needs to be solved by multiple characters. During the first mission you can control Leia, a rebel soldier, R2-D2, and C-3PO. Switching between the characters is seamless and makes solving puzzles with different skillsets rather enjoyable.
The fighting style is classic to all LEGO games. Some characters have a weapon or blaster that enable you to shoot at your enemies or the surrounds of your environment for collecting those ever-important studs. You can also adjust the settings to allow for aim assist, invert look, and various other configurations that suit the individual player. Your blaster will have a crosshair on it to aim at your target, and your targets show a health bar above, so you know how many more shots you need before they are blown to pieces. In certain environments you can build barricades and use the surrounds to hide behind and protect you and your party from incoming fire. Or, if you are like me, just run-in guns blazing until they, or you, are taken out.
I found the fist fighting mechanics to be more fun than the blasters to begin with. This was because you can build up a combo and increase your power as you fight. Blasters are fun but sitting back and taking them out at a distance can be boring, but at times, necessary. Also, I really enjoyed rolling around as R2-D2 and headbutting objects and foes to complete the sector as he beeped and booped each time I would attack.
My enjoyment of this game grew ten-fold when the mission, like the film, took R2-D2 and C-3PO down to Tatooine. Here I met ‘Ben Kenobi’ and finally get to use a Light Sabre and The Force. Not only is it extremely enjoyable to cut storm troopers in half with the Light Sabre but using The Force to complete puzzles is even more gratifying. It took me back to when I would use the magical spells from the Harry Potter series. If a game can make me reminisce of a game I once played whilst playing the new one, that is a big win and makes me enjoy it even more.
Now, a LEGO series game would not be complete without the witty and whacky dialogue and visuals to accompany a mostly cannon storyline. It wasn’t long into the game before I was cackling so hard that I would choke. The earlier LEGO games would just be mumbled dialogue with enough body language and action to supply context to the story. The newer games like this one have full voice acting dialogue and it is utterly fantastic! And knowing the Star Wars story so well, the subtle hints and easter eggs they leave throughout the game make it more and more hilarious as you progress.
And then there are the studs and other collectibles strewn throughout every level. Of course, studs are one of the most important and aid in levelling up your characters. Next would be the cleverly named Kyber Crystal bricks (Kyber Crystals power a Lightsabre), are required for upgrades that will enhance your gameplay and abilities of each character.
There are Core Upgrades for your basic gameplay, including my favourite, the Stud Magnet. Well, because STUDS! You can also upgrade specific skills for different player classes from Jedi, Hero, Villain, Droids to the Dark Side. There are also the classic Minikits to collect different ships and vehicles. Level specific challenges, side missions, puzzles, trials, challenges and many many more. It is most definitely overwhelming to look at and this is where the completionist within me is screaming, but it adds so much longevity to the game. More so that certain tasks cannot be done until you unlock a character or ability and then return to the level at a later stage.
Overall, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a hell of a lot of fun. And whilst I only played through two of the possible nine chapters, and barely scratched the surface with the collectibles, I couldn’t put the game down. There is so much to love about this game and whilst the gameplay, graphics, and music are all fantastic, it is the writing that sets the LEGO games apart from all other games I play. LEGO games are stupid, hilarious fun and I absolutely love it. I cannot wait to spend countless hours playing more of this game.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC (Microsoft Windows). This game was played on PlayStation 5 for the purpose of this review. Grab your copy today and collect some studs!