Does LEGO Star Wars meet expectations? (Game Review)
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Review (PS5)
TT Games have been making LEGO games since 2005. Heck, they only made LEGO games starting in 2009 and haven’t made anything else since. I played LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game when I was younger and I loved it. Me and my brother would wake up every morning until we 100%’d the game. It was the first time I finished a game completely. Over the years, I would continue to play the LEGO games as my brother fell out of love for them. I would play LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, and LEGO Batman: The Videogame. This was my introduction to these IPs and I still haven’t watched a single Indiana Jones movie.
When the gameplay overview trailer was released earlier this year, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looked very good. This game culminated everything the LEGO games have been over the years while enhancing the gameplay tenfold. The visuals, the voice acting, and funnier recreations of the source material. They introduced new gameplay mechanics while keeping the lighthearted spirit in re-telling the Star Wars movies. On that same day however, Polygon released an article detailing the harsh work environment the team faced. This game has been in development since 2017, before Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker even came out. Crunch culture took its place at TT games, where overtime was expected, “strive for 85” became a phrase, and new mechanics were requested randomly. Despite this news story, I was conflicted as to whether I should pick the game up or not. While I do not support game crunch, I also don’t want the efforts of the development team to go to waste. It’s not their fault management crunched the schedule so much that they were forced to work in those conditions. The game released to many fans happy with the experience. Users on Twitter found the combo system to be amusing because it’s a LEGO game and the combat shouldn’t be this in-depth but it is. After finishing all nine episodes of the Skywalker Saga, what are my thoughts on this newest LEGO game?
Story-wise, it’s a goofy retelling of the Star Wars movies. LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game was actually how I learned about Star Wars. I was like seven or eight at the time, so cut me some slack. I’ve obviously watched the movies now but it’s been years since I’ve watched the prequels and the original trilogy. The Disney trilogy is more fresh in my mind because I still remember seeing those movies in theaters. TT Games nails it once again with the jokes and parodying of the movies. I would laugh a couple of times throughout each episode and found the riffing of the movies to be amusing. I was most intrigued about the Disney trilogy because I haven’t seen those movies get parodied in LEGO form, and I was not disappointed. No matter how much you enjoy the Star Wars movies, you have to admit their silly nature and their intention to sell toys. I mean, look at The Mandalorian. Baby Yoda merchandise is everywhere but I digress. Now, would I recommend LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga as a way to introduce kids to Star Wars? Sure, why not. The source material is obviously more serious in its storytelling but you get the gist of the movies here. TT Games does a fantastic job once again making fun of the Star Wars story.
The gameplay is out of this world. The game size itself is massive. You’re exploring everything Star Wars has to offer in the galaxy and beyond. Planets are fully explorable and act as a mini sandbox hub. Traveling from planet to planet to complete missions and find collectibles. Unlike any previous LEGO game, the game’s combat system has been expanded from just mashing the square button. The combo system allows players to juggle their enemies in the air and have more fun while fighting. It’s clearly better for the jedi since you can use the force to toss enemies but being able to mash different buttons during combat lets the player be more creative. Some players will still mash square but I appreciate this really unnecessary combo system for a LEGO Star Wars game.
You can also throw your lightsaber which is helpful, especially during boss fights. You’ll occasionally have to solve puzzles, build objects, or control a ship. The puzzles are pretty simple, coming from a 23 year old playing a children’s game. Most of them involve lining up a pattern or memorizing a button combination. Nothing crazy but good puzzles for kids to use their brain on. You’ll build objects to advance to the next part of the game. It can be a ladder or a weapon to clear a pathway. Honestly, I wished building happened more because it is a LEGO game. It used to be a large part of the game (from what I remember of the original) and it happens only a few times each episode. You’ll occasionally rebuild barriers to hide behind but I never used them. The cover system in this game, while neat, isn’t necessary. I can just run around and shoot my enemies just fine without taking cover. Shooting by the way, having the whole over the shoulder point of view and aiming down sight, is cool as hell.
For kids, this must be awesome and could introduce them to shooters in the future. If taking cover was mandatory, the game would be way too hard and tedious during shootouts. The parts of the game where you control a ship or vehicle is really fun. My favorite section by far was the X-wing fight when you have to destroy the Death Star. Even piloting the Millennium Falcon is a blast as well. Switching between characters has become more streamline. Instead of mashing L1 or R1 until you get to the character you desire, you can use the D-Pad to scroll through the characters and select the one you want to switch. This is really helpful in certain episodes where you have like over five party members. I didn’t discover this feature until episode nine, so I thought I’d share this feature in this review.
Quality of life changes is all I’m asking for in these LEGO games. The camera is still a bit wonky in certain areas. The platforming isn’t the sharpest which can lead to some missed jumps. I’m not sure how co-op works in this game but it seems to be the same from previous installments. I’m glad they got rid of the screen twisting as players got further away from each other. It gave me a headache in the LEGO Marvel games. Because the worlds are so much bigger, that type of split screen would not work. Each player gets half of the screen with their own minimap. I’m sure combining the maps together would get confusing, especially if the players get really far from one another. There is still no online co-op which is a shame. The collectibles and completionist bar has been set extremely high. So high, I feel like less than 1% of players will have finished LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 100%. There are literally thousands of collectibles to find and obtain. Kyber Bricks, Minikits, characters, True Jedi completion; you’re going to get your bang for your buck if you decide to 100% it. It will take over 80 hours but a game well worth $60 if finished 100%. Free Play is really important to those completionists as you’ll have access to all the characters and be able to switch whichever ones you want on the fly. Overall, the gameplay for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is great. The new combat system is a welcome addition for the series. The ship/vehicle missions are a ton of fun. While I would’ve liked more quality of life changes like a better camera and platforming mechanics, the gameplay is the best we’ve seen in a LEGO game so far and it’s going to be tough for TT Games to surpass themselves in future titles.
Presentation wise, it’s the best looking LEGO game by far. The characters are actually LEGO pieces, as you’ll see imprints of the LEGO stamp on their arm. The lighting and visuals look amazing, showing how far the devs have come since 2005. Not just an improvement from their start but also comparatively to recent games like LEGO Avengers and such. They spent a ton of time making sure the game looked the best in the series so far and it is. The voice acting surprised me by how good it was. I’m not used to LEGO characters talking in my games but I liked it here. Some characters don’t sound like their movie counterparts but I really enjoyed the delivery of the lines. Playing to the really silly nature of these games, you get a lot more of the story when the characters can actually talk. Mumble mode is an option where the characters literally mumble their way through the dialogue. I’m not a big fan of this mode because you have to read the subtitles. It would’ve been cool if there were no subtitles and they acted the scenes out more like charades. Obviously, it would require more development time because now you have to create separate cutscenes for this optional mode. A nice throwback feature but not to my style. I did run into one glitch where I had to restart the game. I landed on a planet and kept infinitely falling. A one time occurrence but I thought I would mention it anyway.
All in all, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a phenomenal LEGO game. Massive planets to explore, an insane combo system, fantastic presentation, and an overall fun time for any Star Wars fan. It’s by far the longest one yet, with all nine episodes of the Skywalker Saga. Each episode takes an hour or two to finish from beginning to end. There are way too many collectibles on each planet, so don’t stress on the collectibles on your first playthrough. The lighthearted storytelling is still here and should make any Star Wars fan laugh. Not everything is here that the fans would like such as online play but the combo system is a crazy fun addition. The presentation is spot on, superb lighting and visuals with clean performances by the voice actors. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, you probably already picked up this game. It’s a ton of fun with its humor and should be a good time all around. Normally, I would wait for LEGO games to go on sale if I had any interest in them. But for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, I could recommend it at its full price of $60. You’re guaranteed to get +10 hours of enjoyment if you finish all of the episodes. More hours can be clocked in if you explore the planets and collect everything. This is the biggest LEGO game ever and it’s also the best one too.