Making a new entry in a long-running game franchise feel refreshing is not easy, without straying too far from what made it so great in the first place and when you are talking about refreshing the formula of two mammoth IPs such as LEGO and Star Wars, the task seems even more daunting. But TT games have succeeded in delivering a game that refines and expands its fundamental gameplay mechanics to not only give us the best Lego game yet but also take its coveted place as one of the best Star Wars games.
AT A GLANCE
TITLE: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
GENRE: Action, Adventure
DEVELOPER: TT Games
PUBLISHER: Warner Bros.
RELEASE DATE: 5 Apr 2022
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
Games based on movies have a reputation for being bad, but Star Wars games have always managed to avoid this by offering fans what they want. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is no different, and offers fans the biggest and most content-packed Star Wars experience to date. Right off the bat, you are free to start off with whatever trilogy you would like to sink your teeth into, and you unlock subsequent episodes by finishing the previous one.
The amount of gameplay time each episode offers will differ vastly depending on how you play the game. In addition to being able to follow the story as seen in the movies in a linear way by jumping from one level to another, you can spend your time exploring a bit within these worlds. At times you’ll be put in more open areas that you can explore with some freedom. For example, in Episode I, you will be allowed to visit the hidden recesses of the underwater Gungan City or the dusty streets of Mos Espa. In these places, you will be able to solve well-designed environmental puzzles to obtain a Kyber Brick, which is the main collectible of the game, and it is the currency that is used to unlock improvements for your characters. Likewise, it is possible that you will meet an NPC that will give you a secondary quest.
The hilarious comedic retelling of the narrative is still present and is as well done as in any other game in the series. In case you don’t know, the Lego games act as a parody of the franchise they are representing, that is, despite the fact that the game’s story follows a predetermined plot that is faithful to the source material in many ways, they still take a lot of creative liberty when it certain to certain elements. The result is an experience that manages to surprise and bring a chuckle out of even some of the hardcore fans who have pretty much memorized the scripts. Being able to go through several of the most iconic moments in the saga is quite enjoyable for a fan and as you can probably imagine, there are tons of easter eggs and references everywhere.
The Skywalker Saga makes a lot of changes to its core gameplay mechanics that impact the overall experience in a lot of ways. For starters, the camera angle is now more akin to third-person RPG games and gives you a much better view of the environments as well as bringing you up and close to the action.
Combat mechanics have also been vastly overhauled, with the experience being completely different based on whether you are controlling a melee or ranged character. Starting with the shooting, the game now has something that feels much closer to a third-person shooter, with a cover system. If you’re controlling a melee character, the game suddenly feels like a hack and slash game, with combos and juggles as well as counters and more special attacks depending on your character.
Boss fights are now multi-tiered and have their own special mechanics, and no longer let you win by just spamming buttons. You are often required to solve puzzles and platforming as well as all other skills in your arsenal to win. Combined with the absolutely enormous and diverse roster of characters that you can play means that overall on-foot combat as a whole feels much more enjoyable and varied.
Ship combat makes a return and is also expanded upon. Flying feels absolutely joyful and thanks to the wide variety of ships that you can pilot, there are a lot of different experiences that you can enjoy. This also gives enormous diversity to space combat, which I feel is the highlight of the game. At certain points in your adventures in each Episode, you will find yourself outside of one of the many worlds that inhabit the galaxy. Here, on board your ship, you will be able to land in any of the planet’s areas or take a walk near its orbit. In space, you will be able to run into confrontations with enemy ships, with some NPC that needs your help, or with a Kyber Comet, which, if you manage to destroy, will give you five valuable Kyber Bricks.
Free Play is a mode that is unlocked as soon as you complete any of the first three Episodes that are available at the beginning. Here you can move to any planet that you have already unlocked in the story mode and thus repeat some of its missions or simply explore to see what you find.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is not only the most ambitious game in terms of size for TT Games but also in its audio-visual presentation, which has seen a massive jump in quality. Lego games have always been extremely charming because of their visual style, bringing LEGOS to come to life in front of us.
The art direction is one of the game’s strongest points. The representation of each of the worlds you visit with the use of Lego bricks, as well as the dozens of characters you can unlock, is truly wonderful. The attention to detail is impressive and the enormous love that TT Games has for both the construction toy brand and Star Wars is once again noticeable. The voice was a section that I think lacked a bit because some of the voices of the characters are too different from their reel life counterparts but overall it never felt too out of place.
In the technical department, I had a completely bug-free experience of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, something that is worth applauding in these days of massive day-one patches.