LEGO Star Wars: Die Skywalker-Saga
Empire beats bricks.
Apr 8, 2022 2:43 p.m
April 4, 2022 3:00 p.m
Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi does not crave these things. If that's the case, all Jedi should probably cancel their pre-orders for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, as this dazzling new addition to the long-running Traveler's Tales LEGO game series has brought both adventure and excitement in abundance. With stunning set pieces from all nine Star Wars main films and a surprising number of iconic planetary hubs to explore freely in between, The Skywalker Saga is a groundbreaking blockbuster executed with a goofy charm that made me as happy as a droid in a hot oil bath.
In a dramatic departure from the zoomed-out camera perspective of previous LEGO titles, The Skywalker Saga features a narrower, over-the-shoulder third-person view typical of Gears of War or Uncharted, and brings with it far more control over your attacks. Lightsabers can boomerang and crates can be force-shoved with satisfying precision, and a simple combo system lets you launch enemies into the air with ease to juggle a volley of saber swings. Fighting as a Jedi or Sith may not have the depth of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, but it's still fast, fluid, and feels awesome.
When controlling a character equipped with a blaster, you now have the ability to take cover behind walls and other objects to take out your enemies from afar, and switch between cover positions with the press of a button. (A similar cover-based mechanic was featured in LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2016, but only in certain sections of a level). I love the nice touch of this system, that you can quickly rebuild broken cover (as well as enemies), but other than a few specific boss fights, I hardly felt the need to actually hide behind anything. In The Skywalker Saga, the combination of a constantly charging health bar and the authentic inaccuracy of each Stormtrooper's shots meant there was rarely any risk in taking a run-and-gun approach. I certainly still enjoyed the gunplay in The Skywalker Saga, but more for its flashy spectacle than its shallow attempts at strategy.
The new close-up perspective not only makes you feel even more immersed in the action, but also leads to a greater appreciation of how realistically each individual LEGO brick is rendered. 2021's Hot Wheels Unleashed set a new standard for high-fidelity virtual plastic, and The Skywalker Saga certainly fits right down to the final plastic stitching and textured hairpieces, with paint on minifigures convincingly chipping after prolonged use as if they were much - beloved toy. Absolutely every LEGO creation looks so eerily lifelike that when you shoot an immaculately assembled 1000 piece Tie Fighter out of the sky you can almost hear the cries of pain from the parents who spent their whole Sunday afternoon helping their child build it.
The LEGO games have always brought a Spaceballs-style goofiness to their recreations of iconic Star Wars scenes, and The Skywalker Saga is no different, consistently seeking the lighter side of the Force even in the darkest of situations. Whether it's Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader discussing the new Death Star while rows of Stormtroopers tip over clumsily like dominoes in the background, or a confused Darth Sidious accidentally issues the 67 order instead of 66, forcing all clone troopers to spontaneously join the disco Starting out dancing rather than committing mass murder of the Jedi, The Skywalker Saga consistently finds a way to gently mock its source material, with wonderfully absurd and hilarious results. Amazingly, even the events of The Rise of Skywalker are a lot more fun when they're intentionally ridiculous as opposed to accidentally.
Even the events of The Rise of Skywalker are a lot more fun when they're intentionally ridiculous as opposed to accidentally.
It's not just The Skywalker Saga's sense of humor that grabbed me, but also the variety of missions. While never quite as daring or inventive as 2021's It Takes Two, the 45 main story levels constantly change things up so the action never gets boring. The Skywalker saga is capable of delivering mindless carnage on a grand scale, like when the Battle of Naboo momentarily blossoms into an exciting game of tower defense and you happily toss energy balls from Gungan catapults at hordes of droids and assault tanks to decimate the Trade Federation. However, it can also be more focused and cerebral when Rey enters the Mirror Cave on Temple Island, for example, and you play her reflections carefully to reach the exit portal switches.
This is of course still on top of the fan-friendly standards, and The Skywalker Saga does indeed feature levels designed for high-speed podracing, X-wing trench runs, and all the essential lightsaber duels you would expect. But even in the most intimate moments, the campaign still packs a punch because it's so smooth to the touch and such a stunning sight to behold. The only snag is that strict adherence to a cinematic style of presentation can sometimes seem a bit too rigid. For example, in one of the boss fights against Kylo Ren, I had his health bar reduced to zero, but the fight would randomly continue for another minute so I could slog through the remaining Quicktime events.
Each story mission is connected through surprisingly large nodes, located on around 20 different planets, from the sandy streets of Mos Eisley on Tatooine to the polished surfaces of Coruscant's financial district and everywhere in between. These open areas are full of hidden kyber bricks to collect by solving various environmental puzzles and while seeing some repeated challenges across the galaxy - crate stacking to get kyber bricks floating in the air Seems to be a popular quest no matter what planet you're on - there are plenty of other fun little surprises you can stumble upon along the way. I particularly enjoyed the lemming-inspired challenge on Kamino, where I had to adjust a number of platforms to prevent a hapless clone from shambling to its doom, or arrange a chorus of Wookiees on Kashyyyk to create an interpretation yawning furiously from John Williams' signature score.
Collected Kyber Stones serve as currency that can be invested in upgrades in addition to studs - either core perks shared by all characters or class-specific enhancements. While many of the core upgrades seemed like a no-brainer to me, such as: From expanding the radius at which your character automatically sucks up fallen studs to increasing the speed at which he builds objects, the vast majority of class-specific perks seemed unnecessary given The Skywalker Saga's difficulty is already far too easy. What incentive is there to give bounty hunters the ability to spot enemies through walls when I can easily take down anyone on the other side with a few blaster bolts, even if they jump at me?
The Skywalker saga is beginning to resemble some sort of adorable Mass Effect for minifigures.
While I mostly stayed on target and focused on the main mission path, after completing all of the story missions, I still spent a couple of hours revisiting my favorite locations and completing side missions to unlock additional characters and then turn them in and out my exchange travel group to use their unique skills to solve specific problems. In those moments, when you're jetting from one solar system to the next, descending onto a planet's surface to do odd jobs for the local populace, The Skywalker Saga begins to resemble a sort of delightful minifigure Mass Effect. And if you're tired of exploring the richness of planets and moving on action platforms, you can always choose your favorite spaceship and jet into orbit for impromptu dogfights. There really is an incredible amount to do in The Skywalker Saga and despite the fact that I've put in over 20 hours into the game I feel like I've only just scratched the surface - there seems to be enough collectible LEGO Vehicles and minifigures in here to fill several hundred letters to Santa Claus.
Failure of the Dagobah system
The one Star Destroyer-sized flaw in my experience with The Skywalker Saga was the bug I encountered that made it impossible to continue the story of the prequel trilogy beyond Attack of the Clones. When playing on Xbox Series X I experienced a crash when attempting to start a mission hunt for Jango Fett and when I restarted The Skywalker Saga this mission marker was gone from the map and menus without seeming to be able to was to trigger them again. Since you can jump in and out of any episode and play the three trilogies in any order, I was still able to complete Episodes IV through IX with my original save, but I had to create a new game to play through Episodes I through III, where the gamebreaking bug was fortunately no longer present. (At the time of writing this article, the developer has informed me that they are working on a patch to avoid the problem.)
I've also noticed some slight issues with The Skywalker Saga's drop-in/drop-out local co-op. Of the nine episodes, I played about half of them alone and the other half with my son as a co-op partner. All in all, I had a lot more fun with a second player on board and the comedic chaos it created, but the limited field of view within the confines of the vertical split-screen made combat feel a little imprecise and exploration a little more confusing. Also, one player always seemed to get the rough end of the gaffi stick in the story mode boss fights, being relegated to the role of a comparatively impotent companion droid while the other player indulged in a spectacular lightsaber duel. During one phase of the climatic confrontation between Obi-Wan and Anakin on the molten surface of Mustafar, I spent a considerable amount of time as C-3PO, stranded as a spectator on a floating platform while all the action unfolded below. It made me feel a little C-3PO’d.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga offers some hilarious reinterpretations of Star Wars' most iconic moments and sets them in a series of interplanetary playgrounds filled with discovery and fun diversions. Certain elements like the upgrade and cover system feel a bit redundant, and co-op has some notable downsides, but otherwise there were enough laugh-out-loud gags and surprising gameplay changes to keep me from Episode I's initial crawl to the end keep us busy until the end of Episode IX - which is more than I can say for the actual films.
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LEGO Star Wars: Die Skywalker-Saga
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga at Test
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga offers some hilarious reinterpretations of Star Wars' most iconic moments and sets them in a series of interplanetary playgrounds filled with discovery and fun diversions.Tristan Ogilvie