Thursday, May 26

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Kotaku Review

I love Star Wars, like a lot. Since the movies first excited my imagination I’ve spent far too much money on this franchise, buying up games, books, comics, and Lego sets. So, understand that what I’m about to say comes from a place of pure love and care: Star Wars is really silly and dumb. And because of this, it’s always nice when Lucasfilm and Disney let creative partners have fun with the franchise.

That’s exactly what the wonderful Lego Star Wars games have done in the past, and to great success. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the newest game in the series, continues this tradition of having fun with all the space wizards and talking puppets, but does so now at a previously unseen scale. The end result: one of the best Star Wars games ever made.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, a game that is somehow bigger than even its own clunky title, was created by the folks over at TT Games. Before I go any further into how much I liked it, I want to mention that I’d have been happy waiting another six months or more for this game, even after all the delays, if it could have saved the devs from crunching.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker fight on Mustafar using QTEs.

Screenshot: WB Games / Disney / Kotaku

As reported by Polygon earlier this year, this latest Lego game was created by a team that allegedly had to put up with unhealthy, stress-causing workloads and whose concerns often got ignored by management. It’s easy to look at a game this cute and silly and just assume it was made in a happy, music-filled candy factory, all the workers laughing as they one-up each other creating the series’ trademark jokes. But that’s just not the reality, and while I don’t think folks should be punished for enjoying this game, I also appreciate and respect people who decide to not play it. It’s a shitty situation and one which TT Games needs to avoid in the future for the sake of its own devs.

If you do decide to play Skywalker Saga, you’ll discover that this is a giant game. It covers all nine movies, from Phantom Menace to Rise of Skywalker. Each episode includes five levels and a bunch of open-world-like action between each bigger setpiece, with most episodes taking about two to three hours to complete, assuming you don’t get distracted by all the collectibles and hidden puzzles.

As you complete levels and progress through the story, you unlock more locations to visit in the game’s galaxy-spanning free mode. Here, you can bring an assortment of Star Wars characters with you and unlock previously unreachable areas using characters unlocked during the story missions. With over 275 characters and 20+ planets to discover, I can easily see myself spending a few dozen hours combing through each gorgeous, massive environment, solving every puzzle and collecting all the hidden, character-upgrading Kyber Bricks.

Unlike the past Lego Star Wars games, Skywalker Saga uses a behind-the-back camera angle along with improved, more modern-feeling combat and movement controls. Shooting feels like it was ripped right out of Fortnite, using an over-the-shoulder aiming setup. Melee combat is also improved, using a simple but fun combo system that features different attacks and the ability to block and counter. That said, you can still button-mash through encounters, which is nice considering how many younger kids will probably just do that instead of learning all the various combos.

Skywalker Saga is easily the best-looking Lego game ever made. You now have full control of the camera, letting you truly admire the incredible amount of graphical detail on display. The worlds you visit effortlessly blend photorealistic cliffs and deserts with digital Lego bricks, almost as if you are a kid playing with Legos in your backyard or sandbox. As you explore deserts or swamps, your Lego characters will actually start to get dirty and even acquire scratches. Look closely enough and you can even make out the Lego logo stamped onto their bodies and other brick-built ships and props.

At one point I actually grabbed a Lego Star Wars ship from my (embarrassingly) large collection to compare it to its digital counterpart. I was shocked by how accurate it was. Even bits that didn’t matter in-game, like a small Technic piece used to pop a droid out of its seat easily, were included in the digital ship.

A comical scene from the game showcasing the cast of A New Hope hiding in silly ways.

Screenshot: WB Games / Disney / Kotaku

But as I mentioned, the real star of Lego Star Wars is how deftly the game weaves in humor. For example, during the Episode II campaign, you get captured and dragged into a large arena filled with nasty monsters. One of them looks like a cat, so the aliens who are holding you captive use a laser pointer to get its attention and make it attack you. I laughed a lot, and not just at that joke.

This type of humor is found throughout, and even if you don’t care about the franchise, I suspect the jokes and gags will keep you entertained throughout. And if, like me, you love Star Wars, the in-joke references to the films and past Lego games are a lot of fun, too.

I can’t think of another Star Wars game that’s included so much of the franchise, in such a brilliant and well-made package, and does it all without becoming boring, or bogged down in canon details and retcons. Star Wars is silly. Star Wars is epic. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga knows this and embraces both aspects, while being a lot of fun and very funny. It’s one of my favorite games of 2022, and while some hardcore Star Wars fans may be loathe to admit it, yes, this is probably the best Star Wars game yet made.

  

Reference-kotaku.com

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