As someone who has fond memories playing Lego Star Wars over a decade ago (specifically, the Original Trilogy), I was excited for the release of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. After all, the Skywalker Saga promises to be the definitive Lego Star Wars game as it features all nine episodes, all while featuring enhanced graphics, combat, and more.
Given the ambitious scope of having the whole Star Wars saga in one title, the only thing I feared is that the game might buckle under the massive scale. Sure, there have been several Lego Star Wars games to draw from, but based on the previews, the Skywalker Saga is an evolution of the previous games in the series, so they didn’t just copy-paste levels and elements for the original titles.
So, did TT Games pull off in making the definitive Lego Star Wars game? I’m happy to report that not only did they pull it off, but they also made what might just be the best Star Wars game yet!
The Lego Star Wars games are great, but they have simplistic combat which makes sense considering the series is made for gamers of all ages. The Skywalker Saga aims to shake up the formula a bit by introducing deeper combat mechanics, all while being accessible for younger players.
For starters, the melee combat in the Skywalker Saga now features more abilities and combos. Before, melee combat was all about mashing the attack button to defeat enemies. Now, players can chain different types of attacks together. For example, most characters can attack enemies, launch them in air, and continue attacking while mid-air. Meanwhile, lightsaber-wielding characters can do the same, on top of being able to throw their lightsaber and use the Force to launch objects at foes.
This deeper melee combat makes enemy encounters more engaging. Sure, it’s still an easy game overall as there’s pretty much no penalty when you die, but the new combos are just so fun to play around with, especially when up against bosses, of which there are plenty. While these bosses do lack in challenge, they make up for it by being visually impressive. Plus, even if the fights are easy, the appeal for me is that playing the Skywalker Saga made me feel like a kid playing with Jedi and Sith minifigures.
Melee combat isn’t the only thing enhanced in the game though as blaster-wielding characters now have a third-person aiming mechanic with an over-the-shoulder camera. This might seem like a small change, but it goes a long way in making blaster characters more fun to play. Back when I played the older Lego Star Wars games, I found that Jedi/Sith characters were way more exciting. But with The Skywalker Saga, blaster-wielding characters can be just as fun, especially as different characters have different blasters which do shake up the combat quite a bit.
Speaking of different characters, The Skywalker Saga features over 300 playable characters. Sure, a lot of these characters play similarly to each other, but there’s enough variety to make the game not feel boring or tiring after a while. It also helps that you can play through story levels again with different characters. So, if you want to play as Darth Vader while experiencing the events of the Clone Wars, you can do so in the game.
Playing as different characters is one thing, but The Skywalker Saga also features space combat where you get to pilot Lego versions of iconic Star Wars starfighters, from the Naboo Starfighter to the Resistance X-wing. Space battles are a bit simple when it comes to mechanics, but I still found them to be fun and engaging, thanks in large part to the game having probably the widest selection of starfighters out of any Star Wars title. As someone who daydreamed about piloting Clone Wars-era starfighters against Imperial TIE Fighters back when I was a kid, the space battles in the Skywalker Saga are pretty much a dream come true for 10-year-old me.
A Galaxy-Spanning Adventure
As the game features the whole nine-episode saga, it should come as no surprise that each episode is a bit of a short experience. Each episode features five levels, with the episodes each having a length of around 2-3 hours if you stick to the main story. While the game does take around 20-25 hours to complete, each level can feel smaller in scale, especially if you’ve played the older games or Lego The Force Awakens.
To make up for this, The Skywalker Saga features what I can describe as semi-open world levels. For example, upon reaching Naboo in Episode I, you can either progress through the story, or take your time to explore Naboo and find a wide range of collectibles. These levels aren’t exactly sprawling lands, but they are big enough and filled with enough content to make exploring feel worthwhile. And as a Star Wars fan, I enjoyed getting the chance to explore places such as Coruscant and Cloud City.
In these levels, you can also do some side missions that typically reward you with new unlockables such as new characters or ships. While these side missions aren’t particularly complicated, they’re fun distractions that give you an incentive to explore the world.
Levels aren’t limited to planets though, as there are also open space levels where you can help allies in skirmishes or participate in spacecraft challenges using the starfighter of your choice. You can even face off against iconic capital ships such as the Executor and the Trade Federation Battleship. Facing off against capital ships are a multi-phase engagement as you must first participate in space battles to draw it out, then damage it enough by destroying turrets and other parts, and finally boarding it and fighting the enemies inside.
These more open levels can be explored while playing through the main story, but don’t worry as you can easily return to them even if you rush through the story thanks to the Galaxy Free Play mode. In this mode, you can choose whichever characters or starfighters you have unlocked, and freely explore all the levels the game has to offer (so long as you’ve unlocked them that is). So, if you’ve ever wanted to explore the new planets such as Jakku with iconic Jedi from the prequels like Ki-Adi-Muni, you are free to do so. Plus, you can undertake the side missions here at your leisure with free play mode. On top of this, you can also replay story levels with whichever character you choose like the previous games.
As a fan of the series, I enjoyed the more open levels and the Galaxy Free Play mode of the Skywalker Saga. Sure, the main story levels may feel shorter, but the fact that I can explore a wide range of planets in this game as my favorite characters from across the saga is a worthy trade-off.
Fresh Coat of Paint
Lego games aren’t known for being graphical showcases. And while I wouldn’t say that The Skywalker Saga is the best-looking game out right now, I was impressed by the visuals that it has to offer. Sure, the game is still made up of blocky Lego pieces, but the textures and effects look noticeably better than even the Force Awakens Lego game.
It also helps that the Skywalker Saga has a camera that sits closer to the character so you can better appreciate the details that TT Games have put into the game. While I can’t say how accurate the Lego versions in the game are compared to actual Lego sets (I don’t have a Lego collection as they’re a bit too expensive for my budget), the detail that I saw here is impressive and should satisfy even serious Lego collectors.
What was also surprising for me is the voice acting. If you haven’t played any Lego Star Wars games since the Complete Saga over a decade ago, the newer Lego games now feature voiced characters. Personally, I found the voice acting of the game to be of excellent quality as the actors were able to accurately mimic the original voices of the characters, all while pulling off the game’s more humorous takes on them. Though if you do prefer a more classic Lego game experience, the Skywalker Saga does have a Mumble mode feature which makes all characters mumble gibberish.
While the Skywalker Saga looks and sounds great, there are some technical hiccups to take note of, though thankfully, none of these are game breaking. For starters, there are some minor visual bugs and issues that you’ll experience when playing the story levels. Plus, there are times that the framerate dips on PC in certain levels, but not enough to make it unplayable.
Speaking of PC, the game’s controls do need a bit of work if you’re on keyboard and mouse. While you can get used to the combat, the menu controls are awkward as you’ll need to press space to select, E to go back, and use the arrow keys instead of WASD to navigate the main menu. Given these, I recommend using a controller if you’re going to play this game on PC.
On a sidenote, the game also features local co-op on all platforms. Sadly, I wasn’t able to try it out during my playthrough of the game. But based on feedback online, co-op seems to work well and is a nice addition. Though we do wish that an online co-op mode is added sometime in the future.
Final Verdict – 8.5/10
Over the years, there have been plenty of Star Wars games, both good and not-so-good. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is firmly on the good camp. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best and one of my favorite Star Wars titles ever, right up there with the original Battlefront 2 and Knights of the Old Republic.
Sure, there are some technical bugs, and the gameplay itself might not be challenging, but the fact that the Skywalker Saga manages to condense all nine episodes in a charming and fun way makes it a joyful experience to play, enough that you’ll forget the minor issues. On top of this, the expanded levels and semi-open world structure makes it a great sandbox for you to experience your favorite Star Wars fantasies. I mean, what other game lets you fight Kylo Ren as Mace Windu?
This review was made using a PC code of the game provided by the publisher.