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August 2022

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: TT Games
Release Date: April 5, 2022


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Xbox Series X|S Review - 'LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on April 4, 2022 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the biggest LEGO Star Wars game, featuring all nine Skywalker saga films, including the conclusion to the series, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Buy LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

The original LEGO Star Wars is pretty much the game that defined LEGO titles. Even to this day, the bulk of LEGO offerings are iterations and improvements upon that baseline. That is why LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is so easy to anticipate. Combining three generations of lightsabers and LEGOs, it's a remake of some of LEGO's most delightful games, finally allowing players to experience the full trilogy in all its goofy, blocky glory.

As you'd guess, The Skywalker Saga covers episodes 1-9 of the Star Wars franchise. The side content isn't available yet, but there are plenty of callbacks and references. Darth Vader's infamous hallway fight is re-created in all its LEGO glory at the start of "A New Hope," and there are tons of inside jokes. Content from "only" nine movies is nothing to scoff at, and it's clear the adaptations are coming from a place of genuine love for the franchise.

By and large, Lego Star Wars nails the comedy, with lots of charming pratfalls and amusing bits of dialogue that sell the silly world. I was quite surprised with how dark some of the humor can get. One early joke has an Imperial officer in a sealed room utterly terrified of 'droids, while his friends try to convince him they are completely harmless. Then C-3P0 takes control of a nearby turret and blasts everyone in the room to pieces. It's surprisingly grim, even in the cheery LEGO aesthetic. The worst scenes don't include any jokes but play out the scenes a bit too straight.

My only real complaint is that some of the cut scenes are way too fast. I don't expect the game to linger, but sometimes, it zooms through things so quickly that jokes don't even have time to land. One particularly egregious example involves the firing of the Starkiller Base's laser, which is portrayed as a second-long shot in the sky. It's fair that the game assumes players have seen the movies, so it doesn't need to hold their hands through the plot, but at the same time, it can linger for an extra beat or two.

The base LEGO Star Wars gameplay isn't too different from the unusual LEGO fare. You control one or more characters and run around cartoony LEGO environments, beating up baddies and smashing everything in your path to collect precious studs or earn the necessary materials to build your way past a puzzle. Death is low punishment and involves a near-instant respawn and a minor loss of studs. You can even play co-op with two people working together to explore the environment. All in all, it's very familiar to LEGO fans.

The combat system has been revamped. Ranged combat now functions in more of a traditional third-person shooter style, allowing you to take cover behind objects, aim down the barrel of your gun, and make targeted shots. This isn't a hardcore third-person shooter, but it allows for more freedom in how to fight. Melee combat now involves combos between the light attack, heavy attack, and jump buttons, which you can string together to pull off a cool series of moves. Pretty much any string of buttons does something neat, and you're rewarded for varying combos because enemies start blocking if you keep mashing the same button.

Characters are divided into a handful of groups: Bounty Hunter, Dark Side, Droid, Hero, Jedi, Scavenger, Scoundrel and Villain. Each group has unique skills that allow them to do certain things the other groups can't. (There's an overlap between some, such as Jedi and Dark Side both being able to access Force-related things, but they still have unique features.) My favorite is the Scavenger, who can create unique items that let them reach places nobody else can.

This makes it relatively easy to create a team of favorite characters without too much difficulty. Many characters can find ways around their class limitations. Jedi can use Mind Trick on an enemy, which lets you temporarily take control and use their abilities, so you can use a Villain's ability to open a door. The game is good about providing multiple paths through, and while there are some secrets you can only get with specific classes, you're never too blocked off, no matter your team composition.

Hoo boy, are there a lot of choices here! There are over 300 different characters from across the Star Wars universe, including DLC packs for The Mandalorian Season 1 and Solo. These obviously include all the favorites as well as tons of obscure picks that even the most die-hard of Star Wars fans might be hard-pressed to identify. There are even some cool alternate versions, like Sith Ray from the Rise of Skywalker vision. Not every character is here, but there are so many that you're almost assured to find your favorite. You could just play multiple generations of Lando Calrissian for maximum cool factor because who doesn't love Lando?

As is the tradition for LEGO titles, there is a lot to unlock. The world map is divided between "open world" segments that you can freely explore and more limited story-based missions that give you a set cast of characters. (Finishing these missions unlocks Free Play, which lets you take on the missions with any characters.) Both feature an absolute bucketload of hidden Kyber Bricks to upgrade characters. Bricks can either be spent on generic upgrades that apply to all classes or specialized ones for each class. Robots learn to explode in shockwaves, Scoundrels learn to do a charge shot with their gun, most classes learn to automate minigames to save time, and so on.

The nice part is that most of these Kyber Brick rewards come from exploring and poking around. If you see anything that looks out of place, it's probably a hint to a puzzle reward. It makes it fun to experiment and see what happens. There are also nice hints throughout the game world that you can find or purchase that hint at a puzzle solution or how to unlock a specific character in case you want to beeline it to Yaddle or Darth Maul. It's a good way to keep some of the challenges obscure without the risk of younger gamers growing bored or frustrated.

LEGO Star Wars is still a very easy game series designed for players of all ages, but it does a good job of keeping the relatively easy gameplay busy. The revamped combat system offers just enough focus and rewards that it's worth paying attention instead of mashing a button, and the puzzles are usually simple affairs but involving and charming enough that they don't have to be head-scratchers. As always, LEGO Star Wars excels at being a game that is fun for fans of all ages, and it's one of the absolute best parent/child co-op experiences out there. Even the darker jokes hit that fun little mark where a kid laughs at the silliness while an adult chuckles at the undertones.

LEGO Star Wars is a delight in motion. The LEGO games have always been good at capturing the feel of the toys and the movie, but LEGO Star Wars is filled to the brim with enchanting little touches. I love how you leave little LEGO footprints in the sand or how a Stormtrooper's helmet pops up if you score a headshot, with each Stormtrooper having a different face underneath. The developers have also managed to do a great job of making these cute little figures look cool in action. Playing as Leia and seeing her combine punching enemies with blaster shots like she's a Devil May Cry character made me feel awesome, even if the character is modeled as a piece of hard plastic.

The quality continues to the audio. Not only are the classic Star Wars tunes there, but tons of sound effects are also pitch-perfect and feel completely natural. If there's one complaint about the audio, not all of the voice acting is well cast. Some of it comes close enough to the movie versions, but others feel distractingly off, which stands out when they're reading the exact same lines as the movie version. It's a minor complaint at best, and if it really bothers you, there is the option for classic LEGO Mumble mode, which makes everyone speak nonsense instead.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga genuinely hits the mark. It's a love letter to the nine main movies in the Star Wars franchise, and it feels like something that's made for anyone to enjoy, whether their favorite movie is "The Phantom Menace" or "The Rise of Skywalker." It doesn't reinvent the wheel as far as LEGO games go, but it's darn fun with a load of content that is sure to keep fans happy for a long time.

Score: 8.5/10

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