Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Impressions – Lego for Big Kids
For years you could pretty much set your watch by TT Games’ licensed Lego titles. One or two came out every year without fail, and while they were always packed with content, the core gameplay didn’t change much regardless of whether you were controlling Batman, the Avengers, or Indiana Jones. Simple button-mashing brawling, stud collecting, and goofy gags were always the order of the day. Kids loved the games; parents tolerated ‘em – everyone was more or less happy.
Well, TT Games has decided to throw a wrench into their well-oiled machine with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. The studio has spent the last three years on The Skywalker Saga exclusively and are promising not only their biggest adventure ever but one that pushes their trademark Lego gameplay in new, more ambitious directions. Other members of the press and I recently got to check around 45 minutes of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga gameplay, so here are my thoughts on how it’s coming together.
As the title implies, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga covers all nine of the franchise’s core numbered films, with players able to pick and choose which they want to tackle. The press preview began with the scene that kicked off the entire franchise – Darth Vader’s invasion of Leia’s ship at the beginning of Star Wars Episode IV. The Skywalker Saga aims to expand moments from the movies into larger scenarios. The 10-minute scene from the movie is turned into a full shooting sequence featuring Leia and an escape with R2-D2 and C-3PO. Interestingly, bits from the spin-off movies are also being worked into missions as we get a recreation of Vader’s arrival on Leia’s ship from Rogue One.
The most immediately noticeable thing about Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the old slightly zoomed-out isometric view from past games has been replaced, with the camera now situated behind your character in third-person shooter style. Turns out there’s a good reason for that, as you now have full shooter controls. That includes a cover system, and yes, the ability to score headshots. Melee combat isn’t a simple button-jamming affair anymore either, as there is now a combo meter, and Skywalker Saga’s devs promise enemies will learn and adapt if you just rattle off the same attacks repeatedly. In terms of level design, expect simple puzzles as well as branching paths and optional objectives. Overall, the complexity and challenge level looks to have been ramped up.
Following the introduction mission, the preview headed to Tatooine for a first look at free play. Players can stray from main missions whenever they feel the urge, as we got to see Luke wander around the homestead and nearby Jawa village while engaging in various small sidequests and challenges. There are multiple planets and locations you can jet off to at any time (we also got a peek at Coruscant and the Rebel base from Rise of Skywalker). You’re also free to explore the space in between certain groupings of planets, taking on dogfights and even smuggling runs.
Our look at The Skywalker Saga ended with a boss fight against Count Dooku lifted from Revenge of the Sith and a space battle inspired by The Last Jedi. The Dooku battle was surprisingly intense, featuring multiple phases and quick time events. Meanwhile, space battles give you complete control of your ship and multiple objectives to achieve. What I saw almost resembled EA’s Star Wars: Squadrons, albeit less intense and visually impressive.
On the subject of visuals, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a step up from TT Games’ past efforts, but not a huge one. Efforts have been made to construct a larger percentage of each stage out of Lego, but if you’re expecting the Lego Movie approach with literally everything made of bricks, you’re in for a disappointment. There are still plenty of non-Lego objects to be seen.
The Skywalker Saga doesn’t just have many destinations to visit; it also offers a long list of playable characters (over 300 in total) and ways to get around. Characters include some outside-the-box stuff, like a rampaging Rancor, as well as multiple versions of favorite heroes (young and old Obi-Wan, etc.). Characters can be powered up by unlocking a core upgrade tree or individual ones for each class (Jedi, Bounty Hunters, Scoundrels, and more). As for ships, expect every Rebel and Imperial craft you can name and more unique rides, like Boba Fett’s iconic ship. There are probably characters and vehicles in this game even George Lucas himself forgets.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is TT Games’ most ambitious effort to date, no question, but I do wonder what the game’s target audience is. I feel like the greater complexity I saw on display may be a stumbling block for younger audiences. The game isn’t going to compete with the best shooters, brawlers, or open-words, so I’m not sure how entranced older players will be either. Sure, parents and older kids who grew up on Lego games may appreciate something a little more demanding, but is this the game they’re going to be playing in their own free time? Again, I wonder. Of course, playing is believing, so perhaps I’ll better understand where this particular block fits when I get to go hands-on.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga arrives on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, and Switch on April 5. Expect a full review from us here at Wccftech.
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