A long time ago, on a game console not collecting dust in the back of my closet, Traveller’s Tales released Lego Star Wars. For those too young to enjoy this 2005 masterpiece, you missed the first bricky foray into the Star Warsuniverse. Though you wouldn’t know from the title, the game only covered a single trilogy. But, hey, at least it was the most significant one: Episodes I through III!
Okay, maybe starting with the prequels wasn’t what everyone wanted, but we did eventually receive a game covering the original trilogy, a Lego-fied version of Clone Wars, and even a standalone title for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. By 2016, Traveler’s Tales were cranking out a few licensed Lego games each year, the result being market oversaturation with what many viewed as repetitive, cookie-cutter games.
Still, when Traveller’s Tales and Warner Bros. announced a new Lego Star Wars game in 2019, I was intrigued. Not only did they promise a slew of refinements on the gameplay side, but also the most expansive Legoseries game to date, one encompassing all nine of the mainline Star Wars films. The result, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, returns to the heart of what makes these games so much fun: exploration, humor, and an irreverent treatment of a beloved franchise.
When players enter this whole new treatment of the Star Wars universe, a number of choices appear. You can start at the beginning of each trilogy—prequel, classic, or sequel—and work through the game in any order in which you’d like. Each of the nine films has its own section, with massive hub areas to explore between missions. There are five main missions for each film, and plenty of side content to explore in the hubs. That’s 45 main missions to experience, which sounds like a lot, but my one complaint is how fast parts of the story fly by. Story missions tend to focus on each movie’s biggest moments, so you won’t miss a podrace, trench run, or space-horse battle on top of a Star Destroyer—but be prepared to run from moment to moment, filling out exposition quickly along the way.
Rushing from story mission to story mission will swallow 20 to 25 hours, depending on how well you explore each level. Completing all of the optional side content and unlocking the hundreds of minifigures, small kits, and other collectibles will tack on a few dozen more.
Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of fun waiting around every corner during missions and minigames. One minute you’re ducking behind a wall (a new mechanic) picking off a battalion of stormtroopers with your blaster, and the next, you’re throwing your lightsaber like a boomerang (also new) toward a particularly stubborn enemy. And don’t forget flying an X-Wing down the Death Star trench or a snowspeeder against AT-ATs relentlessly stomping toward your base.
One of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’s greatest strengths is the way it shifts from one objective to the next, never sticking you with one task long enough for it to get stale. Yes, you’ll still be breaking bricks and collecting studs like a schoolyard bully, but it’s always on the way to do something more: solve a puzzle, fight a battle, save the galaxy. Most of the mechanics will feel familiar to Legoveterans, but the new over-the-shoulder perspective makes everything feel more intimate and immediate. The view complements the game’s slick graphics. The bricks look suitably plastic while the accompanying world provides a breathtaking cinematic backdrop. It’s a wonderful contrast that works better here than ever before.
In terms of audio, John Williams’s famous score resonates throughout, while dialog offers a mix of iconic lines and new quips thrown in to remind you not to take this all so seriously. Indeed, the series’ sense of humor has only gotten goofier, which works about 95-percent of the time—but it is a little off-putting when a scene completely changes for a laugh. For instance, does it really matter who shot first if no one is blown to bricks?
Unfortunately, not all of the game’s pieces fit together perfectly. Sometimes wandering around the hubs, accepting side missions and trying to figure out where to go, becomes confusing. A better map system would have been good, though it may have discouraged the exploration necessary to uncover all of the game’s secrets. You’ll also still spend an inordinate amount of time smashing, shooting, or lightsaber-ing everything in sight in a desperate attempt to claim every stud possible to unlock everything, a gameplay loop that could use some streamlining after all these years.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga embraces a lot of what made earlier Lego games fun and a few that made them frustrating, while adding a new layer of polish and flair that’s sure to please fans. Now go grab some green milk and prepare for a galaxy spanning adventure.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an ambitious game that brings all nine numbered Star Wars movies together for the first time. Filled with story and side missions, large open hubs, minigames, and literally hundreds of characters to unlock, Skywalker Saga hits nearly every beat while maintaining the brick-smashing, object-building, puzzle-solving action the Lego games are known for. Filled with irreverent humor and little Easter eggs around every corner, this game is the perfect way to revisit everyone’s favorite sci-fi family saga.
Warner Bros. Games
E10+ - Everyone 10+
|Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is available on Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC. Primary version played was for Xbox Series X/S. Product was provided by Warner Bros. Games for the benefit of this coverage. EGM reviews on a scale of one to five stars.|
Marc is reeling from all of the games this fall, and wondering how long it’s going to take him to beat Red Dead Redemption II. And while it’s a great game, Spider-Man is still the most fun he’s had in a virtual world in 2018.