LEGO Skywalker Saga, review
Whether or not you initially gel with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will depend on your starting point. When presented with the option between Episodes I, IV and VII, I initially chose The Force Awakens. Mainly because my brain figured that – given this is something of a remake of the prior LEGO Star Wars Everything titles – this would represent the newest offering from Traveller’s Tales. As it turns out, not liking the newest Star Wars movies also equates to not liking their LEGO game versions. Once I switched to A New Hope, I found myself far more open to Skywalker Saga’s somewhat haphazard presentation. I started to appreciate both the vastness of this project and TT’s understandably workmanlike approach to it. Covering all nine films is no easy feat, let alone rewriting prior LEGO games.
The 45 levels presented range in quality and many of them take on shorter, linear episodes as opposed to the more open puzzle set-pieces we have been used to. This is leveraged by more open hub worlds as well as outer space systems to explore, replete with side missions, space combat and extra challenges. Given just how much is here, it’s understandable yet ultimately a bit disappointing that not everything feels fully realised. Nor is there quite enough interstitial glue to make the structure flow seamlessly or even smoothly.
An inch deep and a mile wide
You will encounter frame rate drops, buggy companion AI, strange glitches and some frankly bad puzzles. Conversely, you’ll get a real thrill out of mind-controlling storm troopers, picking up objects with the force and hurling them maniacally at LEGO NPCs. As well as playing through key events from the Star Wars films, albeit at quite a frenetic pace. There are also some great systemic elements that unfold, such as solving puzzles in unintended ways despite the wonky mechanics.
LEGO Skywalker Saga is a mixture of familiar and new, although none of the new is truly unfamiliar. Pulled into messy orbit from every other game out there, Skywalker Saga offers class-specific skill trees that are built up with a combination of collected studs and Kyber Bricks. Your constant reward for exploring and unlocking environmental puzzles. Splitting the vast roster of Star Wars characters into different classes is smart, though not unlike what we’ve seen before. There are overall perks. Such as increased health, fast build and greater stud collection radius – that can be upgraded across all classes. I focused on these first because, to be honest, none of the other things seemed worthwhile or necessary. Particularly given that LEGO Skywalker Saga’s challenge is firmly set at Jawa height.
The humour bar in LEGO Skywalker Saga
To the humour: well, having just replayed LEGO City Undercover, which I found almost perfect in terms of both slapstick and written humour, I unfortunately can’t say the same for Skywalker Saga. The gags are low-hanging and predictable, clearly aimed at younger players. The fail to levitate the serious spoken lines, which stick true to the films they are from. Only deviating by a few lines, and even then nary a written gag, just ‘funny’ stuff in the background.
I honestly don’t know why they bothered to find actors to try and copy the voices and lines, when ripping them directly from the films probably would have worked – or not have any speaking at all. Only the side mission NPCs, who give out rumours which lead to kyber bricks, are given room to be truly silly, which will fill out the late game for you as you hunt down the daunting 100% completion status. The resulting tone is strange, too serious for little kids, but not funny enough to illicit a giggle in any age group. Some episodes fare better than others, however, and again seems to rely on your own nostalgia levels.
Ambitious, but still a familiar outing
The good news, if this is all sounding a bit worrying, is that things do settle the more you play. I found myself coming to appreciate the relaxing yet simple gameplay. As well as being in awe of the fact that *everything* is made from recognisable LEGO pieces. The sheer effort gone into this, simple and fractured as it is, paints over the seams of its construction. As I spent kyber bricks on upgrades that made collectibles appear in levels, and as I unlocked more characters needed to complete each discrete puzzle, I came to look forward to the simple grind. Settling into an appreciation of this as a culmination, if not evolution, of all the LEGO titles that have come before.
Completionists will revel in so much to do and unlock. So many rumours to unfurl, studs to collect, bricks to discover, ships and characters to purchase, and perks to unlock. Players will fall into the comforting gameplay loop of completing episodes, getting a few secrets, finishing the game. Then going back through with the required characters and skills to pick out every little hidden collectible and side quest. As far as bang for buck goes, this delivers, it’s just a question of how tired you are of the LEGO formula. Because a new engine, camera perspective and even fighting system don’t equate to much that feels new.
LEGO Skywalker Saga in summary
The combo system is interesting in that it creates flashy ways to dispose of enemies. It also forces you to stop button mashing as they will block you if you spam one attack too much. However, the room temperature difficulty removes any real need to engage with it beyond it looking kind of cool. Similarly, the new engine is nice, and LEGO bricks have never looked better. I also appreciate how the plastic models weather over time. However, I could also conceive this being 100% as playable on a Switch as opposed to a Series S/X or PS5, because the core of these games has never been the graphics.
I would still recommend LEGO Skywalker Saga. It’s a pleasant deviation from more serious recent releases, and the addition of co-op means you might allow your kids or partner to join you. Although I can’t stop thinking that I’d rather be playing one of the earlier LEGO games. Each one that I can think of is primarily a better game than this. If you’ve exhausted those, or Star Wars is just too much to resist, then you’ll have a good time.