Wednesday, March 23, 2022
The biggest change that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga makes to the classic LEGO game formula becomes immediately obvious within the first few moments of our gameplay preview. Many of the previous LEGO games have the feel of a blocky diorama, as you watch your plastic characters move in and out of the environment, often disappearing into the distance, or coming right up to the screen. In The Skywalker Saga, the camera is pulled in much tighter, and suddenly you’ll find yourself peering over the shoulder of a little LEGO Princess Leia as she fights off Imperial Stormtroopers, in a bricky recreation of A New Hope’s opening. With this one simple change, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks and feels much more like a modern third-person action game, with cover shooting and combos to build up. But if you’re worried that the charm and accessibility that made LEGO games stand out is gone, you’ve little cause for concern.
From the hot tub-loving Stormtroopers, to the irreverent props thrown into nearly every cutscene, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks to continue mining the rich vein of comedy that the previous games did so well. Unlike those first LEGO Star Wars games, there is a fair amount of voice acting here, but the slapstick physicality that so often drew an unexpected guffaw in those original games appears to be alive and well. There’s even an optional ‘Mumble Mode’, which replaces fully-voiced dialogue with old-school mumbling, if you long for the classic LEGO Star Wars experience.
While the tone remains unchanged in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, the biggest changes come in two flavours - visuals and gameplay. Graphically, this latest LEGO game is shaping up to be the best-looking title in the series to date. The cramped corridors of the game’s ship environments are now, impressively, completely built entirely out of LEGO bricks and tiles, and you can’t help but wonder how expensive these bus-sized sets would be if recreated in real life. The more natural areas, such as the deserts of Tatooine or the cities of Coruscant, remain as realistically rendered as in previous games, but these environments are more gorgeous than they’ve ever been, with some impressive lighting, offering a nice juxtaposition against the more interactive LEGO brick scenery, enemies, and NPCs.
From a gameplay point of view, almost every aspect of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks like it has matured slightly from the simplicity of previous LEGO games. Pulling the camera tighter behind the character lends combat a more immediate feel, and this is bolstered by a new combo system that rewards players for using different button combinations and counters. Build up your combo meter, either in close-quarters combat or using your blaster, and you’ll be rewarded with higher-value LEGO studs. It offers a nice reward for playing well, without punishing younger or less skilled players. After all, the LEGO games have always been very accessible, with no real ‘game over’ screens and a relatively low level of challenge. Despite offering a little more complexity, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks to be as accessible as ever, and developer TT Games has confirmed that the game’s settings will offer options to auto-complete QTEs, toggle aiming your weapons, and fully remap the controller if you like.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga offers players the ability to play through all nine mainline Star Wars films in LEGO form, and all of the seven films previously covered (Episodes I through VII) in other LEGO Star Wars titles, offer entirely new experiences - these aren’t just remasters or updated experiences. The most exciting prospect, however, is the ability to play through The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker in a LEGO game for the first time. After all, considering the many heated debates surrounding the merits (or lack thereof, depending on your opinion) of these two films, we’re in greater need than ever for a light-hearted LEGO take, which celebrates their better qualities, while ripping into the films’ sillier aspects.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is shaping up to be not only the latest, but the greatest LEGO Star Wars game to date, created by a team that adores the franchise, but isn’t afraid to have fun with it as well. In a video game landscape that has more Star Wars games releasing than ever before, LEGO Star Wars still has a place among the more straight-laced fare, and we’re certain that The Skywalker Saga is going to be a tauntaun of fun.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga launches on 5th April.
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