It’s not just the best LEGO game, The Skywalker Saga is a contender for the best Star Wars game, too
- Developer: TT Games
- Publisher: Warner Bros. Games
- Release date: 5th April 2022
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Platforms: Xbox One/Series XS, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
- Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Review
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the biggest Lego game ever made, which is unsurprising given its ambitious premise. The Star Wars trilogy of trilogies spans nine movies with over four decades of heritage and a fiercely loyal fanbase, so the pressure was on for the developers to produce a game worthy of the venerated franchise, but they’ve absolutely nailed it.
Even though the scope of the game is huge, the episodes aren’t scene-for-scene remakes. Parts of the movies with lengthy exposition and not much action are shortened to a synopsis-like cut scene, and some parts are straight up skipped. This may mean that some of your favourite scenes didn’t make the final cut, but the games still cover all the main story beats. Most importantly, the scenes they have chosen are immediately distinguishable, and I frequently had a smile on my face when I reached some epic parts of the stories.
Although you can’t choose any episode to start with, you can pick which trilogy you want to play first. Episodes I: The Phantom Menace, IV: A New Hope and VII: The Force Awakens are all available as your jumping-on point, and you can freely change between trilogies at your leisure.
Lego games are child friendly, so some of the potentially more distressing scenes are either removed or are made humorous, and they’ve handled it exceptionally well. It’s presented in a way that has a subtle enough nod for older fans to get the reference but without upsetting very young children. In scenes where characters are killed or have limbs removed, the Minifigures just have pieces removed, but scenes like where Anakin kills the younglings are completely removed.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lego game without the trademark slapstick and referential humour, which The Skywalker Saga delivers in spades. A favourite scene of mine is where Luke asks Obi-Wan what happened to his father, and Obi-Wan gives a “yikes” expression behind him (IYKYK). They’ve even done the unimaginable and made Jar Jar tolerable – he is a polarising character in the movies, but his comic relief feels far more appropriate here.
With so many great moments to draw inspiration from, The Skywalker Saga remains fresh throughout each of its 45 missions. A lot of it is presented on foot with tight third-person controls, but there’s also the obligatory pod-racing, numerous lightsaber battles, space combat, skimming the surface of Hoth as you wrap up the legs of an AT-AT, and the iconic trench run as you destroy the first Death Star. You are constantly presented with new ways to play and it keeps the gameplay invigorating and exciting.
There’s more ranged combat in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga than you’d typically find in a Lego game and it’s handled well, including a rudimentary (but largely unnecessary) cover system. Melee combat has seen much more development, though, and is way more satisfying than you’d expect. They’ve pulled the camera in, bringing the action closer to you, so rather than the wild-swinging fighting of other Lego games, you can be far more precise and the game is so much better for it. Each character class has a slightly different combat style with class-specific special moves, and rather than just mashing X repeatedly, you can unleash multi-button combos and counters. It’s still quite easy, as it caters to younger gamers, but it’s involving enough for more mature gamers to enjoy, too.
I initially set out to blast through the campaign, but instantly got distracted by collecting Kyber bricks, which have replaced the usual Gold bricks and are used in conjunction with collected studs to unlock a vast amount of both general and character-class specific perks. These perks can add or improve combat abilities, increase health, allow you to run faster, display the locations of collectables on your screen (a personal favourite), attract studs to you from further away, and much more. This RPG-like character development gives you a great sense of progression as you work your way through the game.
There are over 1000 of these Kyber bricks to find – 1116, to be precise. You’ll obtain these from almost everything you do. Completing levels with enough studs to earn True Jedi rank will get you a few, some are hidden in corners or under bridges, and others require some light puzzle-solving or searching for collectables. None of the puzzles are too taxing, and my kids managed to suss most of them out without trouble, but you still get a sense of satisfaction from completing them.
A sizeable amount of these collectables require specific character types which aren’t always accessible in the story mode, as you usually have set characters to use. To get these collectables, you’ll need to go back through levels in free-play mode, which gives you access to every character you’ve discovered and unlocked. This is typical of Lego games, of course, but it gives the missions huge amounts of replayability, especially if you’re going for 100% completion.
In addition to the other collectables, there are nineteen Datacards to find, which replace red bricks in Lego Star Wars: TSS. Unlike red bricks in other Lego games, which unlock a specific cheat/modifier, these Datacards can be used to unlock any of the ‘cheats’ in any order. I highly recommend going for the stud multipliers first, as they make earning the hundreds of millions of studs you’ll need to unlock everything else much more attainable.
Rather cleverly, each subsequent stud multiplier Datacard works out as costing a million base-value studs when combined with the previous multipliers. It may sound a bit grindy, but you’re likely to earn enough studs to get most of the multipliers by the end of the campaign playthrough. Once you’ve got all the multipliers, the studs come flying in, so you’ll be able to buy all of the character unlocks, starships and additional cheats.
There’s a huge amount of gameplay on offer. For context, I was eight hours in and I had barely started Episode II thanks to hunting collectables and taking my time through the campaign. I tried to pick up the pace so I could get this review out, but I couldn’t resist exploring and collecting everything in sight – nearly thirty hours later and I’ve only just started Return of the Jedi. It’s ridiculously compulsive but always fun.
If you rush the story missions, I’d estimate each Episode could take an hour or two to complete, but I’d more reasonably estimate a normal story playthrough at around 15-20 hours. With nine episodes to play that’s already a sizeable chunk of content, but if you’re going for everything, including mission challenges and collectables, a conservative estimate would be around the 50-plus hour mark.
Like previous Lego games, there’s a robust drop-in/out co-op option, and The Skywalker Saga is much more fun with a friend tagging along. Because of the switch to an over-the-shoulder third-person perspective, the camera no longer pans out and merges the screens when the characters are close together. Instead, you get a vertical split camera arrangement which can occasionally obscure your wider viewpoint and make spotting enemies and collectables a bit more challenging, but for the most part, it’s a seamless experience.
You can play the entire game in co-op, but there are a couple of sections where someone will be playing second fiddle and watching from the sidelines, most notably during some of the set pieces, like the boss fight lightsaber battles. This only accounts for brief moments throughout the expansive campaign, so it shouldn’t cause too much sibling rivalry.
There’s still no online co-op, though. I’m not sure why it’s never been a focal point for TT games, but with rare exception, most of their games are local co-op only. It’s a shame, as we are a multi-console family, but fortunately, the split-screen offering is good enough to earn Lego Star Wars a pass.
Accessible to all
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has an outstanding suite of accessibility options that lets you fine-tune the gameplay to suit gamers of any age or ability, and can add more challenging gameplay if you need it. Most of the options aren’t just on or off, either. The auto-aim, for example, allows you to adjust the lock on strength but can also be set to home in on enemies even if you’re aiming well off target. This is most helpful during the Star Wars Squadrons-Esque space shooter sections. I’ve played enough modern Star Wars games to have the space combat nailed down, but my kids struggled a bit with the fast-paced flying. Fortunately, the aim assist automatically leads the shots for you and makes what could have been an incredibly frustrating part of the game not exactly easy, but approachable for them.
Tutorials are given each time you are introduced to new gameplay mechanics and at the start of each trilogy, so no matter where you jump into the game you’re given some helpful guidance. Thankfully, once you’ve learned the controls you can switch off the tutorials so you don’t have to be spoon-fed the basics multiple times.
The best part of the game is how seamless everything is. Waypoints can be selected at will with glowing trails directing you to your next location, and if that’s on another planet it automatically highlights the next destination so you can just click and go. Active characters can be swapped out with a press of the left or right bumper, while in free play you can switch out your active roster with any one of the hundreds of characters you may have unlocked. Lego games have always been very playable, but here they have finally perfected the formula.
This is a breathtakingly good looking game that seamlessly merges the Lego aesthetic with a distinctive Star Wars vibe. It helps that they have decades of Lego Star Wars toys to draw inspiration from, and my kids were delighted to find brick-for-brick recreations of their favourite Lego sets in-game. The quality goes far beyond the models, though, as the textures are of a high-quality, environments are feature-packed and densely populated, and the lighting is staggeringly good. The ray-traced reflections are simply next level, and arguably the best implementation we’ve seen on a console.
The sound engineering of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is also impeccable. It helps when you have John Williams’ fantastic score providing the backdrop, but the quality extends to every aspect of the audio. Whether it’s Artoo’s characteristic beeps and whistles, the inimitable “Arrhgrgrhgrgr” of the Wookies or the pew-pew of the blasters, it’s unmistakably Star Wars.
I appreciate that the game is fully voice-acted, though you can if you wish change it back to the classic mumbling style of Lego games. These aren’t the original voice actors, but they turn in a solid performance with some competent imitations. They could have just used the actual audio from the movies, but there’s so much additional or alternative dialogue that it would be jarring to hear the switch from original to new voices.
Great for kids
There’s so much to do that it can appear daunting at first, but having watched my kids repeatedly go back to other Lego titles like Jurassic World, Lego City Undercover and The Ninjago Movie game time and time again until they explored every last area and found every last brick, this mountain of collectables, missions and side quests is most welcome.
An oft-overlooked aspect of these games is the way it allows younger gamers to engage in imaginative play. My kids use the extensive hub worlds to play their own games and roleplay. They can be playing tag and hide-and-seek one moment, then choosing a house and playing families the next. It’s a way of playing that most adults will never consider in this kind of game, but the epic sandbox of The Skywalker Saga lets them do this on a scale I haven’t seen since Lego City Undercover. When you combine all of the planets and sub-areas, this game positively dwarfs any Lego game that has come before it and should keep younger gamers entertained for weeks if not months.
There’s only one thing stopping this from being an almost perfect game. During mine and my kids’ playthroughs, we had dozens of issues with the game freezing when loading into new areas, and even when first booting up the game. Collectables save at the time of collection, so you don’t lose any progress that way, but if you’re mid-mission it can take you right back to the beginning. We didn’t have any of the game-breaking bugs that others have reported, as TT has patched in a fix for many of these, so it was just a quit and restart fix for us. Mildly annoying, yes, but never so much so it made us not want to play anymore.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a fantastic game that any Star Wars or Lego fan is sure to love. The Lego game formula has been refined close to perfection, and there’s a huge amount of gameplay variety and replayability. A family-friendly approach to the content of the movies and laugh out loud Lego humour make this a perfect game for younger children, but it’s still enjoyable for the more, ahem, “mature”, gamers too. This is the best Lego game to date, and surely a contender for best Star Wars game, too.