A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, someone had the idea to merge the most iconic science fiction series of all time with the most iconic construction toy of all time and turn it into a video game. Alright, so it was 17 years ago in Knutsford, and Star Trek and Meccano fans might have some objections, but the first LEGO Star Wars turned out to be a very good idea indeed. It was such a good idea that it led Travellers Tales to embark on a steady stream of LEGO games themed around the most popular film franchises of all time, cementing the game’s format into the muscle memory of an entire generation.
Just as George Lucas and Disney couldn’t leave the Skywalker family well enough alone, TT Games have returned to the distant galaxy where it all began, and despite the time that’s passed it’s fair to say that the Force is strong with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
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It’s a serious undertaking embarking on the full Skywalker Saga. TT Games has squeezed all of the nine mainline films into this one, with nods to other Star Wars properties like Solo and The Mandalorian finding their way into the mix as well. When the previous highlight of the brick-building series was Lego Jurassic World, which covered four movies, the extent of what the team have created here becomes even more impressive – an achievement somewhat sullied by the reports of serious crunch at the developer.
The Skywalker Saga has been billed as a complete retooling of the Lego franchise, but that’s not quite true. Anyone that’s played one of the more recent Lego games will recognise many of the mechanics at play, and in actual fact many of the newer additions that appeared in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens are still present here. What has been completely changed is the camera view, with an over the shoulder third-person camera lending the game an immediacy that we haven’t seen before.
The new viewpoint allows you to take in the most impressive visuals that Traveller’s Tales has yet crafted. There’s granularity and detail to characters and locations that now make them look like plastic toys that have come to life, rather than a digital approximation of them. You’ll believe that the Luke Skywalker figurine you’re in control of has been played with on a beach far far away, thanks to a build up of grime and dust, and it’s a look that I absolutely love. Combined with a greater degree of facial animation, and it’s clear that The Skywalker Saga sets a new high water mark for the series.
It’s fair to say that if you’re a fan of Star Wars, you’re going to adore this game. Traveller’s Tales has once again nailed the balance between reverence for the original material and pulling it to pieces for a laugh. I continually found myself chuckling, laughing, and even guffawing at the different scenarios that popped into the well-known narrative beats. Admittedly it’s often very silly, and it might be a bit too low-brow for some, but there are some really clever touches that tell you that this is a team who know and love the source material.
You could well quantify all that humour as joy, and even when it’s not being played for laughs The Skywalker Saga is simply one of those games that you can’t help smiling at while playing. The tasks and puzzles may be fundamentally familiar, but they’re snappy and clear, avoiding some of the earlier Lego game’s finicky controls. As always, you’ll need certain types of characters to interact with certain parts of the world, whether it’s Leia having a grapple gun, a Jedi’s force abilities, or Droids using different terminals. All can have their abilities upgraded by hunting down the Kyber Bricks hidden through each linear level or sprawling open world hub.
That’s not to say that it’s all plain sailing. Inexplicably there is screen tearing present in the PS5 version of the game. It’s not ever-present, and it’s not PS3 Lego Harry Potter bad, but when you catch that telltale flickering, it really grates, particularly when you’re playing on the current-gen with cutting edge innards. I can only imagine what the PS4 edition is like.
I’m still working my way through every single movie here – including Rise of the Skywalker which I’d rather forget exists. This is a huge game. There’s side missions dotted throughout each of the expansive hub areas, and you can easily find yourself sidetracked trying to get to the top of a building, and veering away from the main story of each film.
While we’re not pinning a score on it yet, it’s already clear though that The Skywalker Saga is the finest Lego game ever created. It’s an example of what’s possible when you combine a hugely talented development team with a property that they know inside and out, and it further cements Traveller’s Tales’ Lego games as an essential part of the gaming landscape.
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