Written by Games of DAYNE | Reviewed on Xbox Series X
As the Star Wars franchise enters its 35th year it is fitting that Traveller’s Tales have launched LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga on all platforms. All nine entries of the Skywalker Saga of films have been adapted, rebuilt from the ground up to stand apart from the multiple LEGO Star Wars titles that have been released since 2005.
Following suit with the addition of voiceovers in more recent LEGO titles developed by Traveller’s Tales, The Skywalker Saga features voice acting for all characters, some of which are reprising the roles from the films, variety of television series or previous entries in the game series.
Featuring an assortment of key set pieces and essential story beats, a score and sound design faithful to the Star Wars universe, there has never been a more definitive, authentic and legitimate LEGO Star Wars title than The Skywalker Saga.
In an exciting move, the story can be played out by starting at any one of the three trilogies. For those who may not be as familiar with Star Wars, the original trilogy of films consisted of Episodes IV – VI, this was followed by the prequel trilogy that was comprised of Episodes I – III and finally the sequel trilogy of Episodes VII – IX. With Episodes I, IV and VII available immediately, the subsequent Episodes of each trilogy are unlocked by completing them in order. For example, completing Episode I will unlock Episode II, finishing Episode IV will unlock episode V.
For players who grew up seeing the original trilogy first it is nice to be able to start there while newer and younger players may choose to start with the sequel trilogy. This freedom of where to start this galactic adventure is great, especially for fans of the films who understand the story and much like the films, don’t need to go through them in order. Players that may not have seen Star Wars or just aren’t as familiar as the die-hard community it has developed over 30+ years can just as easily follow the game through in chronological order and absorb the extensive narrative in a more coherent format.
Traveller’s Tales have done an excellent job in rebuilding the gameplay in a new game engine, delivering action packed gameplay that remains simplistic in its approach and accessible for younger audiences. The ability to throw a lightsaber, deflect blaster bolts and manipulate surrounding objects with the force has never felt more satisfying or accessible. Cover based shooting mechanics and the variety of melee combos keep each of the 300+ playable characters feeling exciting. Coupled with simple puzzles to solve and objectives to complete, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has enough depth to satisfy older players while not alienating the younger player base.
A closer, more focused camera perspective breathes new life into the over-the-shoulder third-person gameplay. The level of detail in each character is so realistically created that each piece of the LEGO builds showcases the shiny gleams of armours and hair pieces for instant while also showing the worn out and weathered clothing of some of the more rugged characters. The level of detail is staggering and manages to establish a LEGO title that is looking far more polished and full of minute details than it has any right to be. As characters, and especially vehicles are destroyed, the satisfying explosion of LEGO pieces is a joy to observe.
Level design is flawless and encompasses a wide range of objectives, set pieces and legendary moments from the films. Anakin Skywalker’s epic podrace is meticulously realised and the battle of Yavin and Hoth are so faithfully recreated that each of the five levels that comprise each Episode feel like a brief overview of the entire movie, leaving out any unnecessary sequences and ensuring that critical story beats are not only included but explored and presented in a manner that on Traveller’s Tales could deliver. The variety of locations and worlds are stunningly presented, resulting in a Star Wars experience that can’t be faulted in its overall presentation.
In between story missions, players typically have the freedom to explore surprisingly large hub areas across a number of planets. These areas are teeming with optional side missions, collectibles to find and secrets to uncover. To further expand the scope of these areas, and the missions themselves, some areas are only accessible with certain characters or with specific skills, some of which won’t be possible until later when new characters have been unlocked either automatically or by purchasing with Studs, the in-game currency that rains down from ever defeated foe or object destroyed in the environment.
This not only adds to the immense replayability of The Skywalker Saga, either alone or co-operatively with another player in local split-screen but it encourages players to explore thoroughly along their adventure and to invest in the right characters for the job. Simply breezing the story of all nine episodes, consisting of 45 missions overall, will take as little as ten hours but to actually explore everything will take dozens more. This caters to those players who only want to play through the story to do so without being forced into exploration while also serving those looking to find everything that The Skywalker Saga has to offer. When considering the incredible amount of characters to unlock and collectibles to find, players can be kept busy for a very long time.
An upgrade system is well implemented that allows for players to spend collected Kyber bricks on perks that are shared by all characters or specific class-based perks for the characters that comprise those. None of these are detrimental to the core gameplay experience and they aren’t required for story progression. Given the already low difficulty level of the game, these advantages are driven by fun than more-so than necessity.
Outside of the 45 main story missions are countless optional side-missions to tackle that can be accessed from the many overworlds. Every previously visited planet can be fast travelled to at any point, making it simple to explore every corner of the playable galaxy. As well as the typical action and platforming the player can just as easily settle into the cockpit and take the fight to the stars in a range of aerial missions to mix things up. There really is no shortage of activities to keep players engaged outside of the story and Traveller’s Tales have done an excellent job at ensuring these are fun, diverse and replayable, both alone or co-operatively.
A staple of the LEGO titles has been its comedy and The Skywalker Saga is no exception. Comedic elements are woven into every aspect of the story from cutscenes to dialogue and they excel in keeping the whole experience light, enjoyable and engaging for players of all ages. It’s very rare for a title to throw so much humour at the player without tripping over itself or outstaying its welcome but The Skywalker Saga has a far greater grasp of its comedic tone than it has any right to, constantly surprising me, as a 31 year old and lifelong fan of Star Wars, without coming across as cringey or redundant.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a passionate love letter to not only Star Wars, but to the LEGO series of titles within that uber popular universe that Traveller’s Tales have so wonderfully mastered. Enjoyable gameplay, mission variety, replayability and humour are just a few notable elements that they have consistently nailed throughout their seventeen years of developing these titles. Whether this is the first LEGO Star Wars experience for new players or the latest for returning fans, there is no denying that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the definitive version of the franchise and holds itself high as one of the very best Star Wars titles ever to grace the video game medium.
+ Simple, enjoyable gameplay
+ Extensive replayability
+ Mission variety
+ Excellent humour
+ Local co-op support
+ Genuine, authentic Star Wars sound design and presentation
– Lack of difficulty options, too easy for older players
– No online co-op functionality
Developed by: Traveller’s Tales
Published by: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: April 5 2022
Platforms: Xbox One/Series X|S, PlayStation 4/5, Nintendo Switch and PC
* A digital code was kindly provided to Games of DAYNE by Warner Bros for the purpose of this review *
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All digital imagery was captured by Games of DAYNE in-game on Xbox Series X