Format: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
To call Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga “ambitious” might be an understatement. Cramming through the nine main films of the iconic trilogy is a huge undertaking – especially when the latest Lego Star Wars the game focused only on the force awakens – but developer Traveller’s Tales not only managed to condense a trilogy of trilogies into a compelling whole, but also evolved the increasingly dated formula of Lego video games.
In terms of content, it’s easily the biggest Lego game to date, with dozens of locations, hundreds of playable characters and vehicles, and thousands of puzzles to solve along the way. Yet despite the large amount of pure thing to go on, it also masterfully streamlines its huge volume of content for the target audience.
By jumping into Story Mode, the first episode of each trilogy can be played from scratch, with subsequent “movies” unlocked as you progress. The way you progress is expanded, however, with each film’s story divided between active mission levels and exploration of larger hub areas, with cut scenes threading the narrative with the typically tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. from the Lego series. Yet even with that well-rehearsed comedic twist, the prequels still struggle to deliver much excitement, with The Phantom Menace Strive to chain active game missions between walking from A to B for discussions on politics and taxation. Fortunately, this is offset by some of the best central areas, with places such as Theed or the water city of the Gungans impressing with ease, while a level dedicated solely to the iconic pod race is an easy favourite.
It’s not only the best-looking Lego set of all time, but it could also give more realistic titles a run for their money.
With an entire galaxy to explore, these core areas are scattered across many planets. These are some of the best hubs any Lego game has seen, each a massive location full of secrets to discover, other characters and vehicles to unlock, and mini-games such as races to chase. They’re also visually stunning, both in scale and detail, with Traveller’s Tales beautifully blending the blocky aesthetic of plastic bricks with beautifully crafted environmental detailing. It’s not only the best-looking Lego set of all time, but it could also give more realistic titles a run for their money.
Even the series’ simplistic combat is getting a much-needed overhaul, and while it’s still fully kid-friendly, it now offers a more complex twist for older kids. Enemies will now use a variety of ranged attacks and block melee attacks after a few hits, forcing you to change your approach. This makes missions and even free roam areas a little less repetitive than just hammering the attack button repeatedly. There’s even a welcome RPG element of character growth, with upgradable base stats and unique skills for each character class (Jedi, scavenger, droid, etc.) to upgrade.
However, despite the otherwise wonderful ambition, scale, and upgrades to its brick-based galaxy, The Lego Skywalker saga is still – 17 years after the first Lego Star Wars game – plagued by many of the same issues that have unfortunately become commonplace in the series.
Context keys provide a difference between functions between functions – for example, protocol droids such as C-3PO can use specific computer terminals or split in half to fit small vents, but both actions use the B button (on Xbox, version tested), which means that half the time you want to use a computer, you end up with a piecemeal robot. Switching between characters in Free Play mode – where levels can be replayed with any character, using their abilities to reach otherwise unobtainable collectibles – remains random, with the added wrinkle that sometimes a character “gets locks” and cannot be traded.
Other times entire modes seem to disappear – the Galaxy Free Play mode, allowing players to revisit core areas outside of story campaigns, only seemed to be randomly available for selection. Worse still, the game often fails to load, presenting players with nothing but a static starfield and forcing the game to be force closed and relaunched. On Xbox Series X in particular, it also doesn’t seem to support fast-resuming, with the game starting from scratch after being suspended – which, in turn, can lead to the aforementioned loading error.
Hopefully these issues can be fixed after release, but right now they are creating a series of issues ranging from weird but annoying to groundbreaking. The end result is that The Lego Skywalker saga is a spoiled masterpiece – on the one hand the best Lego game to date, but on the other, filled with glitches the series just can’t seem to escape.