LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga REVIEW - A New Hope

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It is hard to understate just how important the LEGO Star Wars games are to a whole generation of people. LEGO Star Wars, like Star Wars itself, has a certain pedigree that can be easily ruined. One bad move could leave a sour taste in the mouth of everyone that plays it.

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I, like many, owe many hours of enjoyment in my formative years to the LEGO Star Wars games. Grasping an absurd sense of humour and utilising drop-in/drop-out co-op, it's no wonder why it has the cultural significance that it does. Luckily, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga doesn't just live up to its namesake, it beats the cynic in me to produce one of the best LEGO games I have ever played.

Masterfully Built

The first thing you may notice when booting this game up is how different it feels. You get a traditional movie select screen, starting one of the 9 major films but everything else feels a little different.

I opted to go through it in the movies' release order 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, so, starting with 4, I had a feeling of what I was in for. I was wrong. The levels felt different. Characters like Princess Leia are played from an over the shoulder perspective - you feel a lot closer to the action.

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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
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This angle is complemented by a more complex combat system and a fully-fledged shooting mechanic. With the squeeze of a button, the camera comes even closer and your character takes out their blaster.

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At points, gun combat almost feels a little more similar to a LEGO Star Wars Battlefront. Enemies have defined health bars and some blaster fights become a war of attrition. No enemy has enough health for these fights to get boring but they have just enough to make you shake up your approach.

The combat now has a rudimentary combo system, utilising punches, air attacks and more. If you use too much of one attack, your enemies become accustomed to them, forcing you to put in a little extra thought when you see enemies.

This new angle allows character with force abilities to throw objects at their foes or use their lightsaber to hit at long distances. With a few more characters types and tonnes more moves, combat stays fun for longer.

A Huge Universe

Interesting combat is needed as LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a pretty huge game. Instead of using a central hub like in previous games, each chapter has defined areas that allow you to recuperate and plan your next move.

These areas are like mini open worlds, all with bricks to find and side quests you can pick up. These side quests flesh out the world, challenging you to fights, races and much more. You can, of course, entirely skip the secrets these areas hold but doing so will leave you missing out on some of the best parts of the experience.

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There's a certain charm in discovering what makes a puzzle work and knowing you will have to come back with the right mix of characters to figure it all out. This is an attitude that will make you play the game two or three times until you decide you're finally done with it.

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Although this is a very different beast to the games I played as a kid, they still manage to capture that wonder - the ability to lose yourself in the world of Star Wars.

A huge part of this is the updated visuals and sound design. Sounds are more fleshed out, whilst still taking a lot from the older games. The visuals are vibrant and bright but never distracting or annoying on-screen. There's a pretty gloss to everything that looks particularly good on a nice screen. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga doesn't get its good looks from how intricate textures are but how colours work in contrast to others.

What Makes It Tick?

This is something accentuated throughout all nine movies well. They all have very different aesthetics and travel to distinct parts of the Star Wars universe.

The Skywalker Saga isn't nearly as linear as this sounds either. You are granted a ship that can travel to any of the worlds throughout the game, to tick off new objectives or discover new secrets. Access to the ship gives you the ability to dogfight in space and travel to new locations, which is something that really adds to the world-building of the game.

This being said, some may take issue with the scope of the game. Every level has Minikits, Kyber Bricks and secrets to find. Kyber Bricks are an important part of progression, allowing you to buy upgrades in a faux RPG system. You can increase the range you pick up studs, get a faster sprint or generally do more damage.

You can then further personalise, upgrading specific character classes - making your bounty hunters collect more studs from enemies or making your scavengers climb faster.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
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As well as all of this, the games' extras are unlocked through a mix of studs and collectable Datacards. These can do things like give you a 10x stud bonus or have the Mos Eisley Cantina band song playing continuously until you turn it off. If you are a completionist who can't put down a game until you've got everything, you will be playing this until the next Star Wars movie.

Ultimately, almost every tab of the menu and corner of the game has something in it. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is almost monstrously big with over 700 puzzles, 140 side missions and so much more. One upgrade points out the general locations of all unlockables and turning that on in a new area will clutter your screen with little unlockables.

That all being said, hundreds of puzzles later, I'm still enjoying the grind. It has an approach to collectables that feels organic and holistic to the overall world. Little secrets mean something - they add to the experience whilst balancing the tone of it all incredibly well.

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Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
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That sense of humour is still there but with even more glee. It manages to balance over the top slapstick scenes with occasional subtlety to benefit both sides of that humour spectrum. It doesn't take itself seriously but allows a joke to breathe when it needs to. Even its less funny jokes amount to a small under the breath chuckle.

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The game is now entirely voice acted, something that does add to the comedy and tone of the game. This being said, you can entirely turn this off, opting for the mumble of the original games - which is a really nice touch. Ultimately, this is the perfect representation of my time with the game.

A lot of its systems mark a creative new path for the series but it pays its respects to those games I loved when I was younger. It is taking the mantle from the games that dominated my childhood and passing it on to the next generation - with a respect and admiration I can't help but see as endearing.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga - Verdict

The original LEGO Star Wars games feel like that old set of LEGO bricks you used to play with as a kid. It's a little dusty and worn now - the marks on its body representing what you used to adore about it but can't quite capture anymore. LEGO Star Wars: Skywalker Saga is what is promised in the ads. It's more in your face and imaginative but surely it couldn't be that good? It is.

RealSport Rating: 4.5 out of 5

We played LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga on Xbox Series X and Review Code was provided to us by the publisher.