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Finally, after many years of waiting, one of the most ambitious Star Wars games has finally arrived and I am not talking about Fallen Order 2. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga from Traveller’s Tales is the latest full collection of LEGO-fied Star Wars movies combined into one, interlocking brick package that is fun for all ages.
Taking you through the trilogy of trilogies, The Skywalker Saga puts you through the franchises most impactful moments from the movies in a truncated fashion. Each movie gets a chapter that takes about 90-minutes (or longer) to complete and is filled with a ton of things to do and areas to explore. Each chapter consists of two concepts: missions and hubs. Missions are straight forward and are based on several sections of each movie. You won’t get a full 6-hour experience as the past games delivered, but you get enough to understand the gist of what each movie is, making this the chain restaurant sampler of LEGO games.
Hubs are sandbox-like areas that promote exploration between the five or so missions. You can run around, interact with NPCs, and even veer off the path and witness some truly hilarious antics. Famous locations like Mos Eisley, Yavin IV, and even the Death Star have a bunch of hidden areas designed for revisiting when you unlock additional characters as well as free-play mode.
Each minifigure within The Skywalker Saga fits into a specific niche such as Jedi, Hero, or Bounty Hunter that each offer their own set of skills, mechanics, and ways of unlocking closed-off areas. Missions give you specific figures while free play enables you to pick and choose your favorite minifigures, allowing you to unlock those extra items that are hidden during your main playthrough. Younger players may not care about finding everything within each level, but if you are a completionist, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you.
A core skill tree offers upgrades and bonuses to your overall gameplay experience while more specific upgrades are designed for the various minifigure archetypes. You upgrade these nodes by collecting as many studs as possible within each mission. There are three tiers that each reward you with a kyber crystal brick when you collected enough studs or complete challenges. While being a very basic it does the job at making LEGO Star Wars incredibly easy to pick up and play and doesn’t require a ton of overthinking, perfect for all gamers.
Combat in The Skywalker Saga remains mostly unchanged since the first entry released 17 years ago. When playing as characters equipped with blasters, you can nudge against corners and barricades, adding a layer of tactical, cover-based combat. Jedi characters are equipped with lightsabers and force powers along with the ability to mind-control enemies for some fun and hilarious situations. In some areas, you can wear the outfits of your foes and gain additional abilities that assist you in your adventure.
It isn’t all ground fighting though, as there are many portions that rely on space combat and a bit of limited exploration. Some mechanical concepts from previous games make a return but in a different way. I remember how past titles gave you a birds-eye view of the Death Star’s trench run for a real aggravating experience. The Skywalker Saga puts you right in the pilot’s seat this time around, giving you a full range of flight controls that mixes on rails and freestyle flying that feels great! Land vehicles on the other hand need improving as they are loose, making me feel bad as I accidentally mow down NPCs with the Lars’ family land speeder.
When considering the rest of the presentation, The Skywalker Saga feels like an updated, shiner iteration of a traditional LEGO set. Surfaces feel sleek and smooth in areas like The Death Star while Tatooine features natural dirt, rock, and sand which seems odd when juxtaposed with the randomized LEGO brick formations. It doesn’t necessarily break the immersion; I couldn’t imagine forming everything out of LEGO bricks.
No matter the style, everything feels just right. Even the audio and voice acting are incredibly similar to the original actors behind the beloved characters. Blaster shots and lightsaber hums are accompanied along with the talented voice actors such as A.J. LoCascio and Carolyn Hennesy who play Han Solo and Princess Leia, respectively. Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Greg Grunberg and others reprise their roles within the franchise.
What I appreciate the most though is the comedy behind it all. While the movies can be bleak and dark, LEGO twists it, turning serious situations into moments of charming hilarity. In true Zucker and Abrahams fashion, Vader yells “cover me” and a bunch of Tie-Fighters all instantly cling to Vader’s ship. In Empire Strikes Back, there is a twist on the great “reaching for the saber” scene where instead of getting his saber, Luke is first pummeled with debris. Moments like this is what gives LEGO games their style that I really appreciate.
On the technical side of things, performance is hit or miss. On my PCs, the game runs well as it does on current gen consoles, but it seems rough in portable forms. The Switch version is as optimized as it could get with a lot of issues revolving around poor image quality. Do not even attempt to load this game on your Steam Deck, as performance takes the steepest hit there with frame rates dropping to as low as 7 fps in big open areas and 16 fps in some locations. Turning down the settings helps a bit, but the settings are not very vast, leading you to just hoping that the game gets an official update down the road.
Steam Deck first-world issues aside, The Skywalker Saga is an amazingly enjoyable experience that is fun for all ages. It is full of heart and appreciation for the material that would make Star Wars fans rejoice, even if each chapter isn’t filled to the brim with a litany of content. It might have taken Traveller’s Tales many years to release this one to the public, but what can you expect out of a 147,252,329,920 piece set?