If there’s one thing Star Wars fans agree on, it’s that each of the iconic movie trilogies that make up the modern franchise canon vastly differ in tone. From the CG-soaked prequel trilogy to the sandy, epic heights of the original films and the mishmash of the sequel trilogy, each has its own sense of personality – making the coherence of the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga a real miracle.
This new adaptation of Star Wars canon attempts the impossible: bringing together the disparate parts of the Star Wars narrative into one sleek, well-designed package. With unique combat, a vast array of puzzles and exploration opportunities, and one of the best-looking Lego worlds yet, it’s more than up to the task.
The setup here is simple: you’re presented with the option of playing through the story of each mainline Star Wars film at your own pace. If you’re looking for the whole story, you can start with The Phantom Menace and see exactly how those pesky Jedi came to be so elusive. Or you can start with A New Hope, or The Force Awakens – whatever takes your fancy.
No matter which episode you choose, you’ll be thrust headlong into a breakneck Stars Wars adventure that’ll toss you through all the major events of each film, combined with classic Lego gameplay along the way. Explore Coruscant! Smash some scenery! Use the force to conquer environmental puzzles! It’s all here, and just as delightful as ever – but also twice as satisfying, thanks to the game’s fast-paced storytelling and tweaks to the traditional Lego gameplay formula.
Lego Star Wars benefits greatly from voice acting
The major change for this adaptation, which follows in the footsteps of many similar Lego Star Wars games, is that voice acting is now present – making every narrative beat much sharper and more focused. The cast here is excellent, and features returning actors like James Arnold Taylor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars and Rebels TV shows, and Sam Witwer, who’s always great as Palpatine (and also Darth Maul).
While only a small difference, the voice acting does wonders for many of the game’s visual gags, which no longer rely solely on physical comedy to work. This addition is also aided by snappy dialogue and genuinely great humour, which plays on both popular culture and the modern interpretation of Star Wars canon.
It means the game isn’t always completely accurate to the Star Wars films – there’s an entire segment devoted to Obi-Wan Kenobi delivering food in Dex’s Diner in The Clone Wars – but it maintains a tongue-in-cheek approach to the franchise that remains amusing throughout each episode. The slapstick antics do threaten to derail the ‘seriousness’ of the action on occasion – but the tonal shift works perfectly in the context of Lego Star Wars. It’s all a little bit silly, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.
This is a loving homage to everything that makes the Star Wars franchise so iconic, and the game never forgets the importance of the three trilogies, even when Obi-Wan is being attacked by piranhas on the way to Gungan City, or Luke pops his head up from a blue milk snack.
A memorable space-faring adventure
The action of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga plays out at breakneck speed, with major story beats accompanied by a dash of slapstick at every turn. The relentless pace – a consequence of squeezing nine feature length films into the space of a single video game – does mean that some of the more emotional Star Wars moments don’t get the time they deserve, but as a comedic companion to the films, The Skywalker Saga is a real triumph.
It’s heartfelt, very sincere, and helps bring out the inherent humour in the franchise.
That’s not to mention how well it translates the action of Star Wars into a video game format. The combat, for example, is simply excellent, no matter which character you pick. As a Jedi, you have access to a range of traversal and fighting options. You can fling your lightsaber forward, use the force to crush nearby objects, or double-jump your way to high ledges using scenery to your advantage.
As any of the gun-wielding characters (Padmé, Leia, Han Solo) you can enter a third-person shooting mode that allows you to pinpoint enemies and fight them back with energy blasts. Other characters have hard-hitting melee attacks, while some have completely over-powered bursts that make them nearly invincible in battle. There’s brilliant range here, and it means there’s reason to check out every character, and not just pick one favourite.
Each serves a purpose, and will help you complete a number of the game’s complex environmental puzzles, which often require things like an alien language translator, a character with a grappling hook, or other unique abilities.
There’s plenty to work through in this adventure – although the vast scope does mean the game can feel much too big, particularly once you start to unlock the game’s vast library of 300+ characters.
Nobody is picking side characters like Yaddle or Max Rebo as their must-play unlockables (hopefully), but there’s so many worthwhile heroes to find, bricks to unlock, and puzzles to complete, that the game is equally impressive and impressively overwhelming.
It’s massive in scale, from its vast plains to its inter-connected planetary systems. Playing through the episodes one at a time keeps the action focussed, but in Free Play, each planet really opens up, providing a sandbox for players to while away hours in.
It speaks to the compelling worldbuilding of Lego Star Wars that Free Play is such a tantalising option. It exists beyond the scope of the story, but even for a non-completionist like me, the crumbs laid out in individual episodes were enough to tempt me to the ‘dark side’ of in-game collectibles – even when that meant devoting hours to wandering deserts and puzzling through each hidden clue in the game.
Even as somebody who’s bounced off Lego games in the past, I was enthralled by every narrative hook, every blue brick challenge, and every new story quirk. From individual character combat, to the game’s vast locales, and every puzzle that fascinated and challenged me along the way, I was drawn into the game’s funny and weird little stories.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an epic that certainly lives up to the Star Wars name. While its humour is occasionally a bit childish, effective writing and voice acting helps to keep the action fresh and snappy as this wacky interpretation of the Star Wars mythos plays out. Don’t take it too seriously, and it’s a real blast.
Four stars: ★★★★
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S,
Developer: TT Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: 5 April 2022