Platforms: PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Price: $50 (PC) $60 (Console), $70 (Deluxe Edition)
Release date: April 5 2022
Lego recently invested $1 billion in the Epic Games store, and it has to do with an upcoming metaverse plan.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the largest Lego Star Wars video game to date, covering the nine main Star Wars movies that form the titular “Skywalker Saga.”
But size alone isn’t enough to make a game worthy of your time, so does the much-delayed Skywalker Saga offer enough to both satisfy die-hard fans and attract new ones? Well, yes and no. While the developers have added plenty of new features to the mix, the general formula is still the same as ever and it doesn’t really change what it means to be a Lego video game. Equally, there’s enough here to make it a worthy addition to the series.
In this Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review, we’ll take a look at how the game manages to keep things fresh and interesting, while also keeping all the things existing fans know and expect from the franchise.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Price and availability
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga launches on April 5, and will be available to play on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. A Deluxe edition of the game will also be available on all platforms, complete with a special minifigure of Luke Skywalker drinking blue milk and seven DLC character packs.
Those DLC packs can also be purchased separately, with Mandalorian Season 1, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Classic character packs also arriving on April 5. The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pack arrives on April 19, while the Trooper, Mandalorian Season 2 and Bad Batch packs will arrive on May 4.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Story and setting
As the name suggests, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga covers the nine Star Wars movies that form the “Skywalker Saga.” That means you get Episodes 1 through 9, collected as the original, prequel and sequel trilogies. This also means it excludes spin-off movies and TV shows such as Clone Wars and Rogue One.
However, with so many instalments to get through, the game only includes very abridged versions of all nine movies. This isn’t necessarily a problem, though, as it still covers all the basics, and can easily be followed if you’re familiar with the movies.
Players do get to choose which trilogy they start off with, meaning you don’t have to play through Episodes 1-6 before you get to Episode 7. But you do have to play each trilogy in order, and can’t jump into, say, Empire Strikes Back without playing A New Hope first.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Gameplay
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’s gameplay will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a Lego game before. The core principle certainly hasn’t changed, with players blasting through levels made of Lego bricks with a rotating cast of characters — each of whom has different skills and abilities.
However, the perspective has changed, with The Skywalker Saga putting you behind each character rather than the camera tracking you from above. That means you’re closer to the action, for better immersion and generally easier gameplay.
This improved perspective also means you can take better advantage of the improved aiming and cover mechanics. Both features have appeared in past games, but they have been completely overhauled here, and for the better. Aiming is now significantly easier to employ, using the left trigger, and it’s possible to take cover behind obstacles simply by running up to it.
The Skywalker Saga also includes a faster running ability, similar to that found in games like Lego Marvel Superheroes 2, which makes getting around much easier. But the new features don’t end there — in fact, far from it.
The biggest change to Lego Star Wars’ gameplay is that it’s added RPG-like elements to the usual Lego Star Wars experience. For instance, players can collect Kyber Bricks, which can be used to unlock new abilities including “core” skills, like health and movement speed, plus skills specific to one of nine character classes. One great example of these new skills is that force-wielding characters can now use Jedi mind tricks to possess enemies for a limited time.
Character class also affects how NPCs interact with you. Play as a Droid, for instance, and enemies will generally ignore you — or offer some patronising comments about how cute and harmless you look. They’ll also leave you alone if you play or dress like a Stormtrooper, but in both instances this relies on you being discreet and not attacking anyone.
Attacking has also had an overhaul, meaning you can’t just spam the attack button to kill all your enemies. Instead adversaries will be able to block and counter your moves, meaning you have to do the same. However, stringing together various attack combos lets you dish out more damage, making those battles easier to get through.
The only negative change is that your health meter has moved. Rather than living in the top-left corner of the screen, it’s now a red bar that will occasionally show up on your character’s torso. It took me a while to figure out where it was, and it’s one change the game really could have done without.
As ever, you start by playing games in Story Mode, which limits you to the correct plot-specific characters, after which you unlock the character-agnostic Free Play to hunt down collectibles. Open World areas from past games have also been considerably expanded, with the Skywalker Saga letting you freely explore in-movie locations on the ground and in space.
Space sections have supposedly had an overhaul, but personally I didn’t experience a huge difference from The Force Awakens. So those sections are still as awkward and fiddly as ever.
Of course, despite all these changes, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is still a distinctly Lego videogame. But while it isn’t likely to convert any non-fans, the new and improved gameplay features do help keep things fresh and interesting. There are plenty of games out there that pump out what feels like the same game year after year, and fortunately the Skywalker Saga does not fall into that trap.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Sound and visuals
Being a Lego game, Lego bricks and sets appear very heavily in Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Obviously, Lego bricks have been a key part of all Lego games, going back long before the Lego Star Wars games existed. However, the change in camera perspective, putting your view closer to the action, means you can get a much better view of just how much Lego is in this game.
The main thing to note about The Skywalker Saga’s visuals are that the game is completely up to date with physical Lego you can find on store shelves right now. That includes things like Princess Leia’s skirt, Han Solo’s stylish new mane, and the ever-controversial Stormtrooper helmets that have so much chin it would put Thanos to shame.
This also means we get some of the most up-to-date Lego sets in the game, including the $800 Ultimate Collectors Series Millennium Falcon. Eager-eyed fans will notice that this 2.7-foot-long monstrosity forms the basis for one of the game’s levels.
Like many Lego games that came before it, including the adaptation of The Force Awakens, The Skywalker Saga has a full voice cast. That wasn’t the case last time the prequel and original trilogies got the Lego treatment, so the developers added a special “Mumble Mode” for the nostalgic flair. However, while clearly added with good intentions, this lacks the visual gags that made previous Lego Star Wars games so special, so it ultimately feels a little pointless.
This is not to say that The Skywalker Saga is without the humor that makes Lego video games so endearing. You’ll find that the first level alone is littered with gags and easter eggs, and that’s just one of 45 levels to play through. Believe me, there’s no shortage of laughs to be had, though some do land a little better than others.
Beyond upgraded designs and the inclusion of Mumble Mode, very little has changed where The Skywalker Saga’s designs are concerned. For instance, the game’s many sound effects don’t appear to have changed much, if at all, over the past 17 years. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you, since it’s all pretty recognizable to long-time Lego gamers.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga review: Verdict
Despite its many new features and upgrades, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga doesn’t actually deviate significantly from the standard Lego video game format. Indeed, the core gameplay is the same as it has been since the launch of the original Lego Star Wars back in 2005.
In itself, this is not a bad thing; there’s something commendable about a game that focuses on showing the players a good time above all else. And while Lego Star Wars may not be particularly challenging, but it very much is still fun to play, even if some levels are still more frustratingly tedious than others.
If you’ve never been a fan of Lego video games, then The Skywalker Saga won’t change your mind. But for anyone who loves the franchise’s brick-based sci-fi fun, The Skywalker Saga is different enough to offer a new and interesting experience within an increasingly familiar setting.