It seems like it's been a long time ago in a galaxy far away since the last LEGO Star Wars game was released. Given the multiple delays we saw with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, it felt like we might not see another one again. However, TT Games has finally come through and released the most impressive game in the series to date.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga features scenes, characters, and vehicles from the full breadth of the Star Wars film series (and TV shows), though the focus is, of course, on the three trilogies that make up the story of the Skywalker family. The most significant difference between this title and the previous LEGO Star Wars games is that this one is much more freeform.
You can start your playthrough at Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode IV: A New Hope, or Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This was an excellent decision from the get-go because it never feels like you're slogging through the content you'd rather not play to get to your favorite part in the series. You can bounce between them as well. So, if The Last Jedi is giving you the blues (for a second time), you can jump into Qui-Gon Jinn's boots and dice up some droids on Naboo.
Of course, given the enormity of the Skywalker Saga, not every scene is replicated here, but it does do a great job of hitting the highlights with a LEGO twist. So, in The Phantom Menace, for example, you'll escape the Trade Federation control ship, drop to Naboo and meet Jar-Jar, visit the Gungan city, and head over to Theed and rescue Queen Amidala, all within around an hour. Unfortunately, this exposes the game's primary weakness: it's a bit short.
Many scenes are abridged, sometimes to the degree that it's disappointing. The main plotline is very rapid-fire and contains no filler. You can straight line through all nine movies in less time than it takes to sit down and watch them. In fact, the meat of the game is in the side content, which is almost entirely independent from the main story.
Almost every location you discover in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is re-visitable. There are 24 planets spread throughout the in-game galaxy, and each of them has 1-3 open-world locations to visit. You can also fly one of over 60 spaceships in the orbital zones surrounding each planet. Filling these areas are side missions and a gigantic amount of collectibles. There's so much stuff to collect in this game that it's a bit overwhelming. There are 380 characters (including the DLC), 225 minikits, 140 side missions, 731 puzzles, 135 level challenges, 38 trials, and 10 challenges. That's an enormous amount of content, but not all of it is incredibly satisfying.
There's so much to do here that an average person will get bogged down quickly. I recommend exploring and doing whatever looks fun. However, you absolutely have to get the stud multiplier upgrade before you spend any studs. There's an upgrade tree in this game, and the only ones that really matter are the stud multipliers. Unlocking many collectibles like characters for use costs studs even after you find them. So, getting those multipliers cuts the work you have to do significantly.
Aside from the above, the upgrade tree also holds upgrades for each character type that cost Kyber Bricks. You can obtain Kyber Bricks from a host of activities, but most of the time, you'll just stumble upon them as a reward from a side mission, challenge, puzzle, or just sitting out in the world.
I loved my time with this game, but what about bringing a friend in? Co-op is one thing the LEGO games are known for, and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has it as well. However, its implementation isn't ideal. Unlike many titles these days, this game has local co-op. However, that's all it has. There's no online multiplayer. How you could develop a game with co-op during the Covid-19 pandemic and not include a way to enjoy the game remotely is beyond me.
Unfortunately, the implementation of multiplayer is less than ideal. It splits the screen into two vertical halves, which can't be changed to a horizontal layout. This style of play was okay in older LEGO games, but with the worlds being more open, I really just want my own screen so I can split off and do my own thing from time to time.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is bigger and better than any LEGO game to come before it, and it's great to see the series embrace more complex gameplay while still remaining humorous and family-friendly. I'm still chipping away at unlocks, and this remains one of my favorite games when I want to just chill out.
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