Star Wars has become something of an undying constant in entertainment. Grossing nearly $70 billion over the past couple decades, the franchise has been featured in every medium of entertainment possible– including video games. The latest game to come from the series is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. It follows a storied history of Lego Star Wars games dating back to the PS2, and the formula has evolved a lot since then. The game aims to retell the stories of the original, prequel, and sequel trilogy Star Wars films while also shifting to more open-world focused gameplay elements. The change in the gameplay formula ultimately feels more like a confused step towards a gaming trend than a genuine improvement. Part of this could be the inevitable comparisons to the old Lego Star Wars games, but there are certain aspects of the game that don’t quite hit the mark regardless.
If you came to a Lego game expecting a new and exciting story to be told, you’ve come to the wrong place. The draw of the game is essentially that it’s retelling the story of the movies through the lens of Lego. This lens adds puzzles, fetch quests, and a large open world hub area to the classic level-based Lego formula. Each of the nine Star Wars movies has five levels assigned to it, and you’ll select one to play through when you start the game. Each level has collectibles and secret challenges. The hub area has more of the same, and it generally works. Puzzles usually involve using specific characters with special abilities to unlock secret areas and platforming challenges, although the difficulty seems to have gone down when compared to past Lego games. The levels are pretty short, and your time spent in the open world may vary, so the game might go by in a few short hours.
That open world, by the way, is comprised of various iconic Star Wars planets, with some areas for ship combat, and it feels fun to explore and play in, even if each planet feels a bit limiting. If you’re a fan of recent Lego games, you’ll enjoy this. It’s a very simple style that has worked well before, although not always. In The Skywalker Saga, it feels like a grab bag of gameplay that’s trying to be a triple-A game while also catering to nostalgia of older Lego Star Wars titles. It’s a perfectly functional and fun game, but it has minor issues here and there that start to build up the longer the game goes on.
It’s these minor flaws that really end up breaking the experience. I wouldn’t normally complain about a game being short; crafting a shorter game can help avoid tedium. However, Skywalker Saga’s levels are sometimes over in the blink of an eye, and I’m left thinking ‘wait, that was it?’
Compounding this problem are the boss fights. The game can be really heavy-handed with its bosses, sequencing them back-to-back with naught but the hub between levels to pace things.. This ends up making the shortness of the levels even more pronounced, and it creates the feeling that you’re being rushed through the story. The only other major thing that hurts the game is its quest log and open world puzzles. The puzzles and exploration are fine in and of themselves– after all, this is what Lego has been doing for 17 years. The problem is that the game feels the need to have a dossier that tracks your progress on every single puzzle and side quest right from the get-go. It ends up feeling intimidating, needlessly complicated, and inorganic where other Lego games such as Lego: The Lord of the Rings managed the open world just fine by letting the player discover things for themselves. Other minor complaints would include the camera being too close to the player character, the introduction of complex combat mechanics and straight up over-the-shoulder shooting, and the way your character’s movement speed is just a little too fast for comfort. These things are mostly nitpicks however, and younger gamers who just want to play a fun Lego Star Wars game won’t notice or care.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga generally comes across as a confused mess of ideas that don’t gel perfectly together. The younger audience might not care, but when my quest log looks more like a Microsoft Excel checklist, I start to get taken out of the experience. The game runs well and is genuinely fun to play, but it’s trying too hard to be included in the cool kids club alongside other triple-A open-world releases. Other Lego games have more of an identity of their own and are easier for younger audiences to grasp.
Violence: While the characters are Lego and are overall quite cartoonish, the moment-to-moment gameplay still has you shooting at enemies and swinging a lightsaber around. As in the movies, there are some instances were characters have their limbs cut off, but since it’s all Lego pieces it’s not very graphic.
Sex/nudity: Some characters are seen in sexualized outfits, such as princess Lea when captured by Jabba the Hutt.
Magic/Occult: As most probably know, The Jedi religion plays a big role in the Star Wars universe and while this game doesn’t go into much detail, it is very central to the story.
Miscellaneous: Some scenes in which even the good characters lie, steal things, etc. to achieve a desired outcome