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LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Review

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Review

It’s interesting to see how Star Wars, as both a cultural entity and a franchise, has shifted in the aftermath of Episode IX’s rather tepid reactions. Lambasted by both fans and critics alike, this conglomerate powerhouse of a name has now seen a relegation to the wayside, with smaller entries in comfortable positions, like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. These adult-oriented streaming entries certainly paint LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga in a different light, one brighter than if it were to co-exist a few years ago.

This is the latest entry in the LEGO series of games developed by Traveller’s Tales, finally here after its announcement at E3 2019, as well as several delays and crunch controversies. Detailing the nine mainline movies from Episodes I to IX, the game will see you reliving all of your favourite moments, with that LEGO game brand of humour in full swing. At the very least, it makes Episode IX more enjoyable, but that’s beside the point.

Before we get into it, however, I just want to highlight the crunch comment quickly. A large reason for The Skywalker Saga’s gruellingly long development time — which started in 2017 — is due to Traveller’s Tales' insistence on using their new in-house engine, NTT, instead of the previous games' use of Unreal Engine. Citing difficulties in regards to animation, this has truly been an adventure of trials and tribulations, a bittersweet labour of love that somehow manages to breathe some new life into one of the largest franchises in the world.


Despite what you may think, The Skywalker Saga isn’t the simple exercise in nostalgia you may expect from either Traveller’s Tales, or Star Wars itself. The game does well to try and reboot the core of what makes Star Wars such an engrossing name, while not leaning too hard on the previous entries in Traveller’s Tales’ vast, vast gaming library. A lot of this comes down to the new semi-open world status The Skywalker Saga has, and the free-roaming exploration between galaxies that disregards the timeline.

The replayability of levels and worlds is encouraged now more than ever, and this is all down to how refined the character classes have become. With a semi-open world comes NPCs, new collectibles, and new ways to interact with and explore many of the games' nooks and crannies. Looking for a certain item within the Mos Eisley area? Well, that dude over there may have an idea about what to do, but maybe you don’t understand them. Maybe you need a Protocol Droid to translate what they’re saying.

Between 380 characters covering the broad spectrum of the Star Wars universe, there are nine classes that’ll help you throughout your adventure. Whether it’s using Jedi mind tricks to bypass enemies, the Scavenger's ability to craft items that’ll help you traverse the environment with ease, or the Protocol Droid’s universal translator, there are several inspirations for rugged exploration. There are even certain instances where you can play as the Rancor from Episode VI if you’re so inclined to cause destruction.


It’s because of these new innovations that I’d personally recommend playing through Episodes VII, VIII, and IX first. The new trilogy does a lot to contextualise character classes and their abilities that previous episodes within The Skywalker Saga fail to do so. Due to the brand new nature of Episodes VIII and IX’s LEGO-ification, it feels like a lot of fresh effort went into the design of these levels specifically. That being said, these character classes don’t come without certain stipulations.

Each character class in The Skywalker Saga also has a skill tree that you can upgrade over time, with the use of Studs and Kyber Bricks, with the latter being the game's main collectible. A lot of these upgrades will be your standard incremental progressions of damage, build times, and health pools, but some may also help with certain class abilities. It definitely incentivises you to collect more Kyber Bricks down the line, but there’s a dominant strategy at play here, one that forgoes the more simplistic nature of the games themselves.

A lot of it gets lost in the language of information and navigation. There’s a certain upgrade you can purchase early on that helps with the location of other collectibles, but as soon as you do, the HUD becomes an utter mess of info. The screen is a stream of constant notifications, waypoints, objective markers, and blue haze as every Kyber Brick, Microkit and side-objective gets marked for the player.


This isn’t an option you can revert either, not even in the game’s rather pathetic offering of accessibility options. What used to be common courtesy has now become a supposed exception of gratitude for players, as inverted camera controls, subtitles, and motion blur are all plopped into the same category. There are options to reduce the size of certain objective markers, but these turn out to be the most important option in this visually noisy experience.

When it comes to navigation, The Skywalker Saga suffers from the same issue more recent LEGO games have when it comes to meshing real-world assets and textures with LEGO bricks. You’ll see a Kyber Brick or Microkit atop a pile of rocks, or on top of a LEGO platform sticking out of a cliff. It’s entirely possible that the path you see will be full of awkward double jumps on rocks that don’t actually have solid footing to stand on, and you question your own abilities to read the levels. It’s another double-edged issue that can either place praise on the player’s ability, or alienate how they view levels.

Going back to the gameplay proper, it’s not like the mission design calls for a lot of complexity like the classes would imply. While early levels in episodes will give tutorials for mechanics like Jedi mind tricks, the options to make it out of a level with those mind tricks, or even optional stealth, will never be the norm. A lot of the time, you’ll bluntly take what you can get, and you’ll occasionally switch between someone like Finn, or BB-8 for hidden-but-necessary routes to carry on.


There are times where this works fine, like in the occasional space battles, which are great! Leaning back and forth between linear arcade shooting, and free-flowing playgrounds full of TIE fighters to shoot down, The Skywalker Saga does a lot here to provide both a simplistic idea of the classic Star Wars space battles, and the complexity of the dogfighting which takes place in both the films and the games. There’s no need to put on the facade of barrel rolls, heat-seeking missile evasions, or otherwise, and Traveller’s Tales knows this.

At the very least, none of these overly complex elements were a deal-breaker. LEGO games were never really known for their standout level design or even what they offer in gameplay, but the simple fun that radiates from Traveller’s Tales’ temerity. The confidence they still have in the belief that their chosen IP will work well in LEGO format is still plain to see, and The Skywalker Saga is no exception from the fun. Whether it’s in gameplay or in the narrative, it has a tongue-in-cheek attitude the entire time, and it does work in the game’s benefit as much as it can.

Part of this is thanks to the inclusion of “Mumble Mode”, an option that completely removes any and all spoken dialogue, which is honestly a godsend. It’s not like the dialogue is bad, but it is re-written from the original movies and re-recorded with new VA’s. When put into the context of exploding LEGO bricks, it serves to put the game in a weird light. It’s best to turn Mumble Mode on as soon as possible, if not to save the player from juxtaposition, then to only help make the comedic angle of The Skywalker Saga that much better.


Seriously, this might be the funniest LEGO game released in quite a while. The visual comedy on display, the gags, the pratfalls, the non-stop pacing of it all… it’s fantastic. It’s rare for me to be constantly caught giggling while playing something targeted at a younger audience. At the very least, it speaks more about the storyboarding skills prevalent at Traveller’s Tales than it does my own potential immaturity — at least, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself, anyway.

With that said, is this a LEGO game you can jump into as a first-time player? Yes and no. While you can only start off playing Episodes I, IV, and VII first, encouraging a quick run-through of each episode at the very least, the sheer size of this collect-a-thon is alienating, at best. At worst, it speaks to the abrasion of later LEGO games like LEGO City Undercover and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2.


After a while, certain inclinations became obligations, and my personal obligations were broken by a soft-lock. During Episode IX, an objective involving Luke Skywalker would fail to activate properly, and instead despawn Luke and fail to continue. At the time of writing, I physically cannot complete The Skywalker Saga fully, and instead, I'm stuck to replaying another 60 hours if I even want to see the ending, let alone finding the rest of the Kyber Bricks and Microkits.

The Skywalker Saga is a tricky thing to consider, both in the grand scheme of LEGO games, and Traveller’s Tales oversaturation of the LEGO brand. This is a game that’s clearly meant for the fans, and whether that’s fans of LEGO games, or fans of Star Wars games, this is another title to sink your teeth into. Even then, however, you may be impeded by the gargantuan task on offer here, one which may see only its most die-hard fans through to the end.

7.00/10 7

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Reviewed on Xbox One S)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Traveller’s Tales return to the LEGO fray is a double-edged sword of good intentions, and the over-complication of its famous brand of gameplay. At its best, The Skywalker Saga sees itself touching greatness it hasn’t seen since the seventh generation of gaming.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review

Samiee "Gutterpunk" Tee

Staff Writer

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