LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga released a month ago, and I’m just now getting around to writing a review of it – partly because I’ve spent so much time playing the game instead of writing!
It’s a fantastic game filled with tons of nostalgia for all Star Wars fans, but especially for those with fond memories of playing the original Lego Star Wars games. This game explores all nine films from the Skywalker Saga and it is fittingly massive. There are 45 story levels and plenty more moments from the films, 24 planets to explore in free play mode (well, technically 23, as one of them is virtually unexplorable), five capital ships to explore, and tons of additional missions and collectables – including nearly 400 characters. We’ve not seen anything on this scale from a Lego game before, and it will give you plenty to do.
The core of the game is, of course, playing through the nine films, but you’ll spend even more time on the free play if you’re one who wants to collect all of the characters, ships, kyber bricks, datacards, and more. For those who played the original Lego Star Wars game, the story mode might take a bit of getting used to. You can begin with any of the three trilogies and play your way through them, but this story involves both story levels (five per episode) and plenty of other story moments, cutscenes, and adventures that take place outside of those levels. That’s the part that might take some getting used to, and though it gives you the chance to play even more moments from the saga than you might otherwise, there are times where it feels more like a limitation (not to mention limiting re-playability). There are some moments where it feels like you’re just traveling between planets but don’t have much to do besides a cutscene or two before leaving. But don’t let that suggest that I didn’t enjoy it; the game truly allows you to re-play through the entire saga in a way even more complete than the original games, and it’s mixed in with the tremendous Lego humor we’ve grown accustomed to. The combat is fresh and exciting, the pacing of the story levels is fantastic, the graphics and cutscenes are stunning, and the storytelling is superb.
And then there’s the free play mode, which takes the game to another level with tons more to do. When you’ve finished the story levels, in many ways the journey of this game is only just beginning. And though some planets work better than others and some puzzles and challenges are more exciting than others, there’s enough variety that will keep it interesting. I must say too that one of the best parts of the game is simply exploring the planets; these iconic Star Wars locales are beautifully rendered in this game and are a thrill to play through.
There are a few DLC packs available for purchase, but it’s done the right way (unlike Battlefront 2’s launch fiasco) in that there is no content that you’re missing out on if you don’t purchase them, but there are additional characters to play with if you wish to buy them. There’s a Classic Characters pack (meaning the classic Lego style of some of the original trilogy heroes) and an Imperial Troopers pack, as well as packs for Rogue One, Solo, The Bad Batch, The Mandalorian season one, and The Mandalorian season two. It’s fun to play as these various characters, but with the game already featuring nearly 400 characters as it is they’re not essential. And for the most part they don’t really add much of anything that others can’t do. I will say, though, that The Mandalorian season two pack stands out as, in my opinion, far and away the best of the packs (and it’s not even close). Moff Gideon is a cool Imperial character, there are two bounty hunters in Fennec Shand and a new Boba Fett (and bounty hunters are very much a go-to for me in this game, for several reasons), and Bo-Katan is a fantastic hero character (replete with dual blasters and the only non-bounty hunter jetpack character). And as if that wasn’t enough, the best character from any of these packs – and one of my favorites in the whole game – is Ahsoka Tano. She’s obviously a fan favorite, but she’s the only character to wield two lightsabers, and her movements and fighting style are a joy to play with.
As with any game of this scale, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is not a perfect game. There are bugs that hopefully will get worked out, there are certain planets that aren’t as fun to explore, and certain challenges that get a bit tedious. But overall, this game is everything I hoped it would be. It’s a true joy to play.