LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – Early impressions

You know a game’s big when the amount of time you’d usually spend playing through any other title instead only chips away at a small portion of another, and LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is one of those massive experiences.

As you may have guessed by the name or seen in the pre-release marketing, the latest in the lauded LEGO Star Wars games tackles all nine of the mainline movies offering up nine films of content for players to experience.

More than that players can choose which trilogy to play first, starting with the initial movie in that trio and then unlocking the other two as they go.

We decided to do things by in-universe chronological order, so we booted up the first of the prequel trilogy in Episode I and this is our first impressions as we play through the rest.

As soon as you boot up the first playable section of this game you will immediately be stunned by the sheer breadth of this world. Each individual level is absolutely massive, packed with details and fully rendered to recreate what we saw in the movies.

Though we’ve only experienced a portion of it so far, this may be biggest and most detailed Star Wars game ever and that should make fans of the franchise sit up and take notice, even if they’re not necessarily fans of LEGO or the LEGO games.

It does look, feel and sound like every portion of this game was hand crafted by genuine fans of the two licences here.

Unfortunately this immense scope is also the first big problem with the game. Firstly not everything is made out of LEGO. Continuing the trend of many games from TT Games / Traveller’s Tales, The Skywalker Saga is a very odd mix of the world, its characters and vehicles being a combination of being brick built from LEGO pieces that exist, and regular 3D models.

This creates a very jarring mix in terms of visuals and a real disconnect from the art direction of the game. This is how it’s been for the longest time but LEGO Worlds in 2017 proved that a 100 percent LEGO environment could be done and done well, so we’re not sure why this approach is still taken in 2022.

The size also means massive distances between mission points. Some could say this is an intentional design decision to force players to explore the world and complete puzzles, but it also adds a lot of tedium where you’re simply running between points, made even worse when you revisit locations and the fact that the spring ability needs to be unlocked and upgraded to move at any reasonable pace.

Those puzzles form a large amount of the gameplay here and can be quite varied, something we’ll discuss more in other articles but if you’ve played past LEGO games they will be familiar.

A big marketing push for The Skywalker Saga has been other gameplay changes such as improved combat. While you can chain together melee attacks and the space battles have some fun optional content, we’re not sold yet as most encounters are still rather mindless to get through. As Episode I isn’t the most action-heavy Star Wars title, we’ll reserve judgement for now.

With exploration, unlocks and combat the three pillars of any LEGO game, the last is story. Many are still annoyed that the LEGO Star Wars games abandoned grunts in place of actual spoken dialogue, things can still be funny here with many moments and movie lines twisted and recontextualized as jokes and other moments.

The story is, well, the story of Star Wars and we’re looking forward to seeing how more of it is adapted to the LEGO game formula this time around.

The last point worth mentioning is the performance. We have a review code for the Nintendo Switch and it really hasn’t been a smooth experience so far. We have official word that the target FPS is 30 and it’s been well below that for much of our playthrough.

That being said we have been playing on a version of the software without the day one patch (version 1.01 instead of the new version 1.02) so again we will not ding it too bad right now.

The Skywalker Saga is shaking up to be one of those games that a certain type of game will buy and then slowly chip away at over the course of a year. For younger players that time may even be required and there’s surely enough to satisfy even the most jaded of Star Wars fans.

We’ll need to experience more before we can say if the annoyances seen so far can taint that.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga launches on 5th April for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.


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