Long gone are the days when I was a young-un, where my LEGO collection consisted simply of bricks. There were a few different sizes and colours in there I grant you, but variety was certainly limited. Nowadays almost anything and everything can be recreated in LEGO form (and has been), as it’s grown into a colossal brand spanning several different sectors.
Even the video game series has been around for a good few years, carving a niche with its humorous interpretations of the huge, blockbuster stories we all know and love. Star Wars has been given the LEGO treatment several times already, however LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga promises to be the most comprehensive experience yet.
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited along for a more in-depth look at the upcoming game, due to launch on April 5th 2022, and there was plenty to pore over in the near 45 minutes of gameplay which was revealed.
Firstly, as you may have cottoned on to, all nine major films are included in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. This means that The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker are playable for the very first time. In a cool touch, which reinforces the element of control offered to the player to craft their experience, you can begin your adventure by starting any trilogy you like. This is great news because I’m sure we all have our favourites, don’t we?
Footage was shared from an episode in each trilogy, kicking off with A New Hope. Across the three, the varied gameplay of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was shown off. With the camera positioned just behind your character, you were free to engage in blaster battles, hand to hand combat, lightsaber duels and aerial dogfights in outer space. It felt as if the player was closer to the action than ever before.
In one of many faithful touches to the franchise, the beginning of A New Hope paid tribute to the end of the truly excellent Rogue One, where Darth Vader comes bum-clenchingly close to recovering the Death Star plans. It captured the mood of the film perfectly, and sucked you right into the action.
In terms of gameplay, the player has more freedom than ever in how they want to explore the Star Wars universe. There are side quests, planets to explore, hundreds of characters and vehicles to unlock as well as Kyber Bricks to collect which allow you to upgrade characters from a variety of classes, unlocking tailored new abilities in the process. These can be found in all sorts of places and there are hundreds to collect. You can access all of your unlocks and missions via your holoprojector, which acts as a handy information hub.
Even within the levels themselves, you can choose between different paths to proceed. This is often a choice between sneaking past enemies and taking the more direct approach. You can also bring a friend along for the adventure if you like.
The way you shoot and spar with your lightsabers has been updated too, giving you greater control of how you approach battles thanks to new aim mechanics, as well as offering you the ability to dive into cover to assess the situation. Your enemies will also react depending on where you shoot them, for example hitting a stormtrooper in the leg will see him hop around on the opposite one. You can also string together impressive melee combos, each reflecting the style of the character you are playing as. This is represented by a new combo metre on your screen, which will reward you with extra studs.
It’s not just about attacking however, dodging and blocking are also key. This was demonstrated in the thrilling boss battle against Count Dooku in Revenge of the Sith. Quick reactions and a varied combat approach are important, along with studying your opponent’s attack routines as marked out by their red attack area.
Each episode has an adorable animated diorama in the main menu, which is well worth stopping for a short while to admire. There are so many small details such as this that show just how much care and attention has gone into the development of this game, and that the franchise is in very safe hands.
This is indicative of everything I saw during the presentation. The LEGO games are utterly faithful to the source material, despite adding their sprinkle of comic mastery to proceedings. The voice acting is great (including some of the original cast), the soundtrack sounds just as epic as ever and the game is looking absolutely brilliant. We even saw Echo Base on Hoth reimagined as a full on rave, complete with a disco remix of the original tune. This is only the tip of the customisable iceberg.
I could ramble on and on about the sheer volume of content in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, but I will save that for the full review of the game on Xbox Series X|S. However, be safe in the knowledge that it’s on course to deliver its promise of being the biggest LEGO game yet. It looks huge. With not long left to go, fans of Star Wars and LEGO alike should be very excited for this one.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga releases on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5 and PC come April 5th 2022. If you wish to pre-order the game, the usual digital stores will sort you out. The Xbox Store is the place to be if you’re an Xbox gamer.
Huge thanks go out to Warner Bros for giving us a sneak peak as to what the game contains.