Remember when you were a child and were exposed to the wonder of Star Wars? Remember when you re-experienced it through a new lens via the tongue in cheek Lego games? Both are truly magical experiences and held dearly by fans but TT Games don’t want to play it safe with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.
Despite having a perfectly set formula that triggers nostalgia for fans, the Lego veterans have largely reworked gameplay, visuals, and much more. For starters, let’s get something out of the way. The Skywalker Saga is not a collection of remakes/remasters, all 9 of these games have been entirely built from scratch including The Force Awakens.
That means no matter if you’re new to this series or a longtime fan, you’ll be playing a new game. The team at TT Games kept describing it to me as a whole new game and even described it as a new era for Lego games.
The reason for that is there’s a whole bunch of new systems and technology in play in The Skywalker Saga. The gameplay is leagues deeper than it has ever been in this series. Combat has been entirely redone with combos and over the shoulder aiming for guns.
Lightsaber combat seems far more fluid and deeper, it’s not just *smack, smack, shatter into pieces*. It’s more authentic to the true Jedi experience and feels less rudimentary. If you’re playing as someone like Han Solo or Lando, you can properly aim now instead of just locking on to the entire enemy and firing. You have a reticle and can freely aim at the head, legs, arms, body, and so on with key body parts being more critical than others.
Each enemy also has a health bar above their heads and damage numbers come off of them as you hit them. If you’re feeling creative, you can even fight enemies by using the force to grab and throw objects in the environment. The force was previously used in very scripted animations where you couldn’t move objects at will but now you can pick up objects and even characters and throw them wherever you want.
While you can play through all 9 stories in any order and play through just the narratives, there’s a rich amount of additional content. You can freely travel to different planets through space, almost like a No Man’s Sky situation with the exception of there being a loading screen when you hit the atmosphere of a planet and it auto-lands for you.
As soon as we entered the demo, we saw the Falcon flying towards Tattooine. It was pretty quiet but then a Star Destroyer came out of lightspeed right in front of the Falcon and TIE-Fighters began swarming around the iconic ship. A dynamic space battle ensued and then we landed on the sand planet and were given a small tour of part of the planet.
We saw the inside of Luke’s childhood home, the Sarlacc pit, the outside of Jabba’s Palace, and interacted with a Gonk droid who held a side mission. All these planets have extra content to see and do, vehicles to jump in and pilot, enemies to fight, and so much more.
We even saw the person playing the demo use the force to throw something into a makeshift soccer goal which then awarded him with a brick and a fun little celebration.
On these planets, you can continue the main narrative if it takes place there or find side missions. It’s unclear how deep these side missions get but given how many planets they showed to us on just the Return of the Jedi part of the game (close to a dozen, if not more), there has to be quite a bit of side content.
On a visual level, Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is incredibly impressive. It’s beautifully lit, there’s a lot of detail such as sand collecting on characters and objects, sand being blown as a speeder flies around, and much more. Perhaps the most exciting visual change for me is that the camera is entirely 360 degrees at all times. No more fixed camera angles! You are always in control and it’s placed at a very healthy distance and angle when in its default position.
Truthfully, I haven’t played or even been excited for a Lego game in a decade or so. They all felt too similar gameplay wise and lacked the engagement I desired to keep me playing for long periods of time. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga changed that, it looks like an incredibly fun game with much more than surface level gameplay.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will release sometime in 2020 and will include every single movie including this December’s Rise of Skywalker.