Gaming Age was privileged enough to be invited by WB Games and TT Games to get a preview of their upcoming LEGO Star Wars title which covers all 9 films of the Skywalker Saga. As someone who?s been a lifelong LEGO fan and a pretty substantial Star Wars Fan (I?m not gonna read the books?even if it?s read to me), the LEGO Star Wars series was always a whimsical way to relive those films that took place in a galaxy far far away. However after the LEGO formula was applied to other IPs and while the quality remained, my interest did not (I really didn?t need the LEGO Indiana Jones game?but that?s really just me). So why would I even be interested in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga? Well primarily enough time has passed where the nostalgia factor has kicked in (The first game came out in 2005?nearly 17 years ago) and this title offered to cover the last two movies in the sequel trilogy and it will feature content from the Disney+ content, mainly Din Djarin and his little green ward Grogu. Will the title show me that TT Games have some new tricks up their sleeves or will the title be just reliant on the formula that has carried the series for nearly 15+ years.
Right off the bat, the event starts off with a montage of various pivotal events from the ennealogy. The first thing I notice is the light from the lightsabers reflect off the minifigs and surfaces, reminding anyone looking that these are plastic figures and bricks. We are then greeted by Stephen Benedetti, Community Manager at TT Games who provided a rundown of the event as well as housekeeping. Michael Denny, Studio Head was up next to which he sang praises of his team and thanked his partners at Warner Brother Games and Lucasfilm. With the pleasantries completed the baton was handed over to Designer, Mike Consalvey who will be carrying the rest of the presentation on his back.
Our first glimpse of the game is the episode select screen, where players can cycle through the films and choose to start in any order, even the machete order that?s all the rage on the internet. Each film is represented by a very animated diorama depicting a key scene in said film. Mike opts to start the presentation by selecting Episode 4: A New Hope and we are brought to the Tantive IV as Lord Vader is boarding the ship. The cutscene plays out as it should with C3PO and R2D2 scrambling amongst panicking rebels. Of course it wouldn?t be a LEGO Star Wars game without it?s quirky humor as Captain Antilles receives the Death Star plans from a machine that previously vended him a coffee. The captain brings the plans to Leia and the action beings as you take control of the Alderaanian Princess. Unlike other LEGO games of the past, the camera is situated behind your character and zoomed in a lot tighter. Gone are 3 hearts for the life indicator, replaced with a life bar. Blaster carrying characters can use precise aim to target specific body parts and prolific shooters can maintain quite the combo count. Yes the game has a combo counter and rewards excellent play. The level also invokes scenes that weren?t in the film as Vader?s boarding of the ship draws inspiration from what we saw in the Rogue One film. Typical of a LEGO game, building is an essential part of advancing through the level and in this title there are even multiple paths one can take to complete the level. You can build a gun turret to blow open a door to take on the invading stormtroopers or build a firefighting machine to put out a fire to sneak through the ship undetected. The branching paths will lead players to complete stage missions with each stage containing 3 missions. So stages can be replayed several times to get the vaunted ?True Jedi? status.
The next section of the level has you controlling everyone?s favorite platonic droid couple C-3P0 and R2D2. Droids in this title were rehauled to give them a more fleshed out experience. Humanoid characters will not engage droids unless provoked, playing with droids can almost feel like a stealth experience. The tandem will need to work with each other to escape the clutches of the Imperial forces. Much like more recent LEGO titles this one also features voice acting and audio clips from the films.
Upon landing on Tatooine, we are given a glimpse of the upgrade menu as well as a look at the 9 character classes that the over 300 characters are a part of. The classes include Jedi, Hero, Scavenger, Scoundrel, Bounty Hunter, Villain, Dark Side, Astromech Droid and Protocol droid, each with distinct actions and upgrades. There will be plenty of things to buy with the studs and Kyber Bricks you?ll pick up along your journey. We?re then introduced to the scruffy nerf herder and the open world settlement of the Lars Homestead. Players can then explore the settlement to do side missions and earn Kyber Bricks and studs or directly proceed to the next story mission. As you explore the desert planet, you?ll noticed that sand gets everywhere, including your character model and brick structures that are outside, as the game has a weathering system that adds a lot of realism to the title.
After completing a couple of side missions, the demo moves to General Grievous? capital ship that appeared in Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. Anakin and Obi Wan rush to rescue Chancellor Palpatine and we get a deeper dive on lightsaber gameplay. In addition to bisecting things real good, you can also use the saber as a means of traversal allowing you to climb certain walls. Drop in Drop out Multiplayer is shown as a second player takes control of Obi Wan. When a second player is present the game goes into a vertical split screen due to the closer camera angle of this title. Eventually the Master and Student pair confront Count Dooku and the Boss fight mechanic is shown.
Like the player, Dooku has a lifebar rather than a heart count, he also has shield indicators indicating how many times his life bar must be drained before he is defeated. The fallen Jedi?s array of attacks range from a charging strike, to a jumping down thrust which causes AOE damage, with an indicator of how wide the area is. If you watched the film, you?ll know Dooku is defeated and that story beat doesn?t change here, except after you?ve secured the Chancellor?s safety you can explore the shiny streets of Coruscant. We?ve seen blaster gameplay, lightsaber duels, the next part of the demo will take us into unknown territory?into space dogfighting.
To better showcase this aspect, we switch over to Episode 8: The Last Jedi. We see the groan worthy exchange (that?s in the original film and not something TT Games made up) between Poe Dameron and General Hux. Once in control, you?ll get to recreate Poe?s Folly which ultimately costs the life of Paige Tico and countless others. The dog fighting appears to be extremely competent, you have full control of the X-Wing and this is where I have some concerns. The first being is this a little too much for younger players? Kids pick up things pretty fast, but are they capable of handling free flight without getting frustrated. The second is how will multiplayer work? Will one player control the flight path and the other weapons targeting? I?m sure TT Games has a solution for both, it?s just something that wasn?t addressed in this condensed presentation.
The presentation winds down by showcasing traversing the local space of the planets via the various starships you collect and while space is vast, it is not empty as you will be able to find activities to do and collectables to find. It?s a nice little touch that not all those you encounter in your travels will not speak ?basic? and you?ll need to use protocol droids to translate. Finally we?re shown some modifiers that can be found and activated to change your gameplay experience. I did spy a porg companion which I would assume that an adorable bird from the sequel trilogy will tag along on your adventures, however Mike opted to activate Galaxy Rave, which adds dance music, lighting and makes all NPCs bust a move, it?ll be interesting to see what other extras TT Games has packed.
All and all I am generally impressed at the progress and innovation this title has shown compared to this title. It?ll certainly give this lapsed fan like me good reason at checking out this title when it releases 4/5 (which might be an unintentional inversion of 5/4 as in the day that marketing has shoehorned it as ?May the fourth?). LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be available on PC, Switch, PlayStation and Xbox platforms.