Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga preview – A modern take on a beloved classic

. 3 months ago
Darth Vader in Lego Star Wars Skywalker Saga
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga gives fans the chance to retread and re-experience some of LEGO’s most iconic moments in the original games and from the movies, all while expanding the scope of what players can do in a fresh, modern way.

Since 2005, there have been a total of 6 LEGO Star Wars games – each chock full of their own characters to unlock, studs to find, and plenty of trademark slapstick humor.

With The Skywalker Saga, everything is kicked up a notch, giving die-hard fans the chance to experience iconic movie moments from the trilogies alongside a sprawling galaxy map and sandbox levels of freedom like never before.

At Dexerto, we had the opportunity to sit down and spend some time with the reimagined, opening chapters of Episode 4: A New Hope, and in short, we had an absolute blast (excuse the pun).

Leia in Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
The 9 classes each have their own unique abilities in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

“This is where the fun begins”

Right from the outset, it’s clear that the team at TT Games have put so much care and attention into making this the definitive way to experience these games.

In our gameplay preview, we found ourselves in familiar territory with the opening of Episode 4, both from the movie and original level, with Captain Antilles, Princess Leia, and her starship racing to deliver those secret, stolen plans.

What’s unfamiliar, though, is how much of this chapter plays out. The starship’s interior has been rebuilt from the ground up, completely in LEGO blocks, to lend a more authentic, plasticky feel. Both cutscenes and gameplay itself have been revamped, too, creating a more highly cinematic experience than the slightly rough around the edges look of LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

Immediately apparent is the lack of a fixed camera – you’re now able to pan around with complete freedom to explore an environment. This gives the game a vastly different, less claustrophobic atmosphere – something that irked and frustrated me in previous games, preventing me from feeling fully immersed.

The other clear change is the inclusion of voice acting. While voice acting has been a thing in LEGO games for a while now, I never really missed this in the earlier titles (they are supposed to be plastic Legos, after all). Their well-timed non-verbal retorts still were able to get a laugh out of me, but here, it turned out to be a welcome change that helped me to follow along with the narrative more closely.

What’s more, the performances were both simultaneously funny and sincere, and it never felt as if the writing ever overstepped that boundary of compromising the story in favor of the franchise’s staple humor.

Characters in lego star wars the skywalker saga
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Want to play as Old Ben Kenobi? You can unlock a variant of that for Obi-Wan.

Spoilt for choice

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga features over a whopping 300 characters to unlock and play as, from the Rancor (who causes NPCs to flee in fear as you approach them) to those with their own variations, like Old Ben Kenobi, and a total of 9 classes: Dark Side, Protocol Droid, Scavenger, Scoundrel, Bounty Hunter, Jedi, Hero, Villain, and Astromech – each of which has their own unique abilities and upgrades.

As Hero classes, Leia and Antilles come equipped with a blaster and grapple gun to make their way around the environment. With an updated, third-person shooter camera angle when aiming, you can use the said blaster to aim at specific parts of an enemy, giving you the chance to take a Stormtrooper’s helmet clean off with a well-placed shot, opening them up to some cool combos. When fighting an enemy, you’re able to string together your attacks by using your selection of skills to fill up your combo meter, rewarding you with multiplier stacks of studs.

As droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO have hacking abilities that can open doors or trigger specific events to affect gameplay. At one point, I hacked into a terminal to trigger an alarm with C-3PO (there was an option to trigger a turret, too, if that’s more your vibe), causing Stormtroopers to flee the scene and run a mile. Droids also have the handy advantage of being completely ignored by enemies unless you attack first, making them a great choice for those who want to take a stealthy approach.

characters completing a puzzle
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
You’ll need to use items found throughout the world to complete certain puzzles.

Puzzles are, as expected, a big focus – requiring you to manipulate the environment around you by using a character’s skills to progress, and while these can be completed alone, these will be equally as fun to do with friends.

As you collect studs to work towards earning that True Jedi status and earn Kyber Bricks (the equivalent of a Gold Brick from prior titles), you’ll be given the opportunity to spend them on upgrading your character with things like faster sprinting, extra health, being able to see highlighted collectibles out in the open world, and more.

A sprawling, free form sandbox

One of my personal favorite features in a game is the freedom to truly explore the world in any order that I see fit, as well as being able to tackle tasks with multiple approaches and outcomes. During my time in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, I’m thrilled to say that I had all of this and then some.

As you explore the game world, golden trails and markers will tell you exactly where you need to go to continue the story – but you’re never forced to do this until you want to. While some parts of the world may be blocked off until you can later return with a particular character’s ability, or if you’re in an instanced location (like Leia’s starship), for the most part, it feels as if you’re experiencing the Star Wars narrative while simultaneously existing in a sprawling sandbox world. What’s more, you’re also able to experience the Episodes in any order that you prefer.

Luke Skywalker grappling up a cliff in LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Tatooine has a lot of verticalities to explore.

You can even take slightly different routes, too. At one point, I was given two separate choices in which object I wanted to build – a laser turret, or a water cannon – which lead to slight changes in how the gameplay unfolded.

Even from the short amount of time we had with the game, upon reaching the escape pod (which doubles as a washing machine, complete with soapy Lego suds that spin C-3PO and R2D2 round and round in circles) to blast off down to Tatooine, from there, things were pretty open to us.

While exploring the arid landscape, I was shocked at just how much there was to see and do. Kyber Bricks can also be earned by completing challenges, or by picking up quests and rumors via chatting to NPCs. If you want to head off the beaten path, you can do that too, with Minkits tucked away in secret areas just waiting to be uncovered. I spent a good chunk of time here just walking around and exploring – I even found two speeder bikes set out with a race marker to battle it out with a friend in co-op mode. Fancy giving your legs a rest? You can hop on a mount to travel around the hub world, too.

There’s a lot of verticality in Tattooine, as you’re able to grapple up cliffs to reach new areas and vantage points or head down into secret, tucked-away caves.

As expected with a LEGO game, there’s a whole lot of replayability, and during my time in Luke’s homeworld, I spotted plenty of items that’ll keep me coming back to try and figure out how to access them with different characters.

The force is strong with this one

My time with LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga absolutely flew by, and I was brought right back to those familiar feelings of joy that I had playing these games as a kid. I haven’t played a LEGO game in quite a few years, but this near-final build I experienced was smooth sailing and bug-free.

I cannot wait to boot up the game when I just want to relax, explore, and take part in some epic Star Wars moments accompanied by the iconic sense of humor that these games have.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga releases on April 5, 2022.

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