The first thing that strikes me about Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga isn’t the blaster fire, but the stunning visual presentation of the game. Developer Traveller’s Tales’ latest dive into a galaxy far, far away covers much of the same cinematic ground as 2007’s Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, but this completely rebuilt, reimagined entry immediately looks leagues better than its predecessor.
My 90-minute hands-on preview begins at the beginning of Episode IV on Princess Leia’s diplomatic ship as she attempts to keep Darth Vader’s recently acquired Death Star plans away. In The Complete Saga, the Corellian corvette consists mostly of boring corridors and rooms painted in shades of white and gray. Fifteen years later, the same environment emerges from the screen with vivid colors, authentic details and more sophisticated visual effects than you can wield a lightsaber.
Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga
As I trade turns with Stormtroopers, sparks and steam emanate from damaged electrical equipment, computer terminals glow and blink in a rainbow-rivaling variety, and red, rotating cones of light from triggered alarms realistically reflect off the ship’s gleaming floors. Despite the many captivating details on display, the scene cannot be described as anything other than a room meticulously constructed from tiny toy bricks. Exposed rivets, visible seams where pieces connect, and the occasional glimpse of the iconic Lego logo regularly remind me that I’m just a lightsaber slash away from reducing my dark side enemies to a pile of plastic.
Given how far technology and game development tools have progressed since 2007, it’s no surprise that The Skywalker Saga dwarfs the presentation of its predecessor. What is unexpected, however, is that the studio hasn’t simply slapped a fresh coat of polygons on recycled content, but has completely reimagined how these familiar scenes play out. For example, in one of the chillier moments of the preview, Darth Vader’s boarding Leia’s ship – at the beginning of A New Hope – is cleverly reshuffled to include the more aggressive arrival of Rogue One’s Sith Lord.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga LEGO sets
More than just neat new cutscenes, many objectives and puzzles have been reworked or completely changed. A little deeper into my demo we find ourselves at the Mos Eisley Spaceport fending off Stormtroopers while Chewbacca prepares the Millennium Falcon for launch. In the original game, the same scene challenged players to eliminate a few waves of baddies before escaping in Han’s flying trash heap. In The Skywalker Saga you’ll still fend off swarms of stormtroopers, but in between you’ll also help Chewie repair the ship by solving puzzles. In the extended sequence, I used various characters’ strengths – including Obi-Wan’s Force abilities – to assemble the ship’s cockpit, attach its sensor dish, and mount its cannon.
When I’m not playing starship mechanics, I got a taste of the game’s revamped combat. In addition to a tighter over-the-shoulder camera perspective, the gunplay benefits from more depth and strategy. Stormtroopers come in a variety of damage-dealing – and damage-absorbing – flavors, from standard riflemen to snipers and heavyweights. You can also target enemies more precisely, aiming for their feet if you want to see them bouncing around in pain, or take off their helmets to reveal a more vulnerable target. A new, intuitive cover system that includes destructible barriers that can be rebuilt adds some extra nuance.
Lightsaber and melee have been similarly improved. Rather than spamming a single attack button, you must mix and match different inputs to unleash increasingly powerful combos. Rely on one chord for too long and enemies will block your attacks, forcing you to change strategy. The same goes for recycling lightsaber swings, although the ability to unleash the Force on unsuspecting enemies – usually by pelting them with massive environmental objects – adds even more variety. Taken together, these various changes to combat – whether you’re firing a blaster, wielding a lightsaber, or relying on your fists – make for more rewarding and challenging encounters. They also look fantastic, as chaining combos creates a range of slick, cinematic animations.
This revamped approach to bricking villains down also encourages a new approach to stud collecting. Achieving higher combos – tracked by a meter on the right side of the screen – results in more studs being added to your total. The Skywalker saga also introduces Kyber Stones, a new high-value collectible tied to the series’ “True Jedi” system. In previous entries, earning a certain number of studs per level earned you a coveted goldstone as well as true Jedi status. The system’s gauge is now divided into three sections – completing each section not only aids your true Jedi progression but also unlocks a Kyber Stone.
These items aren’t just another shiny collectible – they feed a brand new character development system. Kyber Stones are invested to unlock both core and class-based special abilities. The former benefit all characters, while the latter are specific to certain Star Wars archetypes, such as Villains, Bounty Hunters, Heroes, Jedi, and more. For example, once I successfully landed on Tatooine with the Death Star plans, I was able to unlock “Speedy Sprint,” which gives my stride a 10 percent boost. With another 15 Kybers, I could have leveled this ability up again and gotten a 30 percent increase.
By the time my demo came to an end, I had only amassed three more Kyber Bricks – one less than the amount required to unlock the Combat Slide rogue class. While I was giddy imagining that this ability could bring us down stormtroopers like bowling pins behind a flinging, “yahoo-ing” Han Solo, we’ll have to wait until The Skywalker Saga lands on April 5 to see if our sublime Collectively meets expectations.
Of course, if that doesn’t work, there seems to be a lot more work to be done in this content-rich offering. Not only does the game include all three film trilogies (including first-time Lego adaptations for The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker), but it also includes over 300 playable characters, dozens of controllable vehicles and spaceships, an expansive freeplay mode, and much more besides Features and surprises only hinted at during my demo. Add ambitious DLC plans on day one, including The Mandalorian Season 1 and Solo: A Star Wars Story packs, and, well, fans will digest this one longer than a Sarlacc enjoying its last supper.
https://www.ign.com/articles/lego-star-wars-skywalker-saga-final-preview Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga – The Final Preview