LEGO has been making popular toys that are constructed out of a variety of building bricks for over 80 years. When they decided to produce licensed sets based on the Star Wars universe in 1999, it was a marriage made in the stars. However, the minifigures of popular characters came to life in 2005 with the release of LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game. The first game featured the three episodes from the prequel trilogy, while the following year the original trilogy was playable in LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. In 2011, Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars was released and was based on the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. After the first film in the sequel trilogy was released, so was LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game in 2016. Now the highly anticipated LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will soon be released on April 4th.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga allows players to relive all nine episodes from all three trilogies in one game. Choose to start off with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode IV: A New Hope, or Episode VII: The Force Awakens. As you play through one of these three episodes, you can then unlock the other two episodes of that trilogy as you play. Each episode consists of five story missions for a total of 45 missions for the entire game. I had the opportunity to play through a little over an hour of the first part of Episode IV and was very impressed. I have played many different LEGO video games including several of the LEGO Star Wars games. The latest incarnation combines the popular aspects of the older games with some great new features.
Throughout the game, there are 23 different planets and moons which you can explore. Some will be part of the story missions. However, you can also complete quests and side missions. Talk to characters on these worlds to discover rumors of quests you can complete to earn extra rewards. I was only able to explore parts of Tatooine. However, there were lots of different areas on just this one planet. The entire game has 140 side missions you can complete. However, many will require you to unlock more characters with different abilities in order to reap their rewards.
Combat has been improved since the earlier games. When using a blaster or other ranged weapon, you can take aim which causes a reticule to appear on the screen so you can direct your shots. If the enemy gets in close, then attack them with different melee attacks. In fact, you can string them together to form combos for more damage. During combat, health bars appear on the heads of the characters so you know how much damage you have inflicted as well as the amount you have received.
During the story missions, you often have a choice on how to get past a challenge. For example, while on the Tantive IV, Princess Leia is confronted with two passageways. One has a damaged blast door with lots of stormtroopers behind it. The other option is a clear passageway blocked by flames. With some bricks obtained by pulling open a hatch, you can choose to either build a laser turret to blast through the door and clear out the enemies or a water cannon to put out the flames. This level alone has several areas where you can make a choice and avoid some obstacles or even flank stormtroopers by taking a side passageway. Then, when you replay the level with unlocked characters in free play, you can try the other choice.
As you play the game and collect studs and kyber bricks, you can purchase upgrades. The 300 characters in the game are divided into nine classes, and each class has its own types of upgrades related to its abilities. There are also core upgrades that affect all characters. Datacards are needed to unlock features such as the stud multipliers as well as other modes. Datacards are just like the coveted red bricks from previous LEGO games.
Force user characters such as Jedi have special abilities. While I was playing as Old Ben Kenobi on Tatooine, I was able to use mind tricks to take control of other characters. For example, I could not get into a sealed cave since the control lever was on the inside. By using mind trick on a Jawa inside the cave, I was able to use the switch and open the gate blocking my way into the cave. While using this ability, you can even see the force user’s image off to the side as he uses the Force.
I was glad to see that minikits have returned. These are collectibles that usually require solving a puzzle to get to them. Collect all the minikits in a level and you unlock something. To get this minikit, I had to find a couple of Gonk droids and ride them over to stand on a couple of switches, then have Princess Leia and Captain Antilles stand on the other two switches to open a door. It really pays to explore levels as you play through them.
After playing through just a small fraction of the game, I am very impressed. The new features really add to the game while those who have played previous LEGO games will feel right at home. Like all of the LEGO video games, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is family-friendly. It can be played solo or cooperatively with two players on the same console. This makes it great for parents to play with children. While parents may need to help younger children, often it is the children who are helping the parents get through the levels.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga can be played on a variety of platforms including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It is available in both physical and digital formats from a variety of retailers including Amazon. The standard edition sells for $59.99 while the Deluxe Edition is $69.99 and includes 7 DLC character packs, some of which are available at launch while others will be released in the following weeks. You can pre-order a copy so you are ready to play when the game releases on April 4th, 2022. My son and I are both counting down the days until then.
Here is a gameplay overview video for LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga to tide you over until launch.
Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission on qualified purchases.