Lego Star Wars has to be one of the most unique games to represent the popular series of George Lucas films. The game itself isn’t actually created by its studios, so that already provides great opportunity for it to be as different as it is. Taking on the stories of Episodes I – III, the game takes the whole world of Star Wars and converts it into, you guessed it, lego form. The game is actually targeted more towards a younger audience, but that hardly means that it doesn’t appeal to the older crowd as well.
At first glance, Lego Star Wars might turn you away from just how different it does look. But if you give it a chance, you will find an experience that is worthy of the market price. You should obviously know the saying “never judge a book by its cover”, and the same easily applies here. Now while Traveller’s Tales, the makers of the game, actually did push the whole lego atmosphere quite a bit, it isn’t done that way with everything. That basically means not everything around you is designed to look like it was built with legos, so that helps retain somewhat of a realistic feel to the visuals. For the most part, all the characters you encounter, allies and enemies alike, along with the various vehicles in the game will be what is represented by legos.
With that said, the aspects of the game that actually are represented by legos are actually really cool, but sometimes downright strange. The actual body, limbs and legs of all the characters are built by regular legos, with their heads being those “special pieces” that help you identify who they really are. Some of the character heads in the game look really weird though, including Darth Sidious and Padme Amidala. But then again, it’s not exactly possible to have elaborate looking lego head pieces, so that is understandable. But the trademark Star Wars vehicles definitely look awesome in lego form. They include the pod racers from Episode I and the various war ships from the last of Episode I as well as the others. Your enemies for the most part won’t be completely built by legos, but that’s because if they all were, they would look unrecognizable. To give the game a little cosmetic look in certain areas, lego plants and trees are actually thrown into the mix.
However, if there is one aspect of the game that looks awesome simply because of the Star Wars universe, it’s your characters’ lightsabers. The actual handles do look like lego pieces, but the actual beams coming out of them obviously aren’t. To make the whole atmosphere in the game even more authentic, viewing the animation of the beams actually coming out of the lightsaber handles is virtually identical to the movies. This is coupled with absolutely perfect sound effects, as all the great ones you hear when characters use their lightsabers in the movies have made it into the game. So the actual activating of the weapon, and all the humming sounds it makes is really immersive and helps you really feel like you’re playing a Star Wars game.
That is indeed the strongest aspect of Lego Star Wars, the sounds and music. Almost all the musical scores and sound effects you will end up hearing throughout your adventure is taken right from the movies. So there’s no excuse if you feel you didn’t play a fun Star Wars game because of the audio, it’s almost perfect. All the dramatic and serene-driven themes have been implemented in the experience, and it really helps drive the sometimes monotonous action of the gameplay. However, one extremely disappointing aspect is there are absolutely no voiceovers. Yes, the droids like R2-D2 make their trademark bloops and bleeps, but that is hardly an actual voice. Aside from the various grunts and other such vocalized emotions, you won’t hear any voiced dialogue. This is rather unfortunate, as people who play this game and have never seen the movies won’t have a clue as to what’s going on. Each chapter of your journey is taken directly from the movies, and rather briefly, so if you haven’t seen them, there’s no chance of understanding the actual plot. That does help in there not being any spoilers for the movies, but sometimes it’s just downright ridiculous with how it’s actually presented.
So obviously with your adventure you have the actual stories of the first three Star Wars episodes. These happen to be The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. What Traveller’s Tales actually tried to do with each chapter presentation was deliver all the major plot points of each episode so you would feel like you really got the Star Wars universe handed to you. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case either, as many a time the plots in each chapter will feel more rushed than the entire movie of Episode III did. There are roughly five to six chapters in each Episode that you play, and generally you will hit the most crucial points in each movie. Such ones include the rescuing of Jar Jar Binks, the pod racer and the fight with Darth Maul in Episode I. With Episode II, you have all the major exploits of Obi-Wan, including his encounter with the Fett bounty hunters. The capturing of some of the Jedi, along with the fight in the battle arena is also included. Then with Episode III, you obviously have the turning of Anakin to the Dark Side, beginning with his elimination of Count Dooku, and then the final fight at the very end that starts the premise to Episode IV. All these major events are really nice and all to experience first-hand during the game, but it still doesn’t excuse the lack of proper side details that drive the main story. Plus any kind of voices would’ve been appreciated, and it didn’t even need to be the original actors.
Now actually playing the game is quite fun, but after a while it does seem a little repetitive. The great thing, however, is the fact that you have the possibility of using over 40 different Star Wars characters in each chapter. There are two options of play, and that is Story and Freeplay. Story simply takes you through each chapter of each Episode so you can experience the plot, use the default characters and unlock various goodies. This includes the use of other characters as well as various secret parts that can be assembled to unlock the really good stuff in the future. Most of the time you will be using the Jedis in Anakin, Obi-Wan and sometimes Yoda. Using their lightsabers couldn’t be more entertaining, as you can use them just like they do in the movies. You will reflect laser blasts back at enemies, slash them in various ways and perform special maneuvers to knock out groups. It’s especially cool too, because when you are using the laser deflecting function, you will chain small combos of movements that the Jedi actually use in the movies.
Now of course this is Star Wars, and the whole premise of the Jedi is the Force. The Force is more or less the invisible energy around these people that allows them to use their minds to manipulate people and their environments. Anything in Lego Star Wars that can be manipulated by the Force is presented with a unique glow signifying that very function. This can be anything from table seats to the very droids of the Clone Army that you will do battle with. It can be used offensively, or to gain access to the game’s hidden goodies. The same applies to everyone else, as each character actually brings with him or her a special ability that no one else has. This is to be generally used during Freeplay mode when you can take any character you wish at any given time throughout the story chapters to find all the unlockables. For instance, Jar Jar Binks can jump very high while only members of the Sith like Darth Maul can use the Dark Side of the Force. This is crucial for you if you wish to find all the hidden items that will unlock all the game’s goodies.
Now to make that task seem less daunting and allowing you to unlock a good half of the stuff you can, purchasing them is another option. Throughout your adventure, you will use the Force to manipulate your environment and do battle with your enemies. In the process, you will get yourself a ton of Lego Studs. These are more-or-less your in-game currency. At the very beginning of the game, you are placed in some kind of bar/pub in which the character who runs it has some nice stuff to offer you. From him, you can buy in-game hints, and some of the hidden characters that can be used during Freeplay. So either during Story or Freeplay mode, you will be on the look for these Studs and Lego Canisters. Studs will not only allow you to purchase goods from the bar owner, but they are also used to fill up your “True Jedi” meter. You want to collect as many studs in each chapter as possible, because if you do fill that up to 100%, you will unlock one piece of 17 that is needed to build the super secret vehicle. With the Lego Canisters, there are ten hidden throughout each chapter, and collecting them all will complete a unique game vehicle that will be displayed in the bar’s parking lot and eventually can be used. This is why you need the special abilities of 40 plus characters, because some of them are not reachable unless you have someone else. Freeplay is obviously the only way to achieve that.
So it goes without saying that having just said all that, the game carries a hefty amount of replay value. If you want to unlock every single little hidden aspect of the game, you are looking at possibly more than double the playing time it takes to get through the story chapters. But that isn’t really saying a whole lot because the main story is really easy and short, so it more than likely won’t take you long at all. It is unfortunate, but thankfully all the hidden aspects makes up for it.
Finding every single lego canister, unlocking the super secret part from the True Jedi status bar and unlocking every hidden character will indeed take some time. It could really be worth it too, as the game also supports a two-player co-op mode. Instead of just hitting Y during single player to take control of a different nearby character, you can have someone else working with you to complete chapter objectives and find all these goodies. This can be done during Story and Freeplay mode, and it’s actually very entertaining. It’s really helpful too, because your computer AI allies tend to play a lot more defensively than they should. So having an actual human partner will increase the level of offense you dish out when fighting the game’s enemies. So this can help not only through battle, but also in working together to find all the hidden items.
Lego Star Wars is definitely a unique game to say the least. Not many games actually have the entire premise and presentation built around Legos, so to say this is just another Star Wars game would be a definite fallacy. The whole atmosphere definitely retains the Star Wars feel, and that’s a great thing, but sometimes certain people and things you encounter can look truly strange. That doesn’t mean the game isn’t any less fun because of it, but some aspects of Star Wars just really weren’t cut out to be presented in lego form. But you probably won’t find yourself paying just as much attention to that, as the very engaging gameplay will be capturing your interest for the most part. It’s not always entertaining and can bore you at times with doing the same basic thing over and over again, but overall it’s really enjoyable. Plus constantly hearing those trademark Star Wars themes is enough to tide over any fan of the movies and games driven because of such. You also may find yourself coming back to it more often than you originally thought simply because of there much to do. Lego Star Wars isn’t your conventional Star Wars game, but it does pride itself on presenting a conventional Star Wars atmosphere.