Star Rating:

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series XS, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch

Release Date: Tuesday 5th April 2022

Play Modes: Single Player, Local Co-Operative Play

On paper, putting all 9 'Star Wars' films in one game seems like a dream come true for fans of the sci-fi franchise.

In practice, ‘LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga’ suffers from one of the biggest problems of the modern gaming industry; feature creep and bloat.

In simple terms, the game has a flabbiness and excess that the original ‘LEGO Star Wars games didn’t have.

The original ‘LEGO Star Wars’ games could be characterised as having a simple elegance to them.

Players could play through famous scenes from the iconic films, and in keeping with the LEGO tradition, could use other LEGO characters and mess around with different combinations of characters.

The games captured the joy of playing with LEGO in video game form; it was simple on the surface but it had a dizzying amount of depth to it.

The greatest success of the original ‘LEGO Star Wars’ was how simple and frills-free it was.

‘The Skywalker Saga’ loses sight of this simplicity.

The game is good - but it loses the run of itself slightly.

War Of The Worlds

To be clear, ‘The Skywalker Saga’ is well worth your time and the game is incredibly easy to recommend, but the game feels designed by committee and in the process erodes what makes the original LEGO games so great.

Instead of wandering around the Mos Eisley Cantina like in older games, there is now an open-world approach, and players can take control of various famous ships from the franchise.

Players can take part in dogfights, find collectables in the vast emptiness of space or do races.

Taking the Millennium Falcon for a spin is exhilarating, but after a while, the commute becomes less special.

On paper, giving players multiple sandbox environments to explore seems like a winner, but it runs into the 'Grand Theft Auto 4' versus 'Grand Theft Auto 5' dilemma; would you prefer a smaller world with more details or a larger, less detailed one?

The sandbox approach feels somewhat at odds with the initial tightness of the original games, with the smaller, more sparse levels replaced by sandbox environments.

These sandbox environments weren’t possible with the hardware of the PlayStation 2 or original Xbox, but there was a simplicity to the original games that made them endlessly charming.

The relative tightness and sparseness of the levels were borne out of necessity, and now that more powerful hardware is available to the developers, they indulge the sin of making a game big for the sake of it being big.

Players can pretend to be Harrison Ford for a few, brief glorious moments by flying the Millennium Falcon

Games like ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ or ‘Horizon: Forbidden West’ are examples of this trend within gaming; it’s not merely enough to make a simple game exceptionally well anymore, developers feel the need to fill the game with as much content as possible.

Current triple-AAA philosophy mandates endless guitar solos when simple piano riffs sufficed before.

Ambition is not a bad thing, and indeed the sheer amount of gameplay variety on offer here is impressive at the very least, but there was nothing wrong with the classic gameplay formula to begin with.

The Dead Speak! (Or At Least Are Playable)

The big draw of ‘The Skywalker Saga’ is the chance to play through ‘The Last Jedi’ and ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’ for the first time in video game form, but all the other films from the franchise have received the same love and TLC.

To call this game a remake is underselling it – it’s a Dermot Bannon style renovation that fundamentally alters what existed before.

The core fundamental game is designed well enough that anyone from 3 to 90 can pick up and play, and as mentioned, the game mixes it up with combat, vehicle sections and puzzles to keep players on their toes.

For 2022, the game has added shooting and cover mechanics and frankly feel out of place in the ‘Star Wars’ universe.

Granted not every character is a lightsaber-wielding Jedi, but turning the shooting sections into ‘Gears Of War’ or 'Resident Evil 4' is not what the game needs.

The game frankly feels a bit too overstuffed for its own good, but when the game is at its best, it reminds you why you love ‘Star Wars’ to begin with.

Players can finally play through the events of 'The Last Jedi'

The impish, cheeky quality of the game still exists, and there is a dizzying amount of content on offer, and the game is the ultimate treat for ‘Star Wars’ fans.

There are deep cut references to the likes of Max Rebo, the dialogue references the prequel trilogy memes that are popular on Reddit, and perhaps most crucially, anyone with no prior knowledge of the ‘Star Wars’ universe can pick up and play the game.

Letting Kylo Ren and The Mandalorian run amok in ‘The Phantom Menace’ is great fun, as is setting Watto loose in the events of ‘The Last Jedi’.

There is very little more satisfying in gaming than Kylo Ren knocking seven shades out of Jar Jar Binks.

The sheer depth of characters available is mind-boggling, and is sure to give George Lucas sleepless nights at the idea of characters from 'The Rise Of Skywalker' running around settings from 'Attack Of The Clones'.

Attack The Block

‘The Skywalker Saga’ represents tremendous value for money, and there’s enough content here to keep fans occupied for months.

Discovering every little nook and cranny has always been a big part of the appeal of LEGO games, and this game is no exception.

Indeed, some levels offer different paths, meaning that players will have to play the game multiple times to see everything.

All told, the developers have made the ultimate LEGO game, and with a franchise as epic and sweeping as ‘Star Wars’, it was only right that TT games returned to their roots.

When other franchises such as 'Harry Potter' or the Marvel films were given the LEGO game treatment, the same warmth and reverance was largely missing.

With 'Star Wars', the LEGO games have a natural home.

As philosopher Patrick H Willems once said of the 'Star Wars' films, "this is a movie about space wizards intended for children" and the game captures that joyful feeling that 'Star Wars' should instil in people.

After years of online arguments and the films being endlessly litigated, it's a treat to revisit the franchise should be enjoyed and not endured.

‘The Skywalker Saga’ is like when your favourite rock band comes to town to promote their newest album; when they play the new stuff you’re left frustrated because that isn’t what you showed up for.

When they play the hits, you’re reminded why you fell in love with them to begin with.