So, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has come out! Let me preface this piece with a couple of key points:
- I am not huge on Star Wars – to date, I have only seen Episodes V and VII.
- I am also not huge on LEGO – the only major kit that I’ve got is the Super Mario Question Block which I built last year.
However, despite this, I feel that the LEGO Star Wars franchise was instrumental in my collector/completionist mindset. For those of you not in the know, LEGO Star Wars was the first in the Traveller’s Tales series of LEGO combined with other popular franchises and since then, there have been many entries in the franchise:
- LEGO Star Wars (2005), which covered Episodes I-III
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (2006), which covered Episodes IV-VI
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007), which combined the first two games and added in some extra features
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (2011), which is based on the Clone Wars franchise
- LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016), which covered Episode VII
- LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (2022), which covered Episodes I-IX
Now, it’s all well and good showing that there have been several entries in the series, but how does that tie into the title? What was it about the merging of 2 completely disparate areas that I had little knowledge or experience in that showed me the satisfaction in fully exploring video games and their content? I’ll tell you what – this series showed me that by putting in the hard work, I could get rewarded for my efforts.
The earlier entries introduced a few key concepts that have since been used in other LEGO-ification of other franchises (including Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name just a few) – a True Jedi meter for each level, which you would fill by getting enough Studs (the currency in these games) in the stages. 10 Minikits in each level, which, when collected, would unlock vehicles. Completing levels would unlock characters specific to the stage that you’ve just played. Collecting Red Bricks would allow you to apply modifiers (such as Stud multipliers) and collecting Gold Bricks would unlock bonus stages.
While this may sound simple enough on paper, the LEGO games introduced a concept that really gelled with me – Free Play. You see, it wouldn’t be possible to collect all of these items and complete all of these objectives by playing through the levels once. You may find a Minikit that can only be accessed by a character with a jetpack, but you don’t have any jetpack characters in the Story Mode of the level – Free Play would allow the player to replay levels, but by selecting any of the characters that they have already got unlocked. This mechanic introduced a natural form of replayability that felt rewarding- by going through the same stages, but with a different approach, you would be able to get more items unlocked and get closer to that coveted 100% which, as you got closer to, the more the core gameplay changed – you had more Red Brick modifiers to apply, and you had a wider range of characters to play with.
To this day, I’m not sure what it was about this franchise in particular that was key to getting me hooked on experiencing as much of a game as I could, but I am certainly thankful! While the core gameplay of the LEGO Star Wars games (and indeed, other LEGO franchise games) is largely the same, it is clear that LEGO Star Wars back in 2005 was a core template in the structure ever since then, with additional features and mechanics added along the way (including multi-builds in The Force Awakens, allowing the player to choose what item they wish to build out of two options at set times in the game, as well as the introduction of side missions). Due to sheer enjoyment I got out of the early LEGO Star Wars games, I make it a habit to try to 100% all of the other LEGO games that I complete (including the 750 or so collectibles for LEGO City Undercover), and I am currently working my way through The Skywalker Saga, and my work is cut out for me. Having completed all of the stages and collected my fair share of the near 1200 Kyber Bricks (the main collectible in the game), my completion is only at 44.11%! While this may sound like a complaint, I assure you, it’s not – it’s a breath of fresh air to have a new game to play that rewards you for putting in hours of effort to hit the 100% milestone, without it feeling like busywork.
Please do not treat this as a review as much as it is essentially a love letter to the LEGO video game franchise – if you’re in the market for a series that has plenty for you to do, while not being overly challenging, then I couldn’t recommend this series, specifically LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, enough.
What about you, readers? Are any of you fans of the LEGO games and the rewards they provide for you putting in your time and effort? What’s your favourite entry? Feel free to let me know in the comments below!