Lego Star Wars


by Angela Simpson
author awarded score: 90/100

Lego Star Wars Review
Publisher: Eidos Interactive/LucasArts/Giant
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Format Reviewed: Xbox
Reviewed By: Angela Simpson

Ok I’ll admit to being a fairly huge Star Wars fan so suffice to say I was very much looking forward to the release of Lego Star Wars from the very first teasing footage last year. Will I let this love of the Star Wars Universe sway me in this review? Well I’ll try and be fair and think of the non star wars fan... just in case she happens to read this ;)

The story to Lego Star Wars involves playing through various chapters of the last three Star Wars films (the last three made, not the last three chronologically), so you get to play through The Phantom Menace, The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith. Anyone playing this is probably going to know the story outlines anyway so I won’t go into detail. I will say however that if you have made a point of not reading the overall plot of Revenge of the Sith and you’re waiting for the film you should probably leave off playing the Revenge of the Sith section of this title which does reveal the crux of the story through in level play and cut scenes. That said I would imagine that most Star Wars fans know what’s ahead and the comedic cut scenes are superb in this title. Now let’s get to the game... The central hub (for want of a better word) of the game is ‘Dexters Diner’ which is, unsurprisingly a diner, on the planet Coruscant in which you can purchase items. hints and characters with the ‘studs’ (sort of lego coins) you’ve collected in game. Dexters Diner also leads to the various sections of the game via doorways so this is where you’ll usually start. As well as the doorways to the three film areas (and a fourth secret area which I wont spoil for you) there’s also a doorway to the ‘parking lot’ area where you’ll find the ships you’ve collected lego pieces for throughout the game.

Lego Star Wars female review Xbox

The gameplay in Lego Star Wars is essentially third person 3D platformer all the way, where it differs from other platformers is in the sheer amount of playable characters you’ll encounter along the way, most of them with their own little niche skills that will aid you through the levels. Whilst playing through the game there will usually be a minimum of two characters in action, one controlled by yourself and the other(s) along for effect until you need to use them; this is where tagging comes in, you simply switch from your character to the other at the touch of a button and back again, although if you need to use both characters at one time to do a task the AI is such that the non player character will indeed do whatever’s needed. Each character will have abilities that will aid you be it higher jumps, long range weapons or whatever. But that’s not all, in addition to your light saber wielding abilities this title also lets you utilise ‘the force’ (you know that thing that surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together). If you’re playing a character that has the force ability certain objects will glow, including enemies and you can move them, or hurl them dependent on the situation, this adds a nice touch to the usual drag and pull puzzles seen in many platform titles. To break up the levels even further you’ll be met with different level styles including old style shoot’em’ up, racing levels and piloting cool lego space ships. The only true negative regarding this title is the length of story mode, I finished all 3 episodes in around 8 hours and also managed to unlock all of the characters aside from a couple of hidden ones in this time frame also. There is still more to play for however, though I do realise many gamers out there will find seeing their way through all 3 episodes in such a short amount of time a major negative, for me however there was still a way to go as I milked it for all it was worth, which meant opening the secret 4th level and all ships and characters. All in all I would imagine it took me around 20 hours gaming to unlock the entire thing.

Lego Star Wars female review Xbox

Graphically speaking Lego Star Wars is a joy, the lego characters move fluidly whilst retaining that old school lego charm, even bursting into lego pieces when destroyed. Environments maintain the beauty of the Star Wars universe whilst being inclusive of the lego theme overall. The title even has some nice lighting effects such as light saber glow affecting the wielder with a soft hue. Reflection effects are also stunning on some levels be it polished marble floors or otherwise. The characters in Lego Star Wars are so well done that you know what character they represent as soon as you see them, not bad since a lot of real lego tends to look the same. Add to this the comedy value of many of the cut scenes and you’re really treated to something graphically different and splendid, although not technically jaw dropping it just doesn’t matter because all of the quirky little touches and the charm of this title puts it one step ahead of the competition anyway. Now and again however, there are a few glitches such as your character becoming stuck on a bit of scenery or the title crashing (happened to me twice), this is nothing that will ruin your enjoyment overall, but it can be a little irritating.

The sound in Lego Star Wars is an interesting area because the characters lack voice for the most part with only the occasional grunt, voice snippet or droid bleep to inform you verbally; oddly however the lack of verbal communication, although strange at first, doesn’t detract from the game at all, merely adding to its charm. Sound effects such as light sabers, blasters etc are all really well done and authentic to the film series. The music is also orchestral in nature and from the films, with it changing to suit the onscreen action at any given time. Deaf gamers should have no problem playing and enjoying Lego Star Wars because although it lacks subtitles there is really no need for them given everything, even inter-character communication is portrayed visually rather than verbally. The only negative was one annoying glitch which screeched out of my surround sound and may well have done damage had it been louder.

Lego Star Wars female review Xbox

The female Gaming Angle is simple, you can unlock a couple of female characters to play so there’s no problems there, in essence if you enjoy 3D platform titles you’re going to love this be you male, female or otherwise, there’s no misogyny, no cursing, this game is suitable for all comers, even that one non Star Wars fan I mentioned at the beginning.

Multiplayer is brilliant on this title, sadly there is no Xbox Live which would have been a hoot of unparallelled proportion I am sure, what you do get however is 2 player with the second player being able to join or leave at will anytime during play (two player drop-in / drop-out mode) which is an excellent idea and means if you’ve already played so far and a friend wants to join in they can, at any point.

Overall this is something different, the developers have gone with imagination and innovation and not been crushed by an industry all too often regurgitating the same stuff. If I had to describe this title in one word that word would be FUN. It kept me playing even on occasions when I’d only put it in to get a little further. It’s graphically splendid with some fantastic gameplay touches. The sound whilst lacking voice characterisation for the most part still manages to succeed at bringing the Star Wars Universe to life. The ability for another player to jump in and out of the game at any time is also a superb addition. My overall feeling on this title is that you should own it if you like a little non frustrating platform gaming in your life and if you love Star Wars then there’s really no reason for you not to purchase this, even if you don’t really care for the Star Wars universe this is a brilliant game that will give you hours of delightful fun.

Lego Star Wars female review Xbox

A note to the cynical.. if you’re an old school gamer, meaning your roots are with anything 16bit or prior and you loved the old days of simple, easy to get into ‘fun’ gameplay then this title has it all. The more modern hearted gamer who loves every button on a control pad being utilised for something is going to rant and bemoan that this title has no depth, but here’s the thing, for that type of gamer I feel pity because they’ve clearly never had the joy of knowing this style of gaming, where fun outweighs profundity. This game is a homage to those rose tinted times and I for one salute the developers big time. Now if they’ll just buy up every cult franchise available and get to releasing Lego Buffy, Lego X-Files, Lego Alias etc I’ll be an even happier gamer because I need more Lego goodness.

Pros
+ Simple to pick up and play for the kids, but by no means not for the adult.
+ Charming and imaginative with comedic cut scenes.
+ Fantastic fun even with the repetitive structure.
+ Gorgeous graphical style that holds true to the Star Wars Universe.
+ You get to use the force and fly lego spaceships!!

Cons
- Not long enough to satisfy the more staunch gamers who believes length is more important than quality and charm (oh the cheeky comments one could make).
- This is essentially a 3D platformer for the most part so if you’re not a fan of exploratory collecting and repetitive button bash attacking it’s probably not for you.
- It would pain me FAR too much to say another negative thing about this title as it is in my opinion bloody fantastic.