2005’s Lego Star Wars: The Video Game was TT Games’ first foray into the world of Lego video games and, for many of us, playing through its light-hearted take on the Prequel Trilogy is one of the earliest memories we have with videogames. Watching the Battle of the Heroes, the heart-breaking clash between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith, is my earliest memory of the cinema. Playing through that same climactic moment in TT Games’ first Lego Star Wars game just weeks later cemented my love of gaming – and Star Wars. To say I was excited to get stuck into Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga on PS5 for this review was an understatement – and, I’m pleased to say that this game does not disappoint.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is an unmissable experience for Star Wars fans – and fans of TT Games’ wider selection of Lego-based games. It’s a wonderful coming together of 42 years of storytelling and adventures in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. There’s also a Lego Star Wars The Skywalker Saga character list packed with all your favourite characters – including Max Rebo!
The developer has taken everything it has learnt from its more-recent releases – Lego DC Super Villains, Lego Marvel Superheroes 2, and Lego Jurassic World – and married it with Star Wars to create the best Lego game yet and easily one of the best Star Wars video games available on current and next-gen consoles.
I admit, I found it hard to pin down what-exactly makes Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga tick. It’s a game that works so well in so many ways. From the quality of the storytelling to the sheer abundance of content, it strikes the perfect balance for what you would want – and expect – from a Lego Star Wars game. If you’re looking for a shorter playthrough highlighting Star Wars’ greatest moments, you’ll get that. If you’re looking for a game that you can sink your teeth into for hours on end, exploring a brick-based galaxy full of strange characters and adventures, you’ll find that here too.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga isn’t a perfect game, but the issues I stumbled upon felt insignificant when the overall experience is just so enjoyable.
When you first boot it up, you’re met with a short introductory cinematic (that quite literally gives me goosebumps every time) and the option to start from A Phantom Menace, A New Hope, or The Force Awakens. The film you start from does have some impact on the abilities you unlock first, but this only affects exploration outside the main missions and objectives – you can come back to that all at a later date with the Galaxy Free-Play mode.
As someone who will happily defend the Prequel Trilogy until my last breath, it felt only natural to start from the beginning – A Phantom Menace – and I was so happy I did.
When you start with A Phantom Menace, the game opens up into Naboo Space and you’re in full control of the crimson Republic Cruiser carrying Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi to their meeting with the Trade Federation. This is actually one of the only episodes to start in open space; a lot of the others just throw you into the action of each film’s first scenes. So, it immediately highlighted the new level of freedom on offer – don’t worry, though, you don’t have to wait long if you start with another trilogy for the same experience.
Everything about my experience with the opening moments of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was seriously impressive and incredibly exciting – from the open space exploration to the voice-acted cutscenes and enhanced combat mechanics. Unexpectedly, this sensation never left. Even though you know what’s coming up next narratively, you’re never not impressed by this game and the way it tells Star Wars’ famous storylines.
In an effort to squeeze nine films’ worth of content into one game, TT Games has opted to only include five missions for each episode. This may be one less than previous games in the series, but don’t worry about missing out on any content; the developer has expertly told Star Wars’ story through an inter-connected mixture of isolated, linear missions, and sections set in open-world environments to create an experience a lot smoother than I was initially expecting.
While this game does an excellent job translating the exciting moments and emotions from each Star Wars film, there are some absent scenes and smaller moments from the films that I would have liked to have seen recreated in Lego form. With TT Games looking to streamline the storytelling, there are some narrative jumps too – for example, a young Anakin Skywalker is whisked away to become a Jedi-in-training without a second thought from Qui-Gon Jinn (and no mention of Midi-chlorians either!). While fans of the films will still be able to easily follow, it could make things a little confusing if you’re not fully familiar with Star Wars’ story.
TT Games’ mostly expert retelling of Star Wars’ most exciting moments extends beyond the cutscenes and interactions between characters – the new combat mechanics lend themselves perfectly to epic lightsaber duels as much as they lend themselves well to intense stand-offs against the Trade Federation’s Droid Army, Imperial forces, and the First Order.
With new attack combos and a number of class-based unique abilities, combat in Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has evolved from button mashing to become a much more nuanced experience where blocking, dodging, and finding cover matter. However, a lot of these new systems are grossly underutilised. Much like previous Lego games, this is easy and there’s little to no punishment for dying. You lose a handful of Studs if you do die, but you can easily recuperate your losses and then some with an abundance of destructible objects in every environment.
Of course, looking at TT Games’ previous games and the tone being set in Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, this is exactly what you expect. It isn’t a gruelling Souls-like that has you throwing your controller at the wall, and it shouldn’t be. However, I did feel that the low difficulty makes the combat-based upgrades on offer rather redundant. Increasing your blaster damage is never going to be a bad thing, but you just don’t need to. This game doesn’t get harder as you progress and there’s no option to change that.
Despite this, TT Games does exceed expectations in making combat more engaging than previous Lego Star Wars games – something I was concerned with coming into it. The enemies you come up against might not be as deadly as a lightsaber through the chest, but they can block your attacks and almost every character has several ranged and melee attacks at their disposal.
Interestingly, the developer has opted to avoid utilising the unique features offered by the PS5’s DualSense controller. There’s no use of haptic feedback, just standard vibrations, and no use of the adaptive triggers. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga certainly doesn’t need these to impress, but it does seem a missed opportunity in a game full of epic lightsaber clashes and fast-firing blaster combat.
Graphically, though, this game is stunning. From the texture of a character’s cape to the “Lego” printing on each brick, the level of detail is astounding. The most impressive part of this is the use of weather effects, unique to each location. If you’re on Tatooine, your character gets sandy. If you’re running around Echo Base and Hoth, there’s a bit of snow build-up. Even Naboo’s Lake Paonga is wet enough to muddy the feet of your characters if you wade into shallow water. This game truly is a feast for the eyes.
The only real fault I can find with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is with the way it handles split-screen multiplayer – and even then, the issues are minor when compared to the greater experience. Like recent releases from TT Games, this game features a static split-screen division. This allows players to have much more freedom than in previous Lego Star Wars games, by being able to stray further from one another and even travel to completely different areas of the same planet. However, the close camera does make navigation tricky in tight spaces – if you’re trying to complete a puzzle in a small room, you find that you simply don’t have enough of the screen to see everything going on.
A lot of the time, though, I actually found that Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was quite intuitive in the way it adapts gameplay sequences and scenes that feature a one-on-one duel for two players. For missions that only need one vehicle, like traversing Naboo’s planet core in a Tribubble Gungan sub, one player is driving and the other is shooting. In moments where only one character is usually featured, such as Luke’s duel with Darth Vader in Cloud City, scenes have been adapted to include a secondary character – which more often than not ends up being R2-D2.
This might not make this game the most faithful retelling of Star Wars’ epic story, but it works well – in fact, in many cases, it actually improves on moments that would otherwise be a little too serious for the overall tone of the game. You’re never alone in Lego Star Wars, whether you’re playing with someone else or not.
Everything that’s great, and everything that’s a little disappointing, about Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga extends into the open-world exploration and free-roam available in between missions and after you’ve played through the main stories. There’s a lot hidden in TT Games’ latest iteration of a Galaxy Far, Far Away – and I know I’ve only scratched the surface of finishing this game. However, you find yourself back-tracking a lot if you try to explore without finishing all the main missions. You don’t unlock everything you need to fully complete each area until you’ve progressed almost completely through the trilogy.
Starting with A Phantom Menace, I didn’t have access to the Jedi Class’ Mind Trick ability until the second mission of A New Hope. Similarly, I didn’t have access to the Scavenger Class’ unique gadgets until half-way through Return of the Jedi. You get everything you need, of course, but this isn’t a game you can complete in a single run – although, anyone who’s played a Lego game before will know that Free Play replays are a huge part of the experience.
The fact that some things are inaccessible on a first run might have proved somewhat annoying at first, but it’s ultimately not something that matters. It’s not an issue that you need to play through the game again to fully complete it because, quite simply, you want to. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is a truly enjoyable experience that, despite being heavily laced with nostalgia, does improve upon the series’ formula to create a game that’s richer and deeper than its predecessors.
When you say “I love you” to this game, it responds with “I know” and throws a hilarious Palpatine moment at you in the midst of an intense confrontation between the light and darkness. TT Games is hitting its stride with Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and it only makes me more hopeful of what the future holds for Lego Star Wars and the other IPs it works with. A new Lego Indiana Jones game wouldn’t go amiss, I’m just saying…
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (PS5)
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is everything you want it to be and more. Split-screen gameplay can be a bit troublesome at times, but these issues do little to sully one of the best Star Wars games available right now.