After multiple delays, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is finally here, bringing with it a strong hit with plenty of charm. While there’s a lot to like about this new entry, there’s one issue that holds it back from reaching its full potential.
Originally scheduled to launch in 2020, The Skywalker Saga has suffered multiple productions delays, with the extra time (presumably) being spent to provide fans with the best product possible. Of course, we don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but these delays seem to have done wonders for several of the game’s core components.
Starting with its visuals, no LEGO game has looked this good ever before. When played on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series devices, the attention to detail shines through. Environments look particularly impressive, and the way LEGO figures look running around iconic Star Wars locales helps sell the experience. Each on-screen piece looks as close to its LEGO counterpart as possible, and it’s all tied together with stellar world design.
Along with the look of the game, its cutscenes and voice acting are both perfect for what it set out to do. While it might be re-telling a familiar story from the nine core Star Wars films, there are plenty of changes made to compliment the game’s whimsical humor and charm, which make even its darkest moments fun and entertaining.
The core gameplay comes with plenty of welcome changes, but also one glaring flaw. The new combat system and camera style look and feel great — ducking in and out of cover while aiming and firing your weapon is a much-needed tweak to the franchise’s combat system, and you’ve got multiple different ways to attack foes as a Force user, including the new combo meter.
Space combat and vehicles take center stage, bringing a whole new platform for exploration and acting as a palette cleanser to break up the boots-on-the-ground sections. Character switching is back and important as ever to clearing areas. It also serves as a great way to entice you to take advantage of the co-op mode, as no one player feels like they’re less important to progressing the story.
While these are nice additions, they can be overshadowed by the story’s biggest gameplay problem — lack of variety. As you progress from episode to episode, combat remains almost exactly the same. Even boss fights see enemies adopting almost identical attack patterns, save for a few unique outliers, and with no harsh penalty for dying you can pretty much hack and slash your way through anything.
Worse yet, each episode makes use of similar puzzles and follows the same cadence. While things might feel fresh for some, by the time you’ve worked through all nine episodes, you won’t be stumbling upon many new challenges. After hours and hours of play, this can make some of the gameplay feel timesome and tedious.
The Skywalker Saga’s story should take you around two hours for each episode if you just stick to the story, but there are a ton of side missions and areas to explore along the way. Even if you plan on breezing through everything as fast as possible, you’ll still clock around 20 hours of gameplay, give or take.
That said, the real game starts once you’ve finished the story and head back into levels, or simply explore the massive open galaxy playing as any character in your collection. Regardless of your post-credits playstyle, there is a lot to collect.
Once the story wraps up, you’ll have only scooped up around 25 percent of the game’s collectibles, meaning you could potentially spend 60 hours or more before finally getting your hands on everything. Plus, each new character you unlock adds a little more variety into the mix, making the post-game as enjoyable as its main story.
There are hundreds of playable characters taken from every corner of the Star Wars franchise, including plenty of obscure choices. Like previous LEGO games, The Skywalker Saga is at its best when you’re exploring planets with a crew of your favorite characters.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is not for everyone, but for those who fit its target demographic — be it younger gamers or Star Wars fanatics — developer TT Games has come very close to crafting the perfect product.
The new additions feel fresh and look fantastic, but the lack of variety from episode to episode can bog down its main story. If you’re able to push past this, then the post-game provides tons of content to explore and collect, increasing the value proposition drastically.
If you’re someone who grew up playing LEGO Star Wars — or any of the LEGO games for that matter — then this is a purchase you’re not going to regret. On the other hand, if you’re not familiar with the series’ core gameplay, then you’ll probably want to dip your toe in the water to see if it’s right for you.
This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game. A copy was provided to us by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
While it isn't quite perfect, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has plenty of new tricks to match its stunning visuals.