Star Wars. Videogames. And Lego? Yes, Lego. Combining three of the greatest childhood memories into one product was a masterstroke of an idea by someone, and this latest iteration – The Complete Saga – takes in all 6 of the Star Wars films. It’s a game that makes such good use of its license that it would be so much less without it.
The Mos Eisley Cantina – complete with the aliens playing the memorable music – is your starting point and it’s here that you assume control of Qui Gon Jinn. Young Obi-Wan follows you around, and as with any characters in your party you can instantly switch between them and take control of your favourite. The Cantina acts as the hub to the rest of the game, which is broken down into 6 episodes which correspond to the 6 films. Each episode is broken down into chapters which take major scenes from the films as their inspiration. It’s here that the atmosphere really sucks you in, because each chapter starts with the stirring Star Wars music and scrolling text signifying the challenge ahead. Then, it’s into the game and that’s when you realise playing as Obi-Wan fighting Darth Maul, or being in the thick of the action as the Jedi battle for their lives in the arena, really sets this game apart from other action games. We all wanted to kick Darth Maul’s arse, right?
As each chapter is based around a corresponding scene from the film the game is a supremely playable mix of styles. Traditional platforming is enhanced with combat; Jedi can use their lightsaber or just the Force, while other characters are equipped with more traditional weaponary like blasters. Each character’s unique abilities further ensure there’s more on offer than simply double-jumping hither and thither. The platforming is punctuated with some excellent chapters where you’ll be tearing around in one of many vehicles, and there’s always a boss battle or two to further mix things up.
Anything that is destroyed, or manipulated with the force, will usually cough-up Lego studs, which you collect so as to buy extra stuff in the Mos Eisley cantina’s shop. The unfortunate thing here is that, unlike in Ratchet where the bolts are attracted to you, the studs here are hell-bent on not being picked up. This makes the collection tiresome, and although it’s nice to work out how to get the hard-to-reach studs, sometimes you won’t bother with the studs that disappear after 5 seconds of bouncing away from you.
Progress through the chapters results in new characters being available. You’ll often be leading a party of 5 or 6, and this is a mixed blessing. Characters are often needed for specific tasks in a level – as in either other game of this ilk, the puzzles are contrived – but when left alone they will never get stuck and will traverse a level once you’ve opened up the route. However, part of the problem is that opening up a route can involve fending off enemies while you try to use the Force to manipulate objects. Your companions are fairly useless here, they will defend themselves, but generally won’t dispatch the enemies. You’ll be left trying to use the Force, only to be hit with a blaster at the last moment; that’s bad news, because any interruption in your use of the Force results in you having to start the process again. Ultimately, this means you are better dispatching all enemy threats first and then using the Force.
Visually the game is an absolute treat. You can shove your realism in the Great Pit of Carkoon, because this game wears its cartoon-like credentials loud and proud and thrashes every other game graphically, except perhaps Ratchet. The character in the Lego people is amazing, often realised through short-but-humourous cut-scenes, where a raised eyebrow is enough to make you laugh. The animation is lovely and smooth – just try making a Jedi tip-toe – and the controls are sharper than a Rancor’s teeth. When you add the musical score and spot-effects into the mix, you get an atmosphere that evokes the films and who could ask for more than that?
Unfortunately, the game suffers from a bizarre choice of camera. It fixes the viewpoint at each stage, not allowing you the traditional rotation usual in third-person games. To begin with this is frustrating, not least because sections of a room can be ‘hidden’ and you have to move blindly and hope the camera will then swivel to show you the way. Also, some of the vehicle based sections suffer slightly from this, as the camera will often alter your view and slightly re-orient your craft so your tiny tilt to the left becomes a crash into some rocks. Is it a show-stopper? Once you learn how it behaves then no, it becomes a minor annoyance on occasion, but not everyone will feel that way.
But, really that’s not an issue you should let affect you. The game offers such depth of not only styles of play, but also longevity: on your first play, some sections will be unavailable until you’ve unlocked the required characters; bonus levels open up on successful completion of each episode; and there’s the multi-player shenanigans to become embroiled in. It’s not only the complete saga, it’s the complete package.
Get it today: may the Force be with you.