A short time ago, the folks over at WB Games and TT Games gave us a chance to try out a preview of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Ever since we saw the game make its debut at E3 2019, we've been dying to get our hands on it. However, the pandemic threw a lot of what we were hoping for into a delay, and only recently have we seen the game we were hoping for coming to fruition. Bit by bit they've revealed that while it looks like LEGO Star Wars and has reminders of all the previous incarnations of the video game series, it is not just a rehash of what we previously played, and is far more in-depth than it used to be. We had a chance to play a demo and this is what we took from that experience.
So the demo took us through Episode IV, which for the uninitiated is the original 1977 film that everyone usually knows best or starts out with when watching Star Wars in general. They did a wonderful little job of bridging the gap between Rogue One and Episode IV so that players from both the current films and the old films saw Darth Vader trying to get his hands on the plans while Princess Leia is looking for a way to get them to an old friend. LEGO Star Wars starts off with Leia and a soldier running through the ship in the classic two-player format where you can swap between characters while trying to make it through her ship.
Two of the big changes that we noticed right off the bat are that there is more precision firing with your blaster, and a more robust fighting system for hand-to-hand. The blasters provide a pinpoint shooting system where you can better target things in front of you rather than the auto-target the blasters used to do in the game where you'd fire wildly and they eventually hit something breakable. However, everything is now harder to destroy. Stormtroopers don't go down after two blasts, they take far more hits. That includes objects they may erect to withstand the fight. But if you're good at aiming, it'll be fine. Meanwhile, hand-to-hand will take you about as long to take down people, however, the animations are amazing and allow you to come up with quick button combos that will make short work of whatever enemies are in your way. Also, puzzles are back involving brick building, of course, only this time they're done in more creative ways that are story-driven and interactive.
Every film is divided up into chapters, and it's clear that the developers knew what worked in previous games and what didn't. For example, the R2-D2 and C-3PO finally make it down to the planet, there's very little involving the Jawa's this time around compared to previous games. Maybe they realized the Sandcrawler level wasn't to everyone's liking, maybe they just wanted to forward the story along, but whatever the reason they move almost immediately from being crashed in an escape pod to get to Luke's house to talk to Obi-Wan in no time flat. Which we appreciated a lot as it skips right to the heart of what we want out of the story and we get into the action.
There are great moments from place to place as you choose your mode of transportation and are able to explore what is essentially an open world. You have the ability to go from the story that is currently happening in the game to going off and checking out new things to do on Tatooine. For the purposes of the demo to see where things took us, we stuck with the storyline and progressed to the city where we explored around for a bit and eventually made out way to the cantina to chat with Han Solo and Chewbacca. We eventually made out way into the hangar where the Millennium Falcon was hanging out for a little repair work only to get ambushed by Stormtroopers again.
In the hanger, it was up to us to do a number of tasks in what was a long sequence of events, while also fighting off troopers preventing us from going anywhere. The first half of those tasks involved getting parts to Chewie to help fix the ship and make sure she was ready for takeoff, while also working to make sure that the troopers didn't blast off pieces to repair. Once the ship was taken care of, we then needed to clear out the hanger so we could take off, leave the planet, and head to lightspeed. The action had a pretty decent flow to it that didn't feel as "required" as it has been in previous games. Not knocking those titles, but there are times in previous games where it didn't even matter what we were doing, the content was made just to keep LEGO Star Wars going for a bit. This time around it feels like we're accomplishing something that matters rather than just dealing with wave-after-wave of fighters.
That's where our time ran out for the demo, and overall, I thought this was a great addition to the series. Well, at least so far. We only got a taste of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, and we enjoyed a lot of what it had to offer. That said, we have yet to see what they've done with the rest of the first trilogy, or what they've done with the prequels or the new trilogy. We hope to do that when the game drops on April 5th, 2022. But for the time being, we're super impressed and look forward to seeing what this new game has to offer.