Be honest. How many games have you played recently that have left you with a big cheesy grin on your face? And let’s be honest again. How often has a Star Wars game managed to eclipse your expectations?
Lego Star Wars, bizarrely, manages to tick both of these boxes. It’s bizarre because it’s a title that’s sat on the release schedules for some time now, attracting little or no interest. Let’s face it, it’s just the kind of concept we’re used to computer game developers savaging. But here they haven’t, and have ultimately managed not only to create the most enjoyable Star Wars game in some time, but also present us with perhaps the gaming surprise of the year.
It’s a game set around the modern day Star Wars trilogy, with different areas representing each of the films. Infested with plenty of recognisable locations and characters, the game also fuses in key scenes from the movies, such as the pod racing sequence from Phantom Menace.
But it does it all with Lego. There’s no motion captured nonsense here; everything you see in the game is constructed from virtual Lego bricks. And that covers the likes of Obi-Wan, great big spaceships, all the game’s locations and umpteen foes. Get close up to any of them, and you’ll literally see the joins. When anything blows up, it’s Lego bricks that’ll be hurtling towards you.
It’s a graphical look that gives the impression that Lego Star Wars doesn’t take itself too seriously, but that’s the real trick here. It takes itself very seriously indeed, but just does it without descending into the over-important nonsense that has a real habit of bogging down the Star Wars franchise across all media.
For the game itself sees you taking control of numerous characters across its many areas, marrying up action, a bit of exploration and puzzle solving. Different characters are required to get you through different areas (given that – yes! – they all have different abilities and strengths), and part of the fun is working out who is best to do what.
There are also plenty of lightsabre fights, which are tremendous fun, numerous opportunities to use the infamous Force, the chance to jump into key scenes from the movies and lots of new things to uncover. It really is a veritable treasure chest, and one you’ll have enormous fun exploring.
Yet there’s a problem. In spite of there being a couple of quite tricky areas, Lego Star Wars is neither a very big or a very tricky game. It never lets you die, and that means a bit of time commitment is all most players will need to see the end sequences. Inevitably it’s targeted at younger players, but given the fact that its appeal proves to be much broader, it would have been better had there been a lot more to keep the more experienced gamers at their PCs for longer.
That said, what’s there is exceptionally good fun, offering both a stylised and overtly enjoyable gaming experience. Perhaps it lacks a genuinely hearty challenge, and perhaps there should be more of it, but there’s little denying this is one of the most outright enjoyable Star Wars games for a long, long time. Roll on the next episode.