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'Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga' delivers nostalgia, laughs and thrills

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Posted at 2:05 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 16:05:30-04

Wrapping up all nine mainline "Star Wars" moves in Lego packaging, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment delivers the holy grail of Lego video games.

Each of the previously released film adaptations have been revamped, with fresh takes that emphasize the humor and nostalgia that the originals delivered.

Delayed from an originally planned 2020 release, the long-anticipated game has finally arrived.

Phil Villarreal: Going through the old movies was surprisingly emotional for me. The original "Lego Star Wars" games were some of the first titles I played through with my now 15-year-old son, and getting the chance to play some co-op with him again was a profound experience. Even the newer trilogy, which can't quite compare with the original films or even the prequels, brought back some strong waves of emotional memories from some of the transcending cinematic moments those movies provided.

This is a true treasure trove for fans of "Star Wars," or even people who enjoy mocking the films' sillier aspects. What impressions did the game make with you, Sean?

Sean Newgent: When I was a kid, "Lego Star Wars" was a staple of my gaming diet and to return to not only a nostalgic franchise movie-wise, but also game-wise, had me a tad emotional as well Phil. While you'll have a hard time getting me to sit through the prequel trilogy at my age, getting the abridged, Lego version through this game has been an enjoyable experience. Even for those of us who think the latest trilogy was one of the worst things to happen to film since the last worst thing to happen to film, it's still a delight to play through the episodes in irreverent Lego-format.

Each of the nine films is given five individual levels focusing on the most exciting moments. Most of this comes down to ship combat or little boss fights. Getting to fly around through iconic Star Wars moments in X-Wings or even the Naboo fighter Annie uses to take down the Trade Federation is so much fun with a sense of speed and a 360-degree range of movement that is easy to grasp and arcade-y in a way I feel many games totally miss. Then the lightsaber battles offer up varied gameplay, changing the button inputs to allow for blocking, dodging, and a number of quick-time-events that really make these fights feel weightier than you would ever think Lego battles should be.

That variety and polish was a stand-out to me Phil but what stood out to you?

Phil Villarreal: I mean, with a two-year extension along with 16 years of "Lego Star Wars" history to work with, it had better be polished, right?

What impressed me most is how far "Lego Star Wars" games have come along since the creaky versions from the early days. Gone are the obtuse puzzles, bottlenecks and dialogue-free cut scenes. This compilation is fan service at its finest, delving into all nine games with an obsessive eye for detail and boundless sense of joy.

I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to plop characters into situations that the movies never found them, and stage melees between heroes and villains from different corners of the "Star Wars" universe. At its finest, this game is a sandbox extravaganza with a seemingly limitless amount of "Star Wars"-branded characters and settings to mess around with.

The game is such an exhaustive accomplishment that it's just about impossible to imagine a film adaptation that stands up to the amount of material there is to play with here.

Final thoughts, Sean?

Sean Newgent: There is so much content here. Hundreds of collectibles and unlockables including characters, ships, and even the cursory upgrade system it feels every game has to shoehorn in. On top of the 45 levels, there are massive hub worlds where you can access those story levels or do side quests, complete puzzles, search for every little brick to get that hundred-percent completion status, or play as your favorite character just to wreak havoc on the townsfolk. Rolling around as a Droideka and terrorizing Coruscant's little brick people has a certain childish appeal and can bring a smile to anyone's face, no matter their age. Reenacting "Falling Down" in Dex's Diner with Obi-Wan had to be one of the toybox roleplay highlights of my time so far with the game.

My only real critique of this otherwise fantastic game is that those hubworlds feel empty and a bit soulless. The architecture is not made of Lego's and the maps can stretch for huge stretches making them feel more like liminal spaces than cohesive, interest worlds. While there are civilians walking about and collectibles to find dotted throughout, hubs like Theed on Naboo or Kamino's clone facility are needlessly large. If you're just roaming through to get from one story mission to another, it can feel a chore.

That's a minor gripe though on an otherwise fantastic game, well worth the 60-dollar price tag. "Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga" is fun for adults, kids, grandma, and even those who don't like "Star Wars". It has so much variety, content, and pure joy. All in all, it's definitely not another Lego brick in the wall; this game stands alone as a crowning achievement for the long-running franchise and one of the best games of the year so far.

Past game reviews by Sean and Phil:
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
Diablo II Resurrected
NEO: The World Ends with You
Rainbow Six: Extraction
King of Fighters XV
WWE 2K22
Weird West

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Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star, where he was a movie critic, columnist, and reporter. He has penned three books: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, Stormin' Mormon and Zeta Male. A University of Arizona business graduate, he has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing phil.villarreal@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Sean Newgent is a producer for KGUN 9. Sean has been with KGUN since January of 2020 producing newscasts. Sean graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in broadcast journalism. While at ISU, Sean wrote movie reviews for the paper, anchored and produced student newscasts, and was nominated for a student Emmy for broadcast film reviews. He has also written a number of anime reviews, as well as reviewing movies, TV, video games, comics, and books. In his free time he is a voracious reader of history and writes weird horror short stories. Share your story ideas and important issues with Sean by emailing sean.newgent@kgun9.com or by connecting on Twitter.