There have been many Star Wars games in the past. There have also been many LEGO games. Merging the two franchises is something that has also been done before. But nothing with this kind of scope. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was something of a surprise reveal of E3, and it looks to be TT Games’ biggest effort to completely encapsulate an iconic franchise with the kid-friendly toy blocks, while offering plenty for gamers looking for more. We managed to sneak a peek at the game during E3 2019 to bring our LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga impressions.
A Trilogy of Trilogies
In case you missed the announcement, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga covers all nine numbered episodes of the Star Wars theatrical releases, which are collectively known as The Skywalker Saga. We were shown the main menu of the game, which allows players to choose any of the nine episodes to play through – none are locked out from the start (which means we were maybe one accidental button press, or one computer glitch away, from seeing some Episode IX material). TT Games even teased us with this tidbit of information, as they hovered over selecting the episode. Little animations played for each episode, and in the case of Episode IX, this was Rey jumping over the TIE fighter as seen in the Episode IX trailer, but in adorable LEGO form. Instead of seeing anything new from Episode IX early, though, we were treated to a visit to Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine.
Before plunging into the planet, however, we were shown a brief look at piloting the Millennium Falcon for a bit. A Star Destroyer came into view, and along with it a set of facts from the developer. For starters, the Star Destroyer, and all vehicles in the game, are all completely built out of real-life LEGO pieces. That Star Destroyer, for instance, if built out of LEGO blocks, would span over 100 meters in length. Such a set would obviously be impractical for most people to own, much less craft, as it consists of over 18 million bricks. All interiors of ships are also modeled, though we were not shown any sort of docking in our brief excursion in space.
A Familiar Binary System
Turning our attention to Tatooine, we were shown multiple landing locations to choose from. The old home of Luke Skywalker was chosen, which is a safe choice for any Star Wars demo. We were reminded that while the demo was being performed in single-player, co-op is most definitely still a thing in this LEGO game, as with any other. There are over 200 characters to play as, though we were shown only a small handful. TT Games proudly showed that they had fun with these characters, with C-3PO being able to be played with only the upper or lower half of his body, since he breaks apart so easily. The Force was also shown as a gameplay mechanic, which enables the player to interact with every single piece of LEGO in the game.
An attempt was shown to begin a side mission handed out by a GNK, or “Gonk” droid. Walking up to the robot as a human or other organic lifeform resulted in the speech of the droid to simply be “Gonk” repeated ad nauseum. Switching over to C-3PO allowed this speech to be translated into the mission’s objectives. Unfortunately, while the player was supposed to follow the Gonk droid, it didn’t want to cooperate, and its movement was never triggered properly – a reminder that we were watching a game that was very much in active development.
As we left the defective Gonk droid behind, we hopped into a landspeeder. After a short trip, it was easy to see sand build up on the vehicle, something that happens to all in-game vehicles over time. Once we arrived at our destination, a band of Tusken raiders attacked. Here, LEGO’s new third-person shooting mechanics were on full display. This sequence even involved aim-down-sight, or ADS, a first for the series. For the average gamer, it may not seem like a big deal, but this feature should make some sequences more enjoyable than the traditional camera angle and control scheme that is used in LEGO games. Segmented damage also applied, meaning the enemies reacted differently depending upon where they were shot. Think Dead Space but with LEGOs (and funny, not creepy), and you get the idea.
LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga Preview | PlayStation LifeStyle
TT Games mentioned something about their new game engine, but it was hard to pay attention when presented with the jaw-dropping detail of the single planet they showed off during the demo. Tatooine may just be a desert, but there are a lot of different textures to take in, whether that’s finely-grained sand, the occasional hardy plant, distant cliffs, or other land formations. Things were so crisp it almost seemed pre-rendered, but of course that wasn’t the case.
All this hyper-detailing present in the game’s world kind of made me disappointed that it was only inhabited by LEGO lifeforms. Then again, hyper-realistic worlds would perhaps look even more out of place if they were then populated by semi-realistic people. Besides, actual LEGO toys are played with in the real world, so it seems ultra-realistic environments fit quite nicely with the aesthetics of LEGO blocks.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga appears to not only be the most ambitious LEGO game, but it may just so happen to be the most ambitious Star Wars game to date as well. There is a generation’s worth of content busting at the seams, all in one game. With all nine main episodes of the franchise’s theatrical releases covered, The Skywalker Saga will hopefully become the game that Star Wars fans of all ages can enjoy playing together. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga launches in 2020.