"Lego Star Wars," began Chris 'Skybricker' Capel, "you're shorter than I expected." The game turned to his side, and stroked a DVD case – Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. "You want this... don't you? You, like LucasArts, are now... mine!"
Mass Effect. Super Mario Galaxy. Assassin's Creed. Crysis. These four epic and long awaited games have enthralled or disappointed millions of players within the space of a single fortnight. Four of the most talked-about games of this year. But, being the bastards we are at the International House of Mojo, we're going to pick on the game hiding behind that lot trying to sneak by while we were distracted.
I don't know what I was really expecting with Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. Tons of new levels, a drastically improved and updated Revenge of the Sith episode, a Wii Remote-controlled lightsaber, unlockable Lego Indiana Jones, not just being Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II bolted together... to do the abbreviated review, the answers are "hell no", "god no", "not really", "yes I suppose", and "you've got a hope, haven't you?"
And yes, I am going to do the old Star Wars review tradition of naming every section with a quote from the films. Everyone does it.
THEY ARRIVED RIGHT BEFORE YOU DID – I'M SORRY
Let's go in random order with those expectations and start with the unpleasant truth first. Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is nothing but the first two games in a new box. If you own or have played through both LSW games there is really no reason for you to own this one. Yes, there are some nice graphical updates (especially for those of you who own an Xbox 360 and feel the need to buy this instead of Mass Effect (i.e. Knights of the Old Republic 3). On the other hand those owning a PS3 may want to purchase this just so they actually have a game to play on that isn't crap. I'm especially impressed by the Wii graphics, falling as they do somewhere between Xbox and Xbox 360 levels – which is exactly where they should be. It's amazing how many games don't bother optimizing their graphics on the poor ol' Wii.
Unfortunately, graphics are nothing with something like Lego Star Wars, which the series always used to its advantage by being fun to actually play. Trouble is we've played this particular game before.
Remember this interview we posted a while back? Remember how we were promised at least two new levels? Well, we got one. One measly level. The bounty hunter chase through Coruscant in Episode II. And it's not even a particularly good level. The vehicle levels are all still frustratingly fiddly. Where's my Yoda vs. Emperor battle?!
Ah, apparently the 'Anakin's Flight' level is unlockable, not available at the start. Still, that's only two new levels and they're both vehicle levels. No fair.
SURPRISED, ARE YOU?
It must be said that I was not really expecting many changes to Episodes I, II, IV, V, and VI. I was on the other hand expecting changes to Episode III. The first Lego Star Wars arrived before Revenge of the Sith was even released, and so didn't have the same level of polish and detail of all the other episodes. In some cases it differs wildly from the storyline, such as having Commander Cody get killed by General Grievous or stormtroopers fighting alongside battle droids on Kashyyyk. And it doesn't have the excellent John Williams score for the film.
Well, at least that last one has changed. Yes, the level music is now Sith-tastic... although the cutscenes remain unchanged. Apart from that, nothing is new. The Grievous/Utapau level in particular seems frustratingly sparse now that we've seen the film. A "lost level" for Episodes I and II but not for the other prequel Episode that actually needed expanding? Shame on you TT.
Getting back to the music just a sec, it is really cool to hear Williams' epic 'Battle of the Heroes' during the Anakin vs. Obi-Wan fight. Even LucasArts' own ROTS game didn't have that. Shame it's all still really silly. But then that's Lego for you.
NOT AS CLUMSY OR RANDOM AS A BLASTER
The reason I specifically went for the Wii version over the flashier 360 version (which also came out a week earlier) is of course the chance to use the Wii Remote as a lightsaber. In practice it does exactly what you'd expect. Swinging the Remote is the equivalent of pressing 'fire' with a Jedi or Sith character, but cleverly doing the same action with a blaster-welding character does nothing – you have to press the Remote's trigger to shoot. A gentle flick will also fire a grapple with the characters who can use that ability. It also has another superb function that I will get to shortly.
Nevertheless, it doesn't work quite as well as hoped. When facing multiple opponents the agile lightsaber moves you want to pull off are replaced with just frantically waving the Remote back and forth like a modern version of ye olde joystick-waggling. And combined with the fact that attacks are easier to do with the B button makes the long craved for Wii Lightsaber a little bit disappointing. Guess we're waiting until The Force Unleashed, whenever that decides to turn up.
Of course it really depends on whether you put in the effort. A player's enjoyment with Lego Star Wars on the Wii is directly connected to how much imagination they want to use. Once you convince yourself that the Remote is indeed your Jedi weapon, then actions such as deflecting blaster bolts become immensely cool. Kids won't have any problem with this, but us jaded adults might have a little difficulty. Once you do though you'll be pretending to carve up troopers like the greatest Jedi ever. Particularly if you buy that battery-powered laser sword accessory.
YOU LOVE HIM, DON'T YOU?
All of this fun Wiimote Waving™ is nothing compared to the main event. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present, about six months early... Lego Indiana Jones! Unlockable after viewing his game's trailer in the Cantina hub's film room, Indy controls and looks much as you'd expect – as Han Solo with a hat and whip. Which in many ways is exactly what he is, so no problem there.
You know I mentioned another Wii Remote function, cool as hell? Well guess what – it's only Indy's whip! Flick the Remote, and Indy whips! Either as an attack or – joy of joys – to whip-swing at the grapple points! Exclamation mark!
True, he can only use the whip when he's close enough to something, whereupon he helpfully tells the player "that looks whippable" (not really, they don't talk do they?). You can't just use the whip anywhere. The pistol is his default weapon, and yes it's a proper bullet-firing pistol, no sneakily giving him Han Solo's blaster and hope we don't notice here.
If you want to nitpick, he's missing his stubble and his jacket's a bit too shiny. Otherwise he's probably the one reason for me to go back to this game. Well, okay, there're a few things to unlock too.
DIDN'T ROBOT CHICKEN DO THIS A FEW MONTHS AGO?
It's quite hard to do an 'overall' for this game, surprisingly. It's still the incredible 4-skull earning series we know and love, with high fun value and with now at last the content to match. However, apart from a few minor additions and an (admittedly wonderful) unlockable character, it's the same two games we've played to death. You could probably track down both games for less than half the price of The Complete Saga.
Therefore I'm doing two conclusions. 1. People who have never played the first two, and 2. People who have.
- I have never played a Lego Star Wars game. This is the definitive version of the game. If you want a fun Star Wars experience for all ages this is the one to get. TT Games really know their stuff and the added novelty of using the Wii Remote as a lightsaber is a particularly enticing attraction. And you get to play as Lego Indy early. Four Skulls.
- I have played both Lego Star Wars games. There is nothing to see here. Move along. Except for Lego Indy of course. Two Skulls.
Using my exceptional A-Level E-grade Maths skills, that averages out to an official score of 3. However, Indy charms another half a point out of me. Just don't forget the stubble next time.
Pros: Still the same great games, Lego Indy, Wiimote Lightsabers
Cons: Still the same great games, not enough new content