LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (PC/Steam)

(Review archived from July 29, 2015)

As the title indicates, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is an amalgamation of two earlier games, LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. I’m calling this an amalgamation as opposed to a compilation due to the fact that the gameplay is presented as a single uninterrupted experience, rather than as two that are separate and distinct. Traveler’s Tales has also added some additional content that was not present in either of the earlier stand-alone games.

LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game was the very first LEGO game developed by Traveler’s Tales (henceforth referred to as TT), whereas the Original Trilogy was the second title they developed under the LEGO banner. These titles form the foundation of what are now familiar gameplay features found in nearly all subsequently developed LEGO games. The hallmark sense of humor is here (although like all of the earlier TT LEGO games, there is no spoken dialog), as are the simple LEGO building puzzle elements. We find a familiar hub based level structure with each level branching from that central hub, and of course the LEGO collect-a-thon aspects make their debut here including the requisite stud collection, mini-kits, red bricks, golden bricks, etc. So while a majority of the gameplay elements will be familiar to those who have previously dabbled in LEGO games, it’s interesting nonetheless see the ways in which TT was still experimenting with their formula, solidifying what would become their trademark style. This last bit is particularly interesting in the context of The Complete Saga, because you can see Traveler’s Tales incorporating lessons learned and improving their games between the separate bookends of the Prequel Levels (featured in LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game), and the original trilogy levels (as featured in The Original Trilogy). From a historical standpoint it’s striking to see how quickly Traveler’s Tales was able to deftly incorporate lessons learned from the first game and use them to improve the second game. From a gameplay standpoint though, this creates a bit of dissonance. Stylistically, the Original Trilogy is a much more robust game. The levels are longer and more complex, the puzzles are generally more interesting, the graphical elements are improved upon, etc. So while the levels in Complete Saga are presented seamlessly, in practice you will notice a very definitive division between the older (prequel) levels and the newer (Original Trilogy) levels. Speaking as a bit of a Star Wars nerd I’m happy that the Original Trilogy levels are the ones with better gameplay.

As I mentioned before, the gameplay elements here will be very familiar to anyone who has played TT LEGO games before. Given the ubiquitous nature of these games, you probably already know whether this game is for you. If you love the LEGO formula you’ll find a lot to love here. If the ‘break everything in sight collect-a-thon’ turns you off, well … these aren’t the droids you’re looking for. <groan> As I mentioned earlier, TT was still developing their trademark style in these games, so even those who have enjoyed more recent LEGO titles might find some of the elements featured here to be a bit rudimentary. The controls are (naturally) very familiar, but at the same time feel slightly ‘looser’ than later LEGO titles. Switching between characters can be a bit tedious since TT had yet to develop the character wheel system seen in more recent titles. This means that you need to stand directly next to the character you wish to switch to, and since you often have several characters crowding in on you this can lead to several instances of switching to the wrong character. This can be slightly rage inducing when you’re under attack. Speaking of computer controlled characters, they are basically useless while not under your direct control, and even worse you may find many circumstances in which they will actively become a hindrance. There were several circumstances in which I would need to destroy one of my computer controlled allies simply to create a clear line of fire. Get the heck out of the way Chewie! And while I’m on this topic, I won’t lie, sometimes I would randomly just lay a beat down on Jar-Jar, because … Jar-Jar.

I need to make special mention of the collectible elements in this game, because that aspect has really been dialed to eleven. If you’re like me and you like to unlock everything these games have to offer, well … you’re going to be here a while. You’ll need to play through every level no less than four times. You’ll play a level once in story mode which will unlock free play mode. Then you’ll need to play through free play mode to clean up any of the standard remaining goals in that level. Once you’ve completely finished the episode you’ll unlock Challenge and Super Story modes. So you’ll play each level again in Challenge mode to retrieve the blue mini-kits, and lastly you’ll play through them yet again in Super Story mode which is a time-based score attack and simply adds to your completion percentage. Four times for every level. Once you couple this with the fact that this game features unskippable cut scenes, it can all start to become a bit … tedious. As I mentioned, this part really only applies to completionists, so your mileage may vary significantly in this regard. I think this is another area in which TT was still figuring out the formula, which in this case meant finding an acceptable line between “collect a bunch of unlockables” and “OMFG, will it ever end!?”

The story is … well, if you don’t know it by now, you should schedule yourself for a Star Wars movie marathon, stat. Having said that, you don’t need to be a Star Wars scholar to appreciate the game for what it is. In point of fact it can be a great introduction to the Star Wars universe for young padawan Star Wars fans looking to get a toehold on the series. It keeps everything fairly light and deftly negotiates some of the darker aspects of the story. It’s also a great game to play co-op with young ones. The game treats its subject matter with great reverence and humor. As a Star Wars fan I enjoyed the game from beginning to end, and this game easily fits within the upper echelons of the greatest Start Wars games ever released. There are six levels devoted to each movie within the Star Wars saga, and among them you will find all the standard Star Wars set pieces you might expect in a game of this nature along with some surprising gems. The levels feature a mix of on-foot and piloted air/space craft missions. All the missions are paced very well, and keep things moving along at a nice clip. Furthermore the plethora of unlockable characters available keeps things fresh enough so that repeated playthroughs seldom feel stale.

Overall the games presented here are highly enjoyable and well done. Even in their first forays into LEGO games, TT was already onto a winning formula that would continue to be refined in later games. This game gets my recommendation for fans of simple puzzle-based action adventure games appropriate for gamers both young and old, and especially for being a great co-op game.






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