May the brick be with you
There are good Star Wars games like the Jedi Knight
series, bad Star Wars games like Force Commander
and quirky Star Wars games like Lego: Star Wars
. Lego: Star Wars
took the gaming world by storm when it introduced fun/addictive gaming to a whole new audience through the medium of Lucas’ creation and the definite twisted humour of the developer: Traveller’s Tales
Now it’s the turn of the Xbox 360 to feel the force in the sequel to one of the best selling console games. Lego: Star Wars 2 – the Original Trilogy.Story
The story of George Lucas’ first three (yes – first three) movies back when I was a kid was one of the reasons I loved the films so much. There’s something about Star Wars that stirs the heart and puts a smile on my face still. So when I heard about Lego: Star Wars 2 I was wondering how close they’d stick to the original 3 films in terms of story and how much would they add in parody.
The Lego Star Wars games are known for their comedy and sense of ribald humour at times, this one is no different. The entire story is there and then some, it’s great to see it reflected with a distinct Lego twist and the attention to detail from the developers here certainly puts a lot of non-parody games to shame.
The story plays through Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi. And in this Lego version just like the original on good old cinema celluloid and home Super8, we get to see Han shoot first!
That takes me back.Gameplay
You play through the episodes in what ever order you decide, each episode is divided into several parts/chapters and you can only enter the next chapter after you complete the previous. You can play these chapters in Story mode to begin with and once you complete a story, just like the first game you can go back into Free Play mode and do it again to pick up missed secrets and extra bonuses.
You are often given control of one or two key characters from the story and must then go through and solve puzzles, defeat enemies and generally have a great time collecting bonus items and of course the currency of the Lego Star Wars worlds: studs.
These come in a variety of colours and give various score points based on the colour, collect enough of them and you’ll unlock the True Jedi meter and gain a significant bonus at the end of the chapter. The bonuses come in the form of Gold Bricks, and these special bricks allow you to construct the bonus doors and other features in the game to unlock more content.
At the end of Story Mode you can unlock characters based on how well you did. Collect enough studs (you loose a portion of them when you die), the whole set of Mini-kits and a Power Brick from each chapter and you’ll be on the way to amassing a fortune of studs that allows you to buy from the Mos Eisley Cantina shop.
Just like in the previous game you can buy characters, cheats, hints and other things from the shop. You can also play around with the mix and match character creator that allows you to create your own custom Lego Star Wars hero from the parts that are unlocked from playing the game.
If you want to put Darth Vader’s Head on Yoda’s body, or Yoda’s head on bikini-clad Leia’s body and replace a blaster pistol with a red lightsabre, you can.
You can change the colour of certain parts and the powers your hero adopts are based upon the objects or costume they’re wearing. So if I created something that had a Bounty Hunter feel to it, then they could lob Thermal Detonators for instance.
A red lightsabre nets you the Dark Side force character feel, whilst one of the heroic lightsabre’s will give you a Light Side force character.
You can name your character and take them into the Free Play game.
The game plays like the previous title with a few additions. The characters have a better control system, they have some new abilities. All characters (except for a few) can build objects in the world, doing so unlocks new pathways, may allow for bonuses and of course usually results in a collect spree jackpot-style stud payout.
New to Lego: Star Wars this time around are the build-able vehicles that allow characters to traverse the levels quicker (and some of these levels are huge compared to the first game) and get to places they normally can’t go. The vehicles range from the good old Landspeeder to the Bantha, which can be used to leap off from and gain more height.
Each character has their own distinct personality and moves that they can do. Han Solo is a flashy shooter and he can dodge the enemy fire whilst he returns his own in a snappy-shot kind of manner, very slickly done and extremely well animated.
You can often take multiple routes through an area and find hidden bonuses and special interest areas. Some of these are just homage’s to the movies but a lot of them have force based interactions or just interactive moments you can use to pump up your stud count or unlock an elusive Mini-kit part.
If you’ve played Lego: Star Wars then the controls will be familiar to you, except they’ve been tweaked and altered to make the game a little more accessible on this outing. Especially regarding the vehicle based missions where you’re either in a Snowspeeder on Hoth or piloting the Millennium Falcon through the asteroid field to escape from the Empire. These have been tuned and tweaked and unlike the first game they’re not the weakest part of the game at all now.
The puzzles in Lego: Star Wars 2 are usually fairly simple, they often involve breaking something in the environment to create a pile of pieces, these can be assembled into something (it could be a vehicle or an object to interact with) allowing you to further progress into the level.
The payoff for completing these puzzles could be an amusing mini-scene or a larger piece of another object to build, the fun in this game is discovering what the insane level designers have put together with a Star Wars feel.
In Free Play you are given the choice of which character you control and the game will assign you (from the large roster) a number of other characters that you can switch to with a flick of the controls, these will help you get to places you weren’t able to reach in Story Mode.
The game has an Adaptive Difficulty setting that can be toggled on and off, to make sure it remains fun and pitched to the skill of the player in question.
There are tonnes of unlockable characters, costume parts and bonuses to gain in the game and it features a drop-in/drop-out coop mode, that while is a lot of fun, has a fair few annoying bugs that spoil the excellent gameplay otherwise.
The camera is very tight and will drag the 2nd player around the screen if the 1st so much as breathes the wrong way. This can lead to various comedy deaths that are funny but frustrating when you’re losing studs left right and centre. There are some places where the other player must drop out, since there are some very tricky jumps and again the way the camera works is not conducive to cooperation regarding these – very often you’ll end up dying or missing the mark completely until the player drops out.
There’s also no friendly-fire setting, so when you have an over zealous friend join you it’s possible that you’ll end up being shot, punched, slapped or sliced to bits as they wade through a massive group of enemies.
It’s still a fun experience but it could have been much better with additional polishing.