LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga Hands-On Preview – A Double Jump To Hyperspace And Greater Heights

As a 2005 retail slave, I stood at ground zero when Traveller’s Tales shattered the gaming world’s expectations, like a dropped Death Star™ 75159. If you had entered my shop seeking a companion experience for Episode III, the tractor beam of a sexy looking (yet total 6/10) “official game” would have caught you. Halfway to that shelf, an excitable me and the case for LEGO Star Wars would have intercepted you.

I saved so many from the Dark Side of that half-assed movie tie-in. Every regular who bought Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith quickly came back to trade it in. I’d not seen a greater return of the Jedi since 1983.


Conversely, the folks who trusted their feelings on this weird, “kiddy looking” alternative came back and were ecstatic—over the moon/space station. 17 years later, it’s with no small sense of déjà vu that I now prepare to gush to you about my hands-on with the next big double-jump in Star Wars gaming.

Not to build things up too much, but Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the sequel you’ve been looking for.

That’s high praise coming from me. Myself and my two young padawans (Luke, 12, and Ben, 10) have grinded our way through TT’s entire works. I’ve seen it all. Punched it all. I’ve picked up more studs than a Tinder power-user. However, while my heart containers overfloweth for this series, I’ve also got sequel fatigue. TT Games (as they’re now known) tend to deal in lower effort, intellectual property palette swaps these days.

In evolutionary terms, the LEGO franchise has become about as stagnant as a Dagobah swamp. The most recent releases have been polished to a stormtrooper sheen, but they’re also dangerously close to becoming an attack of the clones.

Skywalker Saga is a different Zillo beast. For starters, TT instantly impresses with a details heavy engine and a slick animation system which makes you feel like you’re starring in one of the many 3D-animated LEGO movies on Disney+. Better yet, the New Hope levels I played were basically an interactive Where’s Wally of uber-nerdy Easter Eggs and visual gags that don’t require a Wookieepedia-brain to appreciate.

More importantly, this reimagining has more depth than a Sarlacc. Pausing into the Holoprojector menu reveals that Skywalker Saga is thick with collectables and extra mechanics when compared to TT’s early 2000s efforts. While my demo corralled me into Episode IV and I therefore can’t speak fully to the size of the wider galaxy, the slice of the star map I saw was intimidatingly large. Tatooine itself is a (literal) sandbox with vast open plains and towns with more tasks than you can poke a gaffi stick at.

To survive in those wretched hives of scum, villainy and sand people, you’ll need true grit and a mastery of the enhanced combat controls. Instead of the OG, one button to whack or zap approach, your melee assaults include light, heavy and jump attacks on X, B and A, respectively. Mixing it up is imperative here as button mashing quickly gets blocked.

Fisticuffs is complemented by an over-the-shoulder camera on LT that enables free-aim shootin’, strafing and a rudimentary cover system. Obi-wan wouldn’t approve, but blasters no longer feel clumsy or random to use.

Speaking of Jedi, they can also hold B to Force lift, tap Y to parry or hold that same button again to manifest a floating menu of Mind-trick options. You can distract anybody not alerted to your presence, turn them against their pals or – and I found this especially cool – commandeer them completely via a quick perspective shift.

With every punch, slice or blast, you add to a combo meter that rewards speed, efficiency and will affect how many studs you’ll net. There’s also been a rethink of the “True Jedi” collection meter with the inclusion of Kyber bricks. The TL;DR here: stud collection must now fill up a bar segmented into three tiers, with each awarding some Kyber currency tied to skill progression.

For example, Kyber bricks can be splurged on class-based or core special abilities. The latter enrich every character you use – basic movement speed and things of that nature. The former boost the recognisable Star Wars archetypes you’ll use to solve puzzles, like Jedi, Heroes, Scavengers, Scoundrels, Bounty Hunters, Villains, Dark Siders, Astromechs and Protocol Droids. I also love that swapping between these is done via the left and right bumpers as opposed to the cumbersome old selection wheel.

Like an excitable Jawa hungry for mudhorn eggs, I dug through the entirety of the perk trees, and what I found was quite deep for a LEGO title. Each archetype comes with four main perks that can be upgraded to be three times as potent. There are so many strategic paths to choose here…

For example, people out to make the grind easier can invest in, well, self-investment. Astromechs can be made to earn way better stud payouts for hacking turrets and doors, just as your Threepio can earn extra scratch for translating NPC gibberish into side-quest triggering messages. Likewise, Bounty hunters can max out the moolah they earn from murdering enemies. Oh, and scoundrels can even earn a discount when buying ‘rumours’ and ‘game hints’ in the holoprojector.

Alternatively, you can turn your more “combat challenged” mini-figs into a Force to be reckoned with. A polished plating perk for your fairly useless protocol droids can turn them into a damage reflecting porcupine. You can also keep your scavengers alive by making them speedier climbers and/or gliders.

Lastly, I spied some pretty wizard combat upgrades. Stuff like better mind control duration/range for Jedi, cover-ignoring power shots for scoundrels, and even a better chance to make NPCs soil their leg pieces and run if you roll up as a dark side character. No judgment here. If I saw Darth Maul coming my way, I’d need a sith break as well.

I also noticed a ton of accessibility options. Things like a navigation assist that will pivot the camera towards the next (already obvious) waypoint in your story mission, a fall recovery that zips you back to your leap point without penalty, and an option to have the old health system. You know, the classic ‘collect heart” approach as opposed to these new auto-recovery health bars.

Other things I dug: rideable figures seem to be shoehorned in everywhere – be they gonks, banthas, sandspeeders, etc. I also appreciated that there were occasional path and/or tactics choices in each of the five levels that comprise an episode. You might take the option to build something to put out a fire to your right or build a mini vehicle to blast through the damaged door to your left. Alternatively, you might use some bricks to build a barricade that stops an influx of stormtroopers or spend them on a turret that lets you shred them to pieces instead.

If I could send one hologram warning to you, it would be as follows. Your social calendar is not safe. I diligently recorded all of the raw numbers present in the options menus, and the totals are absurd. You’re staring down the thermal exhaust port of a ridiculous amount of mini-fig ships to unlock (69 starships, 5 capital ships and 45 microships) not to mention characters to acquire (300, not including 7 DLC packs). I also saw listings for 225 minikits to collect, 135 level challenges, 140 side missions, 731 puzzles, 38 trials and 10 challenges.

The only bantha in the room I have to address here is the lack of online co-op. That’s quite an odd misstep given that A: LEGO Star Wars The Complete Saga featured it and B: it’s by far the most preferred method of playing these games. How did this decision come to be? Hasn’t technology only improved since 2007? I mean, did we lose a [star] war or something?!

But I digress. Beyond that curious shortcoming, this is looking like the most ambitious LEGO title TT Games has ever attempted. After playing it, I can confirm that all of the foundation blocks for greatness are snapped onto the big green piece already.

I also cannot overstate how much you’re going to boot this up, gauge the tasks ahead of you and utter your best “Wedge sees the Death Star” line. Bring on April 5th, because I believe this is going to be impressive. Most impressive.