I honestly didn't know there were this many Star Wars characters.
Maybe I'm a n00b to the universe, I dunno. I mean, I know the staples… your Yodas, your Obi-Wan Kenobis, Padmes, and Leias, but I didn't know there were green Jedi fellas with fleshy dreadlocks that swing around like crazy while they're hacking off droid limbs. But when they're all little and misshapen and Lego-ized, they're all
cute (yup, even the uglier ones). Also, Yoda's almost the same height as everyone else.
(Shenanigans, that's not right! He's supposed to be tiny, a freakin' Jedi superball!)
I didn't watch any of the Clone Wars
, which might explain my lack of character knowledge, but I have played a few levels here and there of earlier LSW
games, and this plays like every one of them. It's not surprising, since it's a platforming system that works well enough, except for a few camera angles that can skew the depth-of-field and screw with some platform jumps. This is as simplistic as can be: jump, shoot, swing your Lightsaber, use the Force, build stuff, or hop onto a speeder.
There are three main types of stages: the hack-and-slash fare, huge battlefields with armies marching around - sometimes aimlessly - and interstellar warfare. The saber duels are always fun and worth looking forward to, repetitive as they might be, but the space battles have limited appeal, similar to the Gummi ship in the first Kingdom Hearts
: You fly on a flat plane and aim only at a few, gigantic pink targets. The big battles get frustrating as they drag on and as you die over and over again.
But one thing does stand out about each and every stage: They have some replay value. Once they're beaten and unlocked, in order to complete every objective and earn every unlockable, you have to trek back in with certain characters and reach a few areas that were blocked before. Some of the levels, though, can last a half-hour or longer each, so taking extra time to go back in and start them over sounds more like a chore than a bonus, especially since the same few puzzles show up time after time.
Selecting missions is all well and good, and when they're accessed on a huge
ship that's filled with fun, little things to explore, it's all the more fun. It reminds me a lot of the Toy Box mode in the Toy Story 3
video game: a wide-open space where you can run around, drive, and fly stuff you've unlocked, or just swing for the fences and collect cash as you destroy objects. It does strike me odd that the ship is only carrying people you've met and boxes full of money, but I guess that's what the Lego franchise does... prints cash.
However, the main problem is that even with the replay value in each level, you probably won't really feel like replaying everything again. Unless you're a true completionist, there's not much of a draw to replaying a level that's essentially the same thing as a number of other stages. The only difference is you're bringing your old pal R2-D2 or a dark Jedi with you to unlock a few special spots. It's simply not compelling enough, which is sad because the levels, while fun and long, are also fairly limited in number.
Still, it's Lego Star Wars
fer cryin' out loud. The scenes that "tell the story" (read: gibberish from Lego people that sort of look like their Clone Wars
counterparts) are all funny, which is a great comedown from the serious games that have taken over the market. And it's not just cute-funny; it's filled with classic slapstick moments… and they're in space! Even if you've played it before, it's still worth playing for the new clips of bonks, slaps, and spilled coffee. And I've met SW nerds
before, they just can't get enough… and unlike some of the other recent titles, this series is still worth the attention.