Lego. Everyone’s favourite pieces of plastic… ah the memories. Building a house from only yellow bricks and then taking it apart to make a car. Then came themed Lego. Lego for Harry Potter, Lego for Spiderman, ah the fun I had with those simple toys. Then as we grew older there was Star Wars. A story about one mans journey to save the universe, but in this film it made saving the universe interesting by having droids, aliens and a man with severe asthma that has to wear a helmet a lot. But enough reminiscing. Traveller’s Tales have decided to merge these two childhood pleasures into one extravaganza of a sequel.
Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy is the sequel to the surprise hit of last year. So is there any difference between this one and the first game? Simple answer. Yes! Firstly, this game is based on the good films (4,5 and 6) and not the ones that made us feel like squishing Jar Jar Binks’ face into a blob of pink mush. But let’s forget about CGI Yodas, Samuel L Jackson and the lovely Natalie Portman. [hmmmm…Jar Jar..I mean Natalie! -Ed]
The first notable difference is the create-a-character mode which enables you to mix and match bits of other characters to create your own weird combinations, such as Grand Fett Kenobi, Luke Solo and Princess Vader. These characters can then be used in Free Play after completing a level. Also unlocked characters can be transferred to this game, but their pieces cannot be used in the create-a-character mode.
Another difference is the adaptive ability function. This changes the difficulty depending on the players playing style. This is an extremely good feature for young and new gamers alike. An example of this feature is that, say your struggling to destroy the Death Star, the game automatically changes to make it easier for you. This, luckily, doesn’t divert hardcore or casual gamers away from playing.
The vehicle levels, such as the attack on the Death Star, are in no way as linear as in the first game, but you are somewhat restricted. Although they are quite linear these levels are probably the most fun. Once you unlock other vehicles to play around with in Free Play, things just get better. Everyone knows it’s much more fun to destroy Death Star 1 in the Millennium Falcon or defeat the Imperial forces from attacking Hoth in an X-Wing.
Speaking of fun, the game contains spaceship loads of comedy. Even in the first level there are tons of visual jokes, such as Stormtroopers bathing in an escape pod. As the game progresses the humour gets that little bit weirder, such as during Vader and Luke’s meeting in Cloud City. Because the characters can’t speak, Vader has to hold up a photo of himself, as Anakin and Padme. Also when Obi-Wan tells the Stormtroopers to move along, instead of saying move along, he mutters it to comical effect. There are too many funny bits to write down, as it would take me all day long.
There are also bits that would have any Star Wars nut shouting at the TV in rage. In the game, Greedo shoots first instead of Han, which caused a lot of controversy when the film was released. But I doubt very much they would really pay attention to things like that when they are laughing at Death Star builders spinning round on swivel chairs, then falling off.
Although it has plenty of adult humour, you can tell this game is aimed at kids because Traveller’s Tales have used a system that means you never ever die in the game. You may be wondering, what use is that, not dying in games? Isn’t that the whole point, to challenge you? Well let me tell you, it works extremely well. It may not be the hardest game in the world, but it sure is challenging. To reach all the studs and mini kits, you sometimes have to jump into the great unknown. Also for those who want a bit more of a challenge when playing the game, there is the option to go back into any level, collect all the studs, golden brick and mini-kits to achieve “True Jedi” status. This means there is a lot of replay value. Finishing it 100%, collecting all studs, finishing all the levels including bonus ones unlocked by finding gold bricks will take a very, very long time.
The game progress with puzzles driving it along, some are hard (trying to get to the Millennium Falcon to escape the Death Star), some are easy (building a turret to blow open a door) or just weird (building a washing machine, to place a motorbike inside, to blow open a door). Some puzzles you may recognize from the first game where there was an Easter Egg, which enabled you to start a disco, in this game it is a proper puzzle with the music being a rock version of Vader’s March.
The graphics of the game are just superb and shiny. You couldn’t get better if you wrapped some Lego in extremely shiny wrapping paper and put it in a shiny room. It makes you feel like you are actually playing with bits of Lego. It’s simply magnificent to look at. The studs just gleam like rays of sun glittering on a clear blue sea, the characters shine like a bucket full of glitter and the depth of field effect, which makes things in the background a bit blurry, is just simply magnificent. Plus the character animation. [So I guess the game is shiny then -Ed]
With games these days the character animation is just bland, but with Lego Star Wars 2, even that makes you laugh. Such as, when a rebel trooper is idle, he stands to attention, looks around, picks his nose then quickly stands to attention again. Also when Han Solo jumps onto an animal such as a Dewback to ride it, he faces the wrong way and looks extremely confused and trust me it is funny every time. Also whenever a character pulls out a blaster or Lightsaber, each characters animation for this is different, with the rebels reaching for their blaster, only to realise it is in the other holster and when Han Solo twirls his blaster before putting it away. Then there is the jumping animation (yes even this is funny). When a Stormtrooper double jumps, on it’s second jump it falls flat on his face.
Then there is the sound. The background music makes you feel like you are watching the films again, with the scores from the film blasting out as you attack an unsuspecting stormtrooper. Then you have the sound effects which are the ones used from the film, and again, make you feel like you are watching the film. With the twang of the bowcaster and the blaster noises as you dodge the oncoming blaster fire.
There is one complaint however. The levels are just a little bit too long for comfort. Some levels you find yourself getting quite annoyed as you have to destroy yet another box or pull another switch to open a door, to pull…yet another switch!
Other than this, the game is superb, with all the problems from the first game ironed out and new bits added lots and lots of humour and puzzles that make it not too hard for young players and not too easy for older players. This game is a superb balance and you can tell that Traveller’s Tales has put a lot of effort into this game to make it a great game for youngsters and big kids alike.