I know that for some of you it’s difficult to take anything “LEGO” seriously but just see how serious you take it when you choke on one.
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is not a game to be taken lightly, that is if you want to have some fun, good laughs and incredibly entertaining gameplay all at the expense of the Star Wars franchise. Yes, the game lampoons the classic cinematic series but in the process it creates an alternate but independent Star Wars universe based on LEGO models which are based on the original Star Wars characters. This game has single handedly broken two cultural barriers: Star Wars isn’t just for nerds, and LEGO isn’t just for kids.
Amazingly LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy follows the events of the first three Star Wars movies – in other words, the good ones. Liberties are taken with the plot but that’s all part of the fun. The Story mode does a great job of keeping characters and events in chronological order. All of your favorite Star Wars characters are featured in this game including Luke, Obi, Hans, the Princess, Chewy, R2, C3PO and Darth Vader. If you played the first LEGO Star Wars game you’ll be able to import your favorite characters from that game into this one. Each character has unique powers which will come in handy for different situations. While the gameplay is rather simple, there are tons of unlockables to find which creates its own kind of challenge. You will have to scour the levels from top to bottom to find these goodies which include everything from new characters to new modes. The only way that you can access all of the areas in each level is to exploit the different characters’ abilities.
Luke and Obi have the Force on their side. With it they can move LEGO objects that would otherwise be immovable. They are also equipped with lightsabers which not only take care of enemies quite nicely but can also be used to foil laser traps which will get them into inaccessible areas. When it comes to ranged combat, Hans Solo and Princess Leia use laser blasters to take out the enemy from a relatively safe distance. They are also equipped with grappling hooks so that they can climb walls and get to higher regions. To get through locked doors you will need the skills of the droids. This is where R2 and C3PO earn their keep. They can hack into computer networks and retrieve access codes to open sealed doors. With his attached rockets, R2D2 has the added ability to propel himself across wide expanses. Being evil has its benefits as well. The dark Sith lord, Darth Vader also has the Force at his command and can also move various LEGO blocks and objects. In fact there are certain ones that can only be moved by those who have joined the dark side. All of these different powers will allow you to seek out hidden treasures located throughout each level. You may just want to tackle the Story mode first and come back for the collectibles later. Regardless of how you pace yourself there is always plenty of things to do in this game.
Aside from the main Story mode, there is a Free Mode which lets you play as any character in any level that you’ve previously unlocked. This is why it may be to your benefit to complete the Story mode first so that you can go back as any character to search for the unlockables. The Super Story mode is a race against time. You have one hour to get through one of the three movie episode levels. You won’t have any time to waste so you’ll just have to push through it. If you manage to accomplish this task you’ll be rewarded with gold bricks which you can use to unlock even more levels. In the bonus rounds you will be able to collect LEGO studs, a million of them to be exact. These studs are used like money. With them you can purchase weapons, power-ups and other goodies.
There is a lot of interactivity in the game, between characters as well as the environments. Characters can literally be combined using the Character Customizer which will allow you to make your own Star Wars characters out of any of the existing characters’ body parts. How about ChewLeia or Darth3PO? A plethora of objects constructed out of LEGO blocks can be smashed and reassembled into other objects such as stairs or ramps to help you gain access to a hard-to-reach area. In this game, as opposed to the first one, the vehicles that you build such as the Tie Fighters and Star Destroyer can actually be used.
Another player can join in anytime and instantly access the Co-op mode. There is always another AI character with you and the player will assume the role of that particular character the instant he or she enters the game. That character can then be relegated back to the AI at anytime and the main player will not be affected at all by the change. This is a well thought-out system that will encourage multi-playing with even the most inexperienced of gamers. It’s unfortunate there isn’t an online mode but considering how much is offered in this title, one can’t really complain much.
The production values are good but they aren’t great. There are some camera issues but you do have more control over it than with the first game. There are some framerate hiccups but overall it’s relatively smooth going. The characters look amazing and the stages are filled with detail and depth totally befitting the LEGO/Star Wars universe – which is basically composed of shiny, plastic, material. There aren’t any voiceovers but I hope you weren’t expecting this to be voiced by the original cast. The score is obviously composed by John Williams and even though you’ve heard it before, there’s nothing else that could be more fitting, save perhaps the entire orchestration performed through a shiny, plastic, Casio keyboard.
In a nutshell, LEGO Star Wars II is action, adventure, collecting, puzzles, races, mini-game, Co-op mode and your favorite Star Wars characters all having a great time. All you need is a copy of this game to join in on the fun. Highly recommended for players of all ages.
Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
|Rating out of 5
When it comes to graphics that are supposed to look shiny and plastic, you can’t beat this.
All of the Star Wars characters have different abilities which gives you lots of moves at your disposal. The controls are tight.
| Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
There are no voiceovers and the music may be too obvious but that’s Star Wars for ‘ya.
| Play Value
Go back and find all those unlockables. You’ll unlock new characters, new puzzles and new modes. Tons of fun without an online mode.
In the history of “Ideas so crazy they just might work”, the LEGO Star Wars video games stand as the shining example. by Patrick Evans
Growing up, LEGOs are toys that spark children’s imagination. From the simple building blocks of a house to the multi-colored “planks” of a pirate ship or a square, boxy build of a race car, the only limitation to what you can build is the imagination. So when last year, LucasArts reached into our childhoods with their retelling of Episodes One through Three in LEGO Star Wars. Answering the calls of countless fans, myself included, LucasArts will now retell the original trilogy in LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.
Starring the cast of the Original Trilogy, LEGO Star Wars II will refine the formula set by its predecessor in providing fun adventure gameplay and combat while remaining fairly accessible to casual gamers. One of the most important adjustments to the “ease” in gameplay will be the adjustable difficulty. If, throughout a level perhaps, you are getting your rear handed to you by various storm troopers and the like, the game will adjust its difficulty down to allow players to continue making progress through the game instead of giving up in frustration. On the other hand, if you are slaughtering everything you come across without so much as a ding, which may have been the case for some players of the original, then the difficulty will ratchet upwards to keep play interesting.
LEGO Star Wars allowed players to play as their favorite characters throughout the game and unlock countless goodies, but The Original Trilogy will go one better by allowing players to customize their character with interchangeable parts. That’s right, you can have the head of Princess Leia on the body of Han Solo carrying a light-saber while donning Darth Vader’s black cape. LucasArts will be rewarding owners of the original by using their save files to unlock the original unlockable characters. Including the original characters, over 100 characters will be accessible in The Original Trilogy, including Luke, Lando, Greedo, and every other memorable character imaginable.
The customization doesn’t end there either. Like in the original, players will construct different vehicles throughout the game to accomplish goals and clear levels. This time around, however, all non-droid characters will be able to construct vehicles from parts strewn across the stage. These pieces will be found behind obstacles and whatnot, requiring various character skills to access. Additionally, hidden model kit pieces will be hidden in each of the levels throughout the trilogy, allowing you to use custom vehicles, which aren’t found by default in game, through specific stages.
Character specific combat and moves will be expanded upon, making the difference between playing as Han Solo and Chewbacca two completely different gameplay experiences. While Vader may be able to use a Force Choke-Hold to defeat opponents, Chewbacca will be adept at ripping the LEGO arms off of stormtroopers. As stated above, various characters will be able to solve specific puzzles as well. Chewbacca’s brute strength would be useless in a specific stage, for instance, where Luke’s force abilities would be required.
These improvements and more, such as bigger level designs and a more competent camera system, will ensure that fans of the original will be more than satisfied by the LEGO telling of Episodes four through six. Look for the LEGO pieces to start flying late this summer.