Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Switch) Review

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NOTE: The progress bug mentioned in this review has been patched on Switch as of version 1.0.3.

The Lego Star Wars franchise has been dormant since the release of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2016. For Nintendo fan reference, that means it was a Wii U and 3DS game. It was well reviewed and actually introduced some new concepts to the stagnating Lego series. However, it never quite recaptured the magic and nostalgia fans had for the classic Lego Star Wars games, particularly the first two, which covered the original and prequel Star Wars trilogies. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has the intimidating task of not only serving as a sort of remake for those first two Lego Star Wars titles as it re-covers those films, but also to give the sequel trilogy a full Lego Star Wars experience more in line with the pacing of the originals. All this while also pushing to continue the modernization of Lego Star Wars started by Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

At the outset, you’ll be able to choose from the first episode of any of the mainline Star Wars trilogies. Keep in mind this is purely the core Skywalker Saga so side stories like Clone Wars, Rebels, or the Mandalorian, along with movies like Rogue One and Solo are only granted passing references and a few characters on the roster. Upon completing any episode you’ll be granted access to the next one in that trilogy along with the ability to revisit the completed episodes with any characters you’ve unlocked from any episode.

Each episode provides a combination of structured levels, and wide open explorable areas. Regardless of where you are, you are always fully in control of the camera rather than the locked-off perspective provided by many other Lego games, causing Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga to feel a bit more like a modern third person action-platformer. Even the more recent Lego titles that have offered full camera control when in open areas, still tend to fall back on locked-off cameras during their linear stages. It’s a great change that, in combination with the cover-based shooting first introduced in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, makes for a much more involved and dynamic experience. It also helps the open world segments flow more naturally into the more structured, linear areas. Combat is also significantly improved even beyond what was done in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Melee attacks now feature a full combo system with different buttons unleashing different types of melee attacks. Lightsaber battles now involve more than just mashing the attack button, with plenty of opportunities to block, counter, and dodge. This isn’t Jedi Fallen Order by any means, but it’s a much more engaging combat system than has been seen in previous games, no matter what type of character you’re using.

If you push right through the primary story, each episode will take you around an hour to an hour and a half to complete, meaning you can roll credits in about 11 hours or so. That said, if you engage with the open world segments to do more than just walk to the next objective, your ultimate playtime could grow significantly. Each open world area is genuinely ginormous. At times perhaps even a little too much so. But each one is also littered with collectible minikits and kyber bricks. Minikits can be gathered to complete new microfighters while kyber bricks are used to unlock character upgrades. Many of these are simply hidden throughout the environment and reward exploration and platforming. Others are tied to specific side quests given out by characters across the galaxy. However, it is also worth noting that your access to many of these will depend greatly on when you play any given episode. Collectibles are often hidden beyond barriers only sermountable by specific character types. For example you may need a jedi to cut a hole in a wall, or a scavenger to build a unique tool to climb something. Luckily, these open world segments are generally outside of specific story events, meaning you’re free to swap in any character you want into your party, even if they weren’t born yet during the episode in question. On the bright side, this means you can give Finn the screen time he deserves, but on the other hand exploring early on is often fruitless. It sometimes feels as though you’d be better off finishing the game before doing any of the side content. Which is too bad, as it is the bulk of the content. This is a concept that has been a part of Lego Star Wars since the beginning, so I understand the desire to preserve it out of some sense of nostalgia, but personally I’ve never found it particularly fun. And in a game like this with so much content, it feels like padding that the game just doesn’t need.

Regardless of these minor design quirks, I’ve been very positive on the game overall thus far. For many of you this will no doubt represent your experience. Unfortunately, I also ran into a significant issue during my time that is impossible to ignore. During my playthrough of Attack of the Clones, I encountered a progress stopping bug that I was ultimately unable to work around. After encountering Jango Fett on Kamino, I entered lightspeed to chase him to Geonosis only to have the game crash during that loading screen. When I reloaded the game I was back in orbit around Kamino, but the prompt to chase him into lightspeed had gone away. I tried returning to the planet to see if I could prompt the event to start again but Jango was already gone. I checked my galaxy map to see if I could simply fly to Geonosis on my own, but it remained locked. Essentially the game knew I had entered hyperspace to chase Jango Fett and apparently saved, but had not triggered whatever flag would unlock Geonosis on the galaxy map. I tried loading into other episodes and coming back, restarting my system, and even reinstalling the game to no avail. Eventually I was forced to start a new game which meant I needed to play back through The Phantom Menace in order to access Attack of the Clones, along with restarting my progress through the other two trilogies. The fact that I could not merely restart a given episode without starting an entirely new game is disappointing as it would have allowed me to circumvent the issue with only twenty minutes or so of lost progress. Instead I was forced to replay multiple hours. Hopefully, this issue will be patched at some point as currently I have two save files, one for the prequel trilogy and one for the rest of the game with Attack of the Clones remaining stuck part way through, making it impossible for me to finish that save file.

Outside of this bug, which may or may not be exclusive to the Switch version, my experience on a technical level otherwise has been reasonably good. I’ve been particularly impressed with the draw distance in some of the open areas and the surprisingly dense crowds on screen at any given time. Geometry and texture pop-in are a noticeable cutback on Switch, with handheld mode in particular really suffering from low resolution assets quite close to the camera. At times, this also affected the iconic opening scroll. However, the package as a whole still manages to be pretty visually impressive across a wide variety of planets.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was ultimately a nostalgic yet surprisingly fresh experience that for the most part holds up well on Switch. The films covered in previous games feature entirely new takes, while certainly throwing in some references to those classic titles. My personal experience, unfortunately, was marred with a significant progress blocking bug. In the isolation of this pre-launch period it is impossible for me to know how widespread this issue will be. Hopefully, it will be patched in the near future, especially if it’s not exclusive to one platform. All I can say for now is that while I thoroughly enjoyed Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, I do have to recommend a little caution. Perhaps start with the prequels so that if you encounter this issue, you’ll only lose a little progress as opposed to half the game. Though it should be noted that I did have the desire to push on. There are plenty of games where a bug like this would have simply stopped me from playing, and while I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt my opinion, I still ultimately made the decision to start again and push past it.

Source link : Nintendoworldreport

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