Review by ghostrider9876

"LEGO + Star Wars + lessons from first game = Gaming bliss"

Intro
So quite a few people are familiar with the first Lego Star Wars, based on the first three episodes of Star Wars. The game was well-received for its humor, originality, quirkiness, and fun factor, as well as several unlockable characters and a few bonuses. The question is, can the sequel be as good--or even, possibly, better? The answer is a resounding yes, as detailed below (categories listed in my personal order of importance):

Gameplay/Controls
I'm pleased to say the controls for this game are as simple to learn and master as the first. X for attack, A for jump, B for special, Y to change character/vehicle, and that's really about it. No real difficulties there.

Like the original, each stage is split into Story and Free Play modes. Story puts you in control of fixed characters, playing through the level as it appeared in the movie. Free Play is available when a stage is completed, allowing you to explore the level with characters of your choosing and access previously unreachable areas and secrets. A big plus in this one is that you can import any characters you have unlocked in Lego Star Wars I to use in Free Play, provided you have an existing game save for it. (Darth Maul, Jango Fett, or General Grievous, anyone?)

The game still sports the two-player drop in/drop out style cooperative play, which is still quite fun. Nothing like stopping in the middle of a level to lightsaber-duel your buddy, or teaming up to take on a neverending tide of Stormtroopers.

The fun and impressive gameplay found in the first has changed--but for the better. It's still a lot of fun, but the challenge factor (one of the only major complaints about the original) has been ramped up. You still respawn right where you die at only a loss of some studs, but with the adaptive difficulty option, you may find yourself dying a good bit more. Especially when 50 Stormtroopers flood the room from all directions. Which is another thing about this game versus the first; the action in this one feels a lot more "fast and furious," as it were. It seems like there are more enemies on screen at a time and you're getting shot at a LOT more. Plus, there will be times when you need to build or Force something in a place with continuously respawning enemies. Still, don't expect Ninja Gaiden or Panzer Dragoon Orta.

Other gameplay improvements of note: Blaster characters are now somewhat more useful than they were previously--the Force is no longer necessary to build many of the in-game objects, and blaster characters can now dodge shots in answer to the Jedi deflection move. Jedi characters can now "mind-trick," which does occasionally come in handy to stun enemies.

Graphics/Sound
Alright, this isn't Elder Scrolls: Oblivion we're talking about, but it doesn't NEED to be. After all, these are meant to resemble plastic building-block toys. The entire universe looks believably like it was built from LEGO blocks. Every once in a while you'll encounter a slight hiccup or slowdown, but it's barely noticeable and never really a problem. I haven't seen anything that looks ugly or out-of-place; everything seems to fit the look and feel of the universe. However, if you seek to be absolutely blown away by staggeringly beautiful graphics, these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Sound is, predictably, the John Williams Star Wars music, but there's nothing wrong with that. It sounds good, it fits the environment, and the music changes tempo and style to fit the action or slow periods. Lightsabers sound like lightsabers, blasters sound like blasters (in my opinion better than they did in the first game), 3PO sounds like an effeminate British man, and of course a certain villain sounds like he's breathing through a heavy-duty respirator...

No voice-overs in the game, just like the first; the characters convey the story with gestures, expressions, and vague mumbling sounds. (Stormtrooper mind-tricked into "These aren't the droids we're looking for...Move along" becomes "Hm-mm" with emphatic head-shaking, while seeing stars and obviously dazed.)

Story/Presentation
If you've seen A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, you know what to expect here. If not (where have YOU been living?) I won't spoil it for you. The game displays scrolling text identical to the films prior to every level giving all the pertinent information. The movies told a good story, and though the game takes a few minor artistic license for the sake of making a good game, it's essentially a very faithful rendition of a story most people already know if they love or hate.

Length/Replayability
Length has been significantly upped from the first game. Some levels can now take an hour or more if you're seeking out every last secret, stud, and minikit. Even on a straight story-mode playthrough, the levels are noticeably larger and take longer to complete than the game's predecessor. There are a slew of unlockables, extra characters, the character customizer, and the stuff you can build with the Gold Bricks--it'll take a while to 100% complete this game.

Having said that, it's still not the longest game out there. If you want a long game, go buy Morrowind or Oblivion. If you want a long Star Wars game, go buy Knights of the Old Republic or the Galaxies MMORPG. This game is a bit short, but it's an awful lot of fun while it lasts.

Replayability--aside from the aforementioned unlockables, most people who like this game will want to replay levels in Free Play mode just to try out different characters, explore, get studs, and blow up the evil Imperials, not to mention relive their favorite movie moments LEGO-style.

Additionally, the two-player drop in/drop out cooperative play will help extend this title's life and replay factor.

Also, the ability to import all characters from a Lego Star Wars I game save gives the player that much more in the way of options for Free Play mode.

Rent/Buy/Avoid
If you're a Star Wars fan, have any LEGO nostalgia, liked the first game, or just like humorous, fast-paced action games that are great for pick-up-and-play, do not hesitate to BUY this. If you're concerned about the title's relatively short length and low difficulty, it's still worth a rental. Also, if you have younger children and are looking for a family-oriented game, you can't go wrong. This game has no blood, no gore, no objectionable content, a very low violence factor (enemies break into LEGO pieces when destroyed), and it's not too difficult for children. Plus, with the two-player co-op, parents can jump in a play alongside the kids.

Final Thoughts
The first game was terrific, a real joy to play; this one has taken what few things weren't great about the first one and fixed them, as well as improving on the good things from the first in almost every way. It's hard to go wrong with a title that's this much fun, and it's practically impossible to avoid smiling (or even laughing out loud) sometimes at this game. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play as Lego Darth Maul, build a Lego AT-ST, and blow stuff up in Lego Mos Eisley.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/14/06


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