Review by Master Ham

"Only the Force can build upon perfection, and it needs Legos to do it."

About a year ago I rented a game I thought I would simply play for a couple laughs with a buddy in cooperative, screw around and have a little laid back fun. I got it all. I even got a bonus on top of that: the best Star Wars game I ever played since Rogue Squadron. And it was made out of my childhood pastime: Legos. Here in 2006, Traveller's Tales has slammed a couple more bricks on top of the masterpiece, and we have Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.

Why is this series so good? You've heard it a million times: because it is simple and fun at the same time. And it's bloody Star Wars. Let's go break it down.

Graphics and Sound: 10/10

As you know, the graphics are made out of LEGO. And hell, they look like Legos to me. And very well animated Legos, for that matter. There is a lot of graphical detail you wouldn't expect from a game like this. The explosions are intense, the backgrounds have the flair of space battles, etc…but things are still kept simple. There are no fancy gun or saber designs: just a luger or a tube with light sticking out. I love the design, and so will you.

The sound is actually something that really sticks out as spectacular. There are things only a true Star Wars fan will recognize as an effect ripped straight out of the movie, such as Ewok speak, the lowering of the Death Star's tractor beam, the specific sound of the Millennium Falcon's blaster turrets…everything sounds the way it should. No problems.

My favorite part is the music. All the classic themes and some of the lesser known ones follow the action perfectly. This couldn't have been done by Traveller's Tales…only Imperial Stormtroopers are this precise.

Controls: 9/10

Exactly the way they should be. “A” jumps your character, “X” attacks and dodges, “B” sheaths your weapon, uses the Force, and does actions such as open doors and pull levers. “Y” takes control of a different character you're facing, and the control stick moves you around…everything is beautifully responsive.

I did notice one little problem everyone seems to experience. When playing as one of the six bounty hunters, sometimes instead of pulling a lever or pressing a button, your character will toss a bomb. Minor.

Gameplay: 10/10

Classic Star Wars action, put into Legos. I can't ask for more. A couple pieces of gameplay, all for the best, have been stacked on top of the first game. Your characters can now melee when close to enemies (Han does a punch combo, Leia slaps failures, Chewie rips Stormtroopers arms out of their bloody sockets, and Boba Fett knows kung fu). Blaster bolts can now be dodged with a spin move by timing an X button correctly, and blaster characters are much more useful because of this. They can also build things with their hands rather than needing the Force. Some objects, of course, are still for Jedi or Sith only.

Stages still flow smoothly. There seems to be more action and death in this one, but also more strategic puzzles. It makes for some longer levels, and that means more fun. Some areas of stages will even be recognizable enough to Star Wars fans that they will say “Princess Leia is being held in that detention cell. Level complete.” The difficulty has been upped, making it a bit more difficult to score True Jedi Status and minikits. There is also adaptive difficulty now, so things will get harder as you make progress. Also, each stage has a red brick which unlocks something extra for purchase.

Speaking of minikits, there are now uses for completing sets outside the Cantina. You can fly those ships in the bonus missions this time around. And yes, your lounge of death and destruction is now Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

The Cantina is a fun place to hang around. Take control of any character you wish, spend your studs on cheats (there have been massive amounts added), characters (see previous parenthesis), and gold bricks. These new bricks are what you're aiming for this time around. There are ninety-nine of them. You can earn them by buying them, beating a mission, getting true Jedi status on a mission, etc. Collect them all to get something vastly superior to anything.

To touch this all off, you can now create a character with a large mix of SW Lego pieces, you can Force Lightning and Choke with those two guys you know, and there are bounty hunter and bonus levels. And you can play as Admiral Ackbar and Grand Moff Tarkin. Automatic success.

Story: 10/10

There is nothing bad I could possibly say about the plot of the Star Wars trilogy. And when it's turned into Legos with cutscenes that manage to make me chuckle, you know you have a Godly piece of story.

These funny cutscenes I speak of can be viewed in the Cantina bar at any time.

Replayability: 9/10

Playing this with a friend is golden. Even alone, there is tons of entertainment searching for minikits, finding secret areas such as the Star Wars disco, slaughtering defenseless womp rats and Cloud City civilians…

Don't forget the simplicity of the game. It adds a lot to the game while it still lasts, but it also sacrifices depth.

Rent or Buy?

Buy Lego Star Wars II. It's a huge game, you would not get anything out of renting it. Like I said above, it's incredibly replayable. By the way, I got it for $40 the day it came out. Good price. This is the game you're looking for.

Well, here we have two paradoxal things: an actual good Star Wars game, and a sequel that is as good, if not better, as its original. That's something I've not heard in a long time. A long time. I don't need a mind trick to get my point across. Have I not said enough? Go acquire this game and shatter the bricks of the Empire.

The Force will be with you. Always.

Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/06

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