Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy Review
|Genre:||Third Person Lego Brick Action|
|Release Date:||September 10, 2006 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Paul Lowton (KendoMonkey)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is the sequel to the prequel, as bizarre as that actually sounds. The first Star Wars related item that has come out in the right order since the moment George Lucas realised that he really needed one more ivory back-scratcher. LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is the second game from Traveller's Tales which pits you in a LEGO/Star Wars hybrid universe. The first game focused on George Lucas' prequel films which I shan't mention due to the snarls and gnashing of teeth which often accompanies their names. This game therefore features the films - Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The first LEGO Star Wars game was really good fun to play, particularly in its multiplayer guise. Ok, it was a kids' game - but that didn't stop it being enjoyable and successful. It is on that firm basis that the second game comes to us - but how does it fare?
This game is very similar to the first but immediately furthers it simply because of the better quality of the films that this game is based on. LEGO characters are funny; there are no two ways about it. Maybe even funnier because the characters do not speak, though they can make odd noises and grunts or even a "Wahoo!" from Han Solo should you blow up the Death Star. For those who are new to Star Wars LEGO games, it's a third person action adventure type puzzle-solving, platform-jumping, coin-collecting, kind of game. At any one time your character, for example, Princess Leia, will be accompanied by other stars of Star Wars, say C3PO and R2D2. At a click of a button, you can choose to control whichever of the main characters is alongside you at the time. Different characters have, naturally, different abilities; for example, Obi Wan can perform force powers such as lifting objects or stunning foes, whilst the robots are usually good for unlocking doors. Many puzzles in the game focus around using the right man for the right job and, more often than not, it's about how to get the right person in the right place to do that job.
Which leads me onto one of the most irritating parts of the game; the quality of help your allies provide you with. Considering all the special powers that your entourage apparently have (and do have, if you're in control of them) they're completely bloody hopeless when you're not in control of them. Surrounded by 1078 Storm-troopers? Well, your friends might occasionally throw a punch (which doesn't affect the enemies at all) but inevitably they'll just try and stand in your way so you have to shoot through them and kill them in order to get a shot at the gazillion enemies that are trying to bring you down. Killing your friends doesn't affect you at all, but it does make clearing the screen an almost impossible task. Indeed, LEGO Star Wars has been designed with an infinite enemy generating machine; most of the time at least, so clearing a level of enemies is usually a thankless task.
The only other major bugbear I had with the game, almost a show-stopper on occasion, revolved around some of the puzzles. Maybe I'm just not their target audience, but I had a hell of a time working my way round some of the puzzles. I think it's one of those games where you're as likely to stumble across the puzzle's answer, as actually solve it. There's no real "brain power" involved, so perhaps "puzzle" is a little too strong a term to accurately describe your goals in some of the levels. It seemed that whenever my patience was most sorely stretched, the puzzle was not a puzzle at all but rather a corridor which I hadn't been able to see. Or a barrier I had to destroy which didn't look like a barrier. Perhaps the game could have done with some instruction at the beginning of each level. Not much - just a tip or two to put us on the right course. Or, when the player is fannying around for 15 minutes killing the same twelve dozen enemies over and over, figure out that it's probably worth giving him a clue.
It is almost a shame that there are any problems with the game because it is a heck of a lot of fun to play. Important set-pieces in the films are played out on screen by our mute LEGO pals, usually with a funny little twist. These little twists play out in the game, too, for example all characters are able to put on storm-trooper helmets (which gets them into areas otherwise forbidden to non storm-troopers) and so on (Chewbacca's does fit properly!). It's cute fun! There's not much depth to it, but there really doesn't need to be.
For example, throughout the game you can collect LEGO "studs" (coins, to you and me) and this is really nothing more than an attainment, in this case Jedi Status and really doesn't enhance the game particularly.
Unlike the previous game, there are also flyable ships, usable AT-ATs, and ride-able creatures. These little extensions help to keep you interested, especially when they're use makes up the level itself, e.g. the Death Star trench run level in your X-Wing.
Graphically the game is great - I don't think I could have reasonably expected more. The game environment is detailed, fun, and there are more hidden areas than you could shake a gaffi stick at. Death Star corridors are nice and shiny and reflective, outdoor areas are full of bits and bobs, and you can blow up loads of parts of the environment and collect the studs, which is very satisfying. The characters are nice and detailed, as far as LEGO characters go, and there are multiple versions of your favourites for the different scenarios they are in, for example Farm Boy Luke (sandy white hair and girly robes) and Jedi Luke ("metal" black cloak and robes). Darth Vader is really funny, for some reason every hint of malice and evil is removed from a character like that once rendered in LEGO.
I feel in two minds with this one really, on the one hand I really enjoyed the ride, I got a kick out of playing it and I know I'll play it again for laughs at some point. On the other hand, I wonder how much of that is fuelled by the Star Wars universe as much as anything else. Hell, even if it is, does that matter? Traveller's Tales have done an excellent job with this game and playing it co-op with friends is a riot, especially when they can't get the knack of double-jumping onto that moving platform!
- Excellent Fun
- Easy to control, pick-up and play
- It's Star Wars!
Not so good stuff
- Some of the "puzzles" are frustrating if you don't cotton on quickly
- Computer controlled friends are useless
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