Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
What more can I say than this? If you're an avid lego collector, or you love the Star Wars films just that much, you'll like playing Lego Star Wars. Essentially the same game as its predecessor, there's no real gameplay differences in this sequel, and I have to say I'm happy with that. If you've played the first one, you've already played through the Star Wars prequels, platforming your way from Phantom Menace all the way through Revenge of the Sith. This time it's Luke's chance to stack some bricks.
As you progress through the game you'll unlock all manner of characters to play with. These characters let you go back and unlock the parts of the level you couldn't normally get to with the characters you'll play in story mode. Depending on who you take into a mission you'll be playing Jedi, Sith, rebels with blasters, droids, or even utility characters like R2-D2 and C-3P0. Each type of character has a unique ability that allows you to explore different parts of each stage. The reward? As you collect enough studs and hidden items, you build special lego kits that you can view in a gallery.
My one complaint with this game is the flashing text. If you don't have a 2nd player, the game continuously flashes 'Insert Controller', which can't be turned off. It sits in the upper right hand corner of the screen, but man it is annoying. Plus, the menus repeat the same flashing element, driving me into crazy, epileptic fits. Just kidding, but it is definitely annoying.
All in all, this is a fun game, but it is for a specialized appetite. If you're not a fan of the first one, don't bother.
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Yes, It's Better than the first one. But not because Traveller's Tales have taken the gameplay in a different direction. The reason LEGO Star Wars II is better than its precursor is simply because A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Buck and Return Of The Jedi are far better movies than those other ones George Lucas made.
Princess Leia is hotter than Patty or Panda or whatever her name was. Luke Skywalker is way cooler than Anakin 'Nooooooooo' Skywalker. And I won't insult you by comparing Chewbacca and Jar Jar Binks - that's like comparing peppermint ice cream and some sort of poisonous version of the same thing. This doesn't need pointing out, but the trilogy of movies this game is based on gives this game a very big triptych of reasons to gloat over its sibling.
Lucas rants aside (for now), if you haven't played LEGO Star Wars, this game will appear intimidating in its childlike innocence. The snap-together combination of a very rich Dane's plastic bricks and a very rich American's space opera, it's what a more traditional journalist might call a nerdgasm (that's a nerd's orgasm).
LEGO Star Wars is so appealing because it never takes either of its foundations seriously. It's a parody of Lucas and it's a parody of knobbly bits of plastic, sometimes both at the same time. It's just brilliant, and that's where the game's charm lies. Whether it's in a plastic Princess Leia's attempts to jam a disc into R2-D2 where the slot would normally be, before just opening his head and chucking it in, or Obi-Wan Kenobi using the Force to disassemble an Imperial blast door and arbitrarily reassemble it as a TIE fighter in order to proceed, LEGO Star Wars' charisma is evident throughout.
In fact, it's what carries the game through three episodes. The gameplay itself is quite basic, and without the deliciously subtle (and entirely mute) humour, the game just wouldn't have any impetus.
The on-foot sections, for example, are essentially the same as in the previous game. You take command of a tiny brick edition of a Star Wars character, playing through the biggest scenes of each of the classic movies. The attack on the Death Star, the bit with the massive party everybody had with pointless CG fireworks, it's all in here. Using blasters and lightsabers you plough through hordes of Stormtroopers, Imperials and a revelatory father figure, who now presents a choking hazard in more ways than one.
Lego Nazis? I hate those guys
What with Traveller's Tales wallowing around freely in Lucasfilm's intellectual property like a rich lady's fat spoilt cat we can't help but wonder what other movie licences the team might get their hands on. Well, by that we mean we can't help but wonder if they'll make a Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures game. It'd probably be another platform adventure, with references being chucked about like confetti, but we'd still love it - especially the bit where your bump into a LEGO Hitler and get his autograph.
In fact we'd love a whole range of notorious tyrants from history portrayed in LEGO. Get on it Traveller's Tales.
The licensing duo proved to be a cash cow in its inaugural trip around the galaxy. This game focuses on the first three films (the good ones) and crams tons of extras that should make even the most jaded Star Wars nerd leap for joy.
Along time ago (actually; about a year ago), the blockheads at developer Traveller's Tales teamed up with Star Wars to piece together an unlikely game of Legos and lightsabers. Well, the Forceful combination worked--roughly 3 million Youngings forked over their Jedi dough for the first Lego Star Wars. But now that the prequel trilogy is complete, we'l finally get our hands on the only movies that matter: Episodes IV, V, and VI. Let's take a little star tour through the game via some key scenes.
Before Luke masters the lightsaber, Han Solo's blaster will be your weapon of choice--and expect gun-toting characters to do more now than just stand and shoot. "In the first game, the Jedi were able to block shots," says Production Assistant Jeffrey Gullett. "You'll now see a similar mechanic with the blaster characters--hit the attack button while a bullet is coming in and you'll dodge it." Evading enemies isn't the only new feature, either--Han now has a signature dive-and-shoot mechanic, perfect for picking off stormtroopers while escaping the cantina.
Saving the Princess is a big point in the game, mainly because it's one of the few times when you'll sport a party larger than three--during the Death Star rescue, you'll be toting along up to six different characters at a time. Playing as the Princess really packs a punch, too. "A lot of the main characters have distinctive melee attacks," says Gullett. So if you're tired of the typical blaster/saber combination, play as Leia and bitch-slap your way back to the Millennium Falcon.
Attack of the Death Star
The climatic finale of Episode IV showcases the new free-roaming vehicle levels, so now they won't feel like some cheesy Star Wars-themed Disney ride. "You have total freedom to go everywhere. You're not on rails anymore," says Gullett. Making the ship sections less of a tacked-on feature is definitely a good thing. And like whacking Jar Jar, blowin' up the Death Star never gets old.
Lassoing the legs of AT-ATs isn't the only thing you'll be doing in this level (though it's got plenty of that, of course). The real fun conies when you replay this and other vehicle-based levels in the Free Play mode. "In the original, the vehicles you collect in the game just sat in the parking lot, but now you can take all those collected ships back into the level," says Gullett. Finally, you can bring AT-ATs to their knees any way you please.
Yoda schools Luke on the ways of the Force here, but don't expect a lot combat in this section--puzzles are one thing Traveller's Tales is beefing up, so prepare yourself for a bunch of thoughtful mind-scratchers. Also, Jedi characters won't be the only brains during this go-around. "Last time, only the Jedi could build and reposition blocks, but now all the non-droid characters have this ability," says Gullett. This means you don't have to swap to a Jedi every time you need to move a bunch of blocks.
Cloud City Battle
Yes, Luke still gets his hand hacked off, but it may be harder for some to reach that pivotal scene. "There's an adaptive difficulty option we're putting in that will monitor you as you play the game," says Gullet. "So the better you are at the game, the more difficult the game's going to be." If you manage to survive the fight with Vader, get ready for a funny cut-scene--if a certain Lego-centric problem is resolved, that is. "The Lego characters don't talk, so how does Darth Vader tell Luke he's his father? We're trying to figure out how we're going to make that happen."
Since Han is chillin' in carbonite, Princes Leia springs to his rescue decked out in her bounty-hunter garb. But the disguise ain't all for looks--when Leia (and other bounty hunters) are in full getup, they can toss thermal detonators. And because only certain areas in the game can be destro^d with these devices, this character type plays a large role in unlocking all of the game's many secrets.
Whether you adore or abhor the ewoks, the cutesy little furballs help turn the tide during the battle of Endor. But if you still can't stand their sight, you can create your own monstrosities by swip-swapping Lego pieces in the all-new character customization mode. Also, certain combos give you unexpected abilities. For example, if you put a lightsaber in Han's hands, he's suddenly going to have Force powers. Sadly, tiough, it's not possible to make a bitch-slapping Vader. Trust us--we asked.
The Emperor puts up a good fight, but not even Mr. Pruneface can stand up to the power of a father/son Jedi duo. One thing you'll notice during this battle is the Emperor's use of Force lightning; now all the Jedi characters have distinct Force abilities. "Before, there was only Force push, but now all the Jedi are going to have different Force powers. Obi-Wan has his Jedi mind trick, Darth Vader has Force choke, and the Emperor has Force lightning," says Gullett.