After blasting through all three "films" in the Lego Star Wars game, I walked away from the experience feeling that these stubby, super-deformed and cartoony characters had just provided me with more entertainment and a deeper sense of satisfaction than George Lucas and the entire Skywalker Ranch could manage with their insanely powerful computer graphics and hundreds of millions of dollars.
Make no mistake—I consider myself a Star Wars fan, but I have very little love for the last three feature films. Soulless, stiff, and with an overriding focus on special effects, the magic of the Force has been stripped away on the big screen. Because of this problem, I was extremely surprised at how well this quirky little game managed to redefine the mockeries that are episodes 1, 2, and 3 into something worth spending time on.
Everything in Lego Star Wars is just so damn cute and friendly and that it's impossible not to like it, and by ripping out all of the unnecessary eye candy and insipid dialogue, the developers manage to condense the essence of the three films into one solid day of completely enjoyable gaming. However, while I do recommend the game, there were a few aspects that made me score it lower than Dan did.
My biggest complaint is that the developers obviously knew that the average player could rip through the entire disc in one day or less. As an attempt to extend playtime, there are peripheral objectives to complete. The one that got my goat required collecting 10 items in each level, necessitating exploration and thorough coverage of the landscape. While this doesn't seem any different than a lot of other games, the kicker is that most of these items can't be found with the characters available during the first time through the area. Repetition is not something I ever enjoy, and the fact that each level had to be played at least twice in order to unlock everything was pretty annoying.
The other big knock to the score was that the loose combat and enemies laid out in certain areas didn't seem very well-thought out. The problem isn't major, but there are times when there are too many enemies, and it's just about impossible to avoid exploding into a little pile of Lego pieces. I suppose this is nitpicking since the game is quite possibly the most forgiving in terms of dying and continuing that I have ever played, but I'm not a critic for nothing.
Those gripes aside, Lego Star Wars is a pretty fantastic little project as long as it's taken as both an homage and as a game that's aimed at and very welcoming of younger players. However, I would be willing to bet that people who are not kids or Star Wars fans will get significantly less mileage out of it, for sure.
In any case, it's funny how rearranging Lego blocks with the power of the Force feels like such a natural fit, but the developers are clearly on to something here. Lego Star Wars is easily one of the best games in the franchise to be released over the last few years, and quite possibly one of the best ever. Now, if only they would do the same thing with episodes 4, 5, and 6…