LEGO Star Wars II
This is more than just the summer the Batman franchise is revived with Batman Begins, more than just the summer that brought us such things as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the fact that the 2005 Best Animated Feature Award will actually feature movies that isn’t the same old same old from Disney or Dreamworks, it’s also the summer that George Lucas hangs up his Pre-Trilogy Star Wars hat with Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith. Liked it, hated it, was one of the thousands of fans who suddenly cried out in terror and was suddenly silenced… regardless. One thing about this movie was clear above all else about the movie… and no, I don’t mean that Adult Anakin is a whiney sad sack of a character. No, I mean that the game based on this movie SUCKED!
Console or portable one thing was clear, the video game version of the movie Star Wars Episode III was a bad idea that somebody should have shot a couple of torpedos into before it fired it’s death beam into gaming systems everywhere. But still, if the Official Episode III game was so bad then people were pleasantly surprised to have had one of the best Star Wars gaming franchises ever also make it’s appearance that year. Besides Star Wars Battlefront and Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic there is one more series out there that the force should move you towards experiencing… the LEGO Star Wars Trilogy.
One of the most fun, innovative, slick in both humor and presentation games I’ve seen for the Star Wars line of games, this franchise may not have the graphic power of some of the other series but what it lacks in flashy realistic graphics it makes up for in solid gameplay that kept players going for hours on end (of which a dedicated player was rewarded once he or she achieved 100% completion with the unlocking of the IV room which opened up a “test” level showing what a possible playable LEGO Star Wars Original Trilogy game would look like. Now you don’t need to ponder this anymore as LEGO Star Wars gives way to LEGO Star Wars II : The Original Trilogy (whose release is linked to a theatrical counterpart much like it’s original version, only unlike the original whose release linked it to a theatrical Star Wars release this one is linked to the re-re-re-re-re-release of the Original Trilogy of Star Wars movies, now in both Classic and Special Edition versions on two DVD discs).
As the original’s “HQ” setting was Dexter’s Bar from Episode II, where you roamed the eatery into Image 1 of 7. Click to enlarge
Also once again the outside “parking lot” is where the models you “build” during your adventure are kept. Each level you find these “pods” which contain a piece of a model kit, the majority of which is found in Free Play, which is completed once you find 10 model pieces. Finding all ten model pieces is, by the way, one of the prerequisitites of finding golden LEGO pieces, which in turn can be used in assemble portals in the main area of the game which opens up Super Story mode of gameplay in each Episode (and two special things outside in the parking lot upon collecting 60 and all 99 gold lego pieces).
These can be unlocked by finishing any level with True JedI status (collecting X amount of studs, the “currency” used in the game), finishing the model kit of each level, finishing Challenge mode (finding a different set of pods in each level), or completing the challenges set forth by the special game modes set in the doors you build in the Cantina from gold LEGO pieces.
Image 1 of 7. Click to enlarge
The game is broken up into many modes of play, starting with the main mode. Story mode. Image 2 of 7. Click to enlarge
In each chapter (6 each) of each Episode there is a story mode, which plays out like the movies (lots of the visuals of the game are inspired by the movies) but with LEGOs only uniquely wicked twist on things. Don’t expect each “episode” to play out the same as the game allows for many diverging events and some twists which are both for humor and for setting the stage for each level.
Music is right on, with the appropriate music blasting for each part of each level, setting the mood just as it would have been set if you were watching the actual movie. Graphics are nice, and seeing everything in LEGOs is a trip, especially since the writers didn’t spare any expense in parodying Star Wars the movies in a friendly way, or throwing in some oh so NON Star Wars LEGOS into the mix. This means you can ride about a LEGO farm tractor, get some use out of a LEGO lawnmower in the lawn-free environment of Tatooine, find a LEGO ambulance to rip around in on Leia’s rebel transports in the
Image 2 of 7. Click to enlarge
Freeplay let’s you explore levels you finished with a set of LEGO characters, this being the chance to unlock new areas of exploration that you couldn’t before because you weren’t carrying the right character (several different character types with their own abilities means you need a rounded set of them all if you truly want to explore each and every level). And considering this game packs over 100 LEGOs (a vast improvement over the GBA original LEGO Star Wars) that means you got lots of characters to choose from, including the return of a few PreTrilogy LEGOs (Darth Maul always being my go to LEGO for freeplay).
Challenge is basically the same goal as assembling the modelkits, in that you need to find 10 pods in an area to complete Challenge mode.
Once you complete each chapter you’ll unlock a set amount of LEGO characters (each unlocked for either play or purchase through the store in the Cantina) and the ability to play Super Story mode (unlockable once you collect enough gold LEGOs in order to build the portal into each special area).
Super Story mode means you’ll have to play through the episode in a hour in order to beat this mode, or play through two areas in 5 or so minutes. Each of these challenges yields a gold LEGO block.
The amount of gameplay in this game means you’re going to be playing this for awhile (if the fact that you’re playing one of the most interesting and unique games ever to come out in connection to a movie series wasn’t good enough). With over 100+ LEGOs, and their varied abilities, the game itself with it’s button mashing action and set of puzzles that (though rudimentary) are interesting to tackle and overcome, and it’s many modes which will keep you playing for hours and hours just to reach that 100% pinnacle so you can see what 99 gold LEGOs builds on the outside parking lot? LEGO Star Wars II is as engaging, all consuming, addictive and just plain enjoyable as the first, moreso now that it’s set in the Original Trilogy as opposed to the original which was a PreTrilogy game (which may or may not have suited you). Image 3 of 7. Click to enlarge
You can’t go wrong here. What once was a solid game when Star Wars Episode III came out returns to being a solid game now that the Original Trilogy movies are getting yet ANOTHER release
Now if only I knew if there’d be a LEGO Star Wars III or not, then I’d know if I should rejoyce or not.
Image 3 of 7. Click to enlarge
LEGO Star Wars Breakdown the 2nd
The game returns to it’s happy place, remaining a solid proposition for gamers that the original was.
Sure, the Cantina is a quiet place since only two people (or people you invite over the wireless lobby most likely) can wander about at one time (which means you’re missing out on the strange interactions that happen between playing the chapters as LEGOs get into mischief while walking about), and sometimes the camera pans out so far back it’s hard to see your LEGO and what you’re doing, but those are small complaints compared to the fine gaming experience that LEGO Star Wars II is.
If you enjoyed the original romp then now is as good as a time as ever to try out the next gen of LEGO Star Wars. If you haven’t tried out LEGO Star Wars yet now is a good time to do so… either way, picking this up might be one of the best ideas you had in Star Wars related gaming.
Well, I guess we got a long wait ahead of us to see if we’ll ever get a LEGO Star Wars III or not. At least games like Thrillville (which I take is a LEGO game) should keep us occupied until that day when a possible LEGO Star Wars III hits (hopefully proposing a fictionalized “Episodes VII to IX”.)
Moments to Remember?
Way too many to remember here… really. But one thing to note is that this game isn’t afraid to poke fun at Star Wars and really ham it up whenever possible. Nice job.
What to Ignore?
…!!… Ugh. Sorry. Watched Vader’s sendoff in the original Star Wars too closely… cockpit spinning… spinning… spinning… urgh -- shouldn’t have looked…
The saving grace of the Episode III movie tie in games, LEGO Star Wars returns and now presents a game fans have been waiting for, to the point that even I vaguely remember asking for it in by Best of 2006 lists as something I’d like to play… and look, I got my wish and it’s exactly what I always wanted out of a LEGO Star Wars Original Trilogy game! Thank you, Traveler’s Tales! Thank you for giving us the game we knew that we wanted before we knew that we wanted it! You rule!
LEGO Star Wars II : Original Trilogy for the PSP is a must have for those wanting a little Star Wars on the PSP that is abit different, and you can’t get much more different than LEGO Star Wars!
May the LEGOs be with you.
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