LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

October 6, 2006

[i]Editor’s Note: The score for this review was changed to Purchase after the source of the freezing issues was found to be related to the system and not the game itself.[/i]

The concept of a LEGO themed game is by far not a new one, but the idea of merging a huge cash cow like the Star Wars franchise with everyone’s favorite building blocks is. The original [i]LEGO Star Wars[/i] was a hit that took the gaming world by storm. Who would have though that this combination would have translated so well into the world of video games? LucasArts may have had the foresight to make this jump early, but can they keep the momentum going long enough to turn the LEGO brand into a best selling franchise in the gaming world? Let’s find out.

Having recently played the original [i]LEGO Star Wars[/i] on my 360 the first and most noticeable difference in this game is how well it made the transition to HD. I thought the first game looked great and crisp and here comes the 360 version of this game and it totally blew me away.

The controls and gameplay are basically exactly like the first game. For those of you new to the series that consist of Jump, Attack (shoot for blaster characters and swing for the Jedi/Sith), Force Powers which are obviously for Jedi only, and build. The build button allows your character to stack up a set of blocks into a structure. These items range from platforms to turret blaster guns.

As with many 3D games of this type the camera could use a little help. The fixed sliding method chosen for this game works, but it could be improved. There are times where it’s hard to see where you are jumping in relation to the ground or a platform. After a while you get the hang of it.

The main hub for this game is the Mos Eisley Cantina and the basic concept is the same as the previous one. You pick a movie and play through the available episodes in Story Mode and then replay them each 56 times in Free Play attempting to collect everything in the game.

There are a handful of additional features that made it into this game that I would consider huge upgrades over the previous release. The most notable feature is the addition of vehicles. Getting to cruise around in the Millenium Falcon or a Snowspeeder just made the experience that much better. Another new feature is the Bounty hunter mode which is unlocked when you unlock all 6 bounty hunter characters. This mode consists of 10 levels that give you 3 minutes or less to find the bounty in the current level. Studs are awarded for time left on the clock. The final noteworthy addition is character creation. The character creation lets you mix and match body parts and clothing to create some truly unusual characters. I didn’t mess with too much as I didn’t really feel the need to have a custom character.

The fabulous thing about the LEGO series games is that you can play through the game a single time in Story mode and enjoy the game or you can go back time and time again to achieve 100% completion of the game. Not hitting 100% doesn’t diminish the overall enjoyment of the experience one bit.

In addition to all the wonderful things I have to say about this game, I have a few gripes as well. On no less than 6 occasions so far, at least one time per session with this title, I have had freezing issues with [i]LEGO Star Wars 2[/i]. (See Editors Note above) Most of my freezing issues occur on the same levels so at this point I have just resolved to skip those levels for now. My system has never frozen on another game prior to this or after these occurrences so I am confident in saying that it is the game. Anonymous reports coming the development teams that handled the DS version of the game said that LucasArts rushed the game out the door to coincide with the release of the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set this year. This information coupled with the numerous reports of bugs and freezing issues leads me to believe that a disservice has been done to this game and the consumers. Versions of the DS product with less bugs are expected later this year, and one can only hope patches are issued to systems that can take advantage of them like the PC and 360 platforms.

Despite these issues [i]LEGO Star Wars 2[/i] is a stellar game and even more so if you are a big Star Wars fan or a fan of LEGO building blocks. The combination of these 2 concepts has created a never before seen experience that I just can’t get enough of. The bugs and freezing issues are a nuisance that may hold some gamers back and while they are frustrating I would rather deal with them and enjoy the positive aspects of the experience this game provides. While I would generally recommend this as a no-brainer in the buy category, the bugs drop it down to a rental status. If you are considering it for another platform, do a little searching online to see what the community is saying about that version of the game to see if you are in the clear.

Score: 5/5

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