Lego GADDING Star Wars. Oh, how I am filled with anger at its merest mention. Oh, why do you even exist? Is it just to greatly annoy me? Who’re you working for? I’m going to ring their bloody necks.
So yeeees, Lego Star Wars. When it first came out, I don’t think Traveller’s Tales realised how popular it was going to be. I haven’t played the original, so I can’t judge it, but it is based on the second trilogy made, which is actually the first trilogy chronologically, and—oh, isn’t that confusing! That’s the Metal Gear Solid school of numbering, that is!
I hate to resort to one of those awfully common idioms that my parents use, but Lego Star Force, I mean Wars really was the best thing since sliced bread for some people. Naturally, you can’t please all the people all the time, and although I’m quite into Star Wars at the moment, I’m still not exactly a big follower of it.
So, is Padme Amidala actually Leia Organa’s mother, or what? I just don’t effing follow this at all.
I’m really just into the games right now, because movies are boring and require a length of attention-span that I have yet to perfect. Videogames require both your eyes and your mind to be transfixed on what you are doing, which is probably why I’m more into them than the movies, books and whatnot. And you know what? Some of these Star Wars games are really quite good.
Even this piece of shite…has its merits.
Naturally, with Lego Star Wars being more popular than Halo, demand gave way to a sequel. Which gave way to spin-offs…and before we knew it, look where we are. At least one Lego release every year. Games where we break things, build things, solve things, fix things, find things, collect things and solve things again.
Things, and more things. Over and over.
This began with the aforementioned first game, but Lego Star Wars II is the first Xbox 360 installment in the series. Therefore, it’s the obvious candidate to review first.
But it hurts to review this game. It feels like I’m going to die every time I put the disc into the Xbox 360 disc drive. Oh gawwwwd, it paaaiiins.
The first thing that hits you when playing LSW2, other than your own fist, repeatedly, is the game’s very primitive graphics. Now, I understand that Lego pieces aren’t exactly the most complex and detailed things you’ve ever seen—but they could have tried to fix some of the graphical glitches that came from throwing the game onto Xbox 360.
There are scenes where textures flicker, and cases where a small amount of smoke chokes the console down to a low speed. This is something you’d expect to see in a dreadful game like Samurai Shodown Sen, not a simple-pimple shovelware title like Lego Star Wars.
My last Xbox 360 actually died that way. The graphics processor gave out during an Xbox Live match on Beautiful Katamari. I was crushing Japanese players with all the vigor of a teenage girl who’s been accepted into the cheerleading squad for the finals. Brad will be playing, and she likes Brad.
Anyway, what? Oh yes; I was crushing Japanese players on BK and then—the Xbox 360 died. Massive graphical issues at the time; everythin’ was flickering like a sonofabitch. LSW2 does that sometimes, and it frightens me. I hope you can understand.
There are also bad textures, missing textures, and cases where a texture could have been placed just a little better—maybe I’m being picky, but a lazy port is a lazy-ass Count Bleck of a port. This problem was common in PlayStation-era games because they could hide mistakes in the low resolution—play Spyro the Dragon or Crash Bandicoot 3 on ePSXe and you’ll see what I mean.
LSW2, in several places, admits to being last generation. Right in your face, it does. Admits, but doesn’t apologise. What kind of game does that remind you of? Yeah, a happy-go-lucky crappy-blow-fucky kind of game.
Proud of that one, I am.
Whereas a character sticking out of a wall may have been hidden in the low quality of the PS2 or GameCube output, it is far more noticeable on an Xbox 360 through HDMI. This more and more supports the notion that LSW2 was rushed to be released or just ported from the Xbox version without much effort. In other words, Traveller’s Tales pretty much yawned this version onto the Xbox 360, whilst scratching their arses waiting for profit.
But enough of this; what is the story like?
Yes, following the episodes IV, V and VI from the Star Wars original trilogy, Luke Skywalker and his buddies are gallivanting around the galaxy. Along the way, they will discover new life and new civilisations. But most importantly, they will boldly LEGO where no ill-fitting reference has gone before.
Just as awful as my jokes, “Lego humour” is the way-out method used by Traveller’s Tales to censor the games and make them totally kiddy friendly. Ah yes, because a Lego figure dying isn’t as bad as a human dying. Oh, of course not.
Much like my own personal brand of humour, the jokes in LSW2 are drawn out and slow. I might enjoy them if I could actually skip the cutscenes. When I’m replaying the story to collect the elusive “True Jedi” awards, I don’t want to see the same failed attempt at humor every time. These cannot be skipped at all. Makes me very unhappy. Very, very unhappy.
Oi, TT. Get out.
I noticed, when recalling back, that Lego Indy doesn’t allow you to skip cutscenes either. The good news is that since Lego Batman, they’ve been implementing a skip cutscene function—but it’s so frightfully obvious that it should have been there from the beginning.
Like, really obvious. You know when you start a game and the opening cutscene is so long you wish you hadn’t bought the game? YES, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This is not the game’s only flaw, but thankfully, it’s one of few. The game’s other biggest flaw is the flying levels.
Funnily enough, everybody other than me thinks these levels are absolutely awesome and are the bestest most mega fun they’ve had since the time they found a dead man and were poking him with a stick.
The flying levels, yes—they’re really bloody annoying, like my tangents. Just before sitting down to start this review, I spent forty minutes on a bonus level flying around trying to collect 1,000,000 studs (Lego money, not handsome men). I tell you, those levels have been sent to try us.
The main gameplay is set over three episodes (IV, V and VI) containing six levels each (eighteen levels overall). Then, there are two bonus levels in each world, and a mode named “Super Story” where you have to play the whole episode without a single rest. There’s nothing “super” about it; it’s just a pain in the arse.
When playing the Story or Free Play modes normally, you can turn on Extras (a.k.a. cheats) that make the whole experience a lot less painful. LESS painful, but still it is such.
In Super Story, this isn’t possible, so it becomes a 40-60 minute drag through an entire episode, complete with the boring cutscenes, which are, of course—inescapable.
From the get-go, you’re given the impression that if you fail to get a time under an hour in Super Story, you have to do the whole thing over again. Just to clarify, you don’t have to beat it within an hour. The gold brick still unlocks regardless, so long as you manage to collect 100,000 studs in the episode.
Thank God for small mercies, such as the few times my tedious tangents have actually been funny.
Once you beat the main story levels, you’ll realise how much is required of you in order to achieve 100% completion. Buying gold bricks, unlocking extras, buying characters, getting “True Jedi” on every level in Story and Free Play, completing 1,000,000 stud challenges within the allotted time, collecting every minikit and power brick—I’m thirty hours into this game right now and I’ve completed just over 90% of everything.
There’s still hours of work to be done, replaying levels and collecting every single piece of minikit. It will take a long, long, long time. It WILL be frustrating to complete, it WILL make me swear like Meteo Xavier, and it WILL take months off of my life.
Actually, just as of this moment, I’ve got 100%. Thirty-six hours. Thirty-six hours of my life I will never, ever get back. It hasn’t been pretty.
If you look hard enough, Lego Star Wars II can be found rather cheap, but be warned—this whole game, plus the original, were “taped” together to make Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, also on Xbox 360. So pick your poison carefully…