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Review - Lego Star Wars 59

Posted by Zonk
from the stubby-clicky-light-sabres dept.
nellardo writes "Put three topics dear to a typical Slashdotter's heart in one product and you are faced with the possibility of excellence warring with the possibility of crapulence. Take Lego, add Star Wars, and make a video game out of it, just in time for the release of Revenge of the Sith. That's Lego Star Wars, and it is in stores now. Fortunately, it turns out to be a fun gem of a game, good for a light afternoon for the hard-core LAN gamer, and great for kids and other family-like units.
  • Title: Lego Star Wars
  • Developer: Eidos Interactive
  • Publisher: Traveller's Tales
  • System: PC/Xbox/PS2/GBA
  • Reviewer: nellardo
  • Score: 7/10

Lego Star Wars is without a doubt a fun game. Ostensibly it's a platform game, with the mix of reflex-based jumping and puzzles that genre entails. It is Star Wars seen through the eyes of Lego playtime. Everything is made of Lego bricks and to stay true to the genre you'll spend much of the game collecting items. Of course, they're Lego - studs for simple points, and pieces for mini-kits hidden in every level.

Lego Star Wars lets you play through the major plot points of Episodes I, II, and III. This is Story mode, and you play as Lego mini-figures of the hero at that point of the story (thankfully, the Dread Gungan, Jar Jar Binks, plays very little part, even in Episode I). As soon as you've played through the first chapter of Episode I (Negotiations with the Trade Federation), Episodes II and III are unlocked.

You can also go back and start playing "Free Play," where you can play as any character you've managed to unlock. If you are far enough along in Story mode for a character to have a major role in the game, you can play as that character. After defeating Darth Maul, you can play as a mini-figure Darth Maul. After battling Count Dooku at the end of Episode II, you can bounce around as a mini-figure Yoda yourself. Some of the major characters you purchase with studs you collect (e.g., Jango Fett), and even minor characters are available (playing as a droideka is a bit absurd, but still fun).

Lego bricks don't really push the boundaries of what a modern game system can do. Despite that, the game looks very nice. Solid, smooth motion is everywhere, with very few aliasing artifacts. Collision detection, shooting, moving through space, all of it just works well.

If this was all there was to the game, it would be yet another licensing dud. A good one, but still all concept, no substance. Lots of time and money squandered on a "sure fire" hit, but with no real fun to the game.

Too often, developers forget that the real point is content, not licensing. Fortunately, the developers of this game didn't forget to make it a fun game. The developers followed the plot of the movies, but not slavishly so. They took the germ of a scene in the movie and made a fun level or mini-game out of it. No game possibility? That scene didn't make it in, except perhaps as a cut scene. Thankfully, this means Jar Jar is limited to a cut scene or two (though you can play as Jar Jar if so inclined), and the painful "love scenes" between Anakin and Padmé are absolutely no where to be found.

And make no mistake, the levels of this game are fun. The puzzles can be challenging, but not real stumpers. The mini-games are zippy and sometimes tough, but not impossible. Frustration is not this game's point - entertainment is what it is all about.

Furthermore, it's family entertainment, because this game is at its best when it's a two-player game. A second player can plug in a second controller, press "Start", and show up as a nearby friendly character. Most of the scenes in the game (as in the movies) have several key characters involved, so if you're playing Obi-Wan running after Count Dooku, a second player will start controlling Anakin (who has been running alongside all along). Either player can switch control to a different character at any time. Either player can pause and opt to drop out at any time, too.

Needless to say, this is just perfect for parents who want to play along a bit, but need to get up to answer the phone or make dinner. For that matter, it works well for kids who want to take a break from a parent's focused gaming jag.

This two-player mechanism works into the content of the game as well. If two players are active, the puzzles often require cooperation (characters follow the lead of the single player if only one player is active). Your weapons can hurt friendly players, too, so games become social and interactive - "You take the ones on the right, and I'll get the ones on the left" is a common refrain when two Jedi are faced with a crowd of battle droids.

The game also gives some screen time to relatively minor characters (like TC-14, Kit Fisto, and a young Boba Fett), and is liberally sprinkled with Easter Eggs. (Such as the Cantina song, and the disco synthesizer version of the main theme that came out when disco was still a new thing). Finally, the whole entire game is done with a tongue-in-cheek attitude. The game knows it is made out of Lego. For instance, all the baby clone troopers on Kamino are single-stud bricks, and plants are Lego plants. None of the mini-figures take the proceedings too seriously either, with knowing winks and rolling eyes at all the right moments.

All in all, it's a fun family game, well done, and a great buy. It's easy enough to play that a grade school student can pick it up, and engaging enough that the grade schooler's parents (or even teen siblings) will want to play too. If you buy one "Revenge of the Sith" tie-in, this is one that won't disappoint.


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Review - Lego Star Wars

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  • All in all, it's a fun family game, well done, and a great buy. It's easy enough to play that a grade school student can pick it up, and engaging enough that the grade schooler's parents (or even teen siblings) will want to play too. If you buy one "Revenge of the Sith" tie-in, this is one that won't disappoint.

    Why did you only give it a 7/10?
    • by Vaevictis666 (680137) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:14PM (#12625640)
      Because for all the fun that it is, it's not Best in Genre (10/10), nor a Buy Even If you Don't Like Platformers (9/10), or Buy Even If You're Not A Star Wars Fan (8/10).

      All told, it's fairly plain for a platformer, but what it does it does well, and does fun.

      • With what he wrote, I would say its at least a "Buy Even If You're Not a Star Wars Fan."

        There really aren't that many games out there that an adult and a kid can play together in what appears to be a fun and meaningful (in the video game sense) way.
      • "Buy Even If You're Not A Star Wars Fan" I can understand, you may appreciate the game without appreciating the source, but "Buy Even If you Don't Like Platformers"??? i dont understand this concept. i dont like RTS games, and that doesn't mean i consider buying RTS games that have been rated 9 or 10 out of 10, i maybe read a bit on them (as i would with all games) and then pass them by because i dont like that style of game. just because its a really good example of a genre i dont like doesnt mean im going
        • Then you're missing out. I find it's good to play the best of each genre. For example, I normally detest 4X games, but make a special exception for Master of Magic. Likewise, many anti-MMORPG people have fallen in love with World of Warcraft.
    • by yotto (590067) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:20PM (#12625717) Homepage
      Why is 7/10 considered "bad"? 10/10 should be reserved for the pinnacles of their genre. 9/10 should be massively great games that you don't mind playing over and over, maybe even deleting your saves to play again... Etc.
      Until you get under 5, a game should be at least playable. I hate "out of 10" scores where it's actually "out of 5" and then you add 5.
      Use the whole scale, people!
      • While i agree with you Yotto, no one actually does this.
        So if someone does do it, many people think the game sucked since the review numbers don't correlate with reviews of 1337 Madden 20x6.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          Well, at least two British game magazines do this (Edge and GamesTM, of which I prefer Edge). 5 out of 10 is average, but 10 out of 10 is very rarely awarded.
    • From the Futurama episode "A Big Ball of Garbage":

      Wernstrom (to Farnsworth): "I'm giving you the worst grade imaginable: an A minus minus!" [gasps from the crowd]

  • by Kraagenskul (828606) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:03PM (#12625520)
    I love this game because it's one of the few games I can play with my 4 year old and not have to worry about him seeing anything he really shouldn't. He was mad at me for refusing to play Episode III with him since I hadn't seen the movie yet, but that's all good now.
    • Right there are signs of a good parent. You're actually parenting! OMFG! You're not even letting school, the TV or Pop Crapture do it for you!

      It looks like there actually ARE some good parents left in the world. I was getting nervous! I'm completely serious too. Kudo's to you!
    • Same with my 7 yr old son. Works well on PC since he's still small enough to sit on my knee so we can share the keyboard.

      On another note, I noticed they have a GBA version too. Looking at screen shots on Amazon shows the same quality that I see on the PC. Does anybody know if this is the case or not? I'm guessing "no" myself, but I'd buy it for the kid if it was the same. Usually GBA games aren't anything like there big console versions ones of the same name.
    • I bought this to play with my girlfriend and her little sister. The main reason was that neither of them were at all in to star wars and it seemed like a good introduction. Since playing Lego Star Wars they've watched all six movies and my girlfriend even bought me the Millenium Falcon Lego set! Now THAT is the sign of a game appealing to those outside of the "core" audience.

      It is just an awesome game. Sure it doesnt look that great, and the story line is pretty linear (but i guess it has to be), but it is
  • Awesome game (Score:5, Informative)

    by M.C. Hampster (541262) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `retspmaHehT.C.M'> on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:08PM (#12625581) Journal

    This game is pretty fun, even just on your own, but the real greatness comes through on co-op multiplayer. Rather than just blasting your way through levels, you have to work together to solve puzzles on how to proceed. I hear many people complain about the lack of co-op in multiplayer. Well, this game definitely fills that niche.

    I also love it because I can play it with my young son. It somehow manages to be accessible and fun for little kids and adults. You can adjust various difficult settings to make the game as hard or as easy as you like. Also, there are collectible pieces through each level that aren't required to advance, but can make the game more challenging.

    All in all, this is definitely a great game and deserves 8.5/10 at least.

    • by Lakebeach (878698) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:37PM (#12625896)
      I found Lego Star Wars game funnier and more "real" Star Wars feeling than the "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" game. Weird.

      "If you strike me down, i shall become more pieces than you can possibly imagine"

      • I found Lego Star Wars game funnier and more "real" Star Wars feeling than the "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" game. Weird.

        I found the acting better than the movie. And the characters more likeable. And... :-)

      • At a guess, I would say that the lego game would look more 'real' because they are made of lego bricks which are usually pretty simple shapes, whereas the actual Star Wars game has characters that are attempting to be as real as possible but you still might be able to see some solid polygons that would slightly disort the characters.

        I for one would really like to get my hands on the Lego Star Wars game, I had seen both lego star wars and episode III being advertised in the shops a while ago and i prefered
    • The idea how the second player can join in and drop out is a great feature. I wish more games will adopt it.
  • Best game EVER! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Soybean47 (885009) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:16PM (#12625674)
    Well, maybe I'm exagerrating a bit there. ;) But it's a really good game! I have a couple of things to add to the review.

    For one thing, it's just plain straight-up fun. Most games these days seem to be going for pulse-pounding intensity, or frustrating challenges... there's obviously a place for those things, but I found Lego Star Wars to be a refreshing change of pace.

    I also really liked the convenience of the multi-player mode, where a second player can join or leave at any time, with the computer taking over for them as need be. I have the PC version, and I think this feature would be even better on one of the consoles.

    One more thing struck me: you can play as basically any character in the game. If they made a model for it, you can play as it. A lot of game developers wouldn't let you play as a high-jumping quad-lightsaber-wielding robot, presumably because it would be difficult to balance or something. In Lego Star Wars, it's not a problem.

    Overall, I was just really impressed with this game. It's well-done, a lot of fun, and I'd recommend it to just about anyone. :)
  • by Salted_Flame (749218) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:19PM (#12625705)
    and i'm recommend this game to anyone. but after the two weeks i kept it (yes i kept it late to play it all) to find everything, i didn't feel like picking it up again. worth a play? indeed. worth a buy? perhaps.
  • ridiculously fun (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CoffeeJedi (90936) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:21PM (#12625731)
    My girlfriend and i got the game at a friend's urging who had a blast playing it with his kids. We love it. The free-form mode reminds me of saturday afternoons on the living room floor with a box of action figures and a playset or two (while the lego element is fun, you can't actually build your own kits)
    You can take on the levels at your own pace and play around with the little secrets here and there. Even though we beat the game, we're still going back to try to get all the minikit packs and unlock the final chapter.
    If you like the game, look for the short cartoon "Revenge of the Brick" on cartoonnetwork.com
  • is why this game was not released for the GameCube. For all the talk about it being a kids console, I figured a Lego game would definitely grace Nintendo's little purple box.
  • Obviously (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lakebeach (878698) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @01:41PM (#12625938)
    If you strike me down, i shall become more pieces than you can possibly imagine.
  • This game(demo version) worked great on my work laptop, but would not start on my 2-year old Athlon XP. I updated to the latest nvidia drivers, and it would not support my Geforce 4. Said it needed some pixel shading capability or some techno-babble.

    but it is a fun game. I liked in the beginning when 2 ship pilots have their Lego ship fall apart around them. Like in the cartoons, they float there for a second, look at each other, and fall & shatter to the ground.
    • What kind of GeForce 4 do you have? The MX line of GF4s were deceptively branded and did not have the shader technologies introduced in the GeForce 3 line. The GeForce 4 MX series were pretty much comparable to the later GeForce 2 cards. I think the GeForce 4 models with shaders were 4200, 4400, and 4600, or something like that. The MX ones had numbers like MX440 (note '440' and not '4400').

      I need to pick up this game. I'll just get the XBox version to save the compatibility hassle and facilitate easier c

      • I have a GeForce MX 440. It's a 2 year old card, so I honestly wasn't surprised, but it runs UT2004 just fine, and Lego Star Wars doesn't look too graphically intensive.

        I've had a history of bad Lego game experiences on the PC. THe earlier titles(alpha team ,etc) crashed on me, while one had weird video corruption where a faceless scary looking lego minifig was talking to me!

        I can always get it for PS2 when it goes budget price.
        • I also have a 440, and my machine is a year old. I'm not the kind of guy who can open up computers and fiddle with the insides, so I can't do anything about it.

          Pretty lame how something like this should prevent a game from running. HL2 demo ran, and so did UT2004. What a waste of my time and bandwidth.

          Imagine if they made gameplay cards instead. Then I might consider trying to upgrade. GFX.. pshht!

          Oh well, I actually considered buying a game, maybe this one, but I think I'll go play Ur-Quan Masters
          • <i> I'm not the kind of guy who can open up computers and fiddle with the insides, so I can't do anything about it.</i>

            If you can do Legos you can fiddle with the insides of a computer. The computer is actually easier, everything only goes in it's propper place (excluding mouse and keyboards) so as long as you don't force it, and it fits, you are going to have it working.

            Also, if you have the up-to-date driver for your MX440 you probably don't need a driver if you buy an Nvidia card, making t
  • Can you use a gamepad with the PC version? I guess I'll try it tonight. I bought this for the PC but using the keyboard for everything (you can't use a mouse) is a total pain and I didn't see anywhere to customize controls for a gamepad. I got through a few levels and quit. Since then I bought the fantastic Psychonauts [psychonauts.com] and a gamepad to use with it. I'll try the gamepad tonight to see if it works. If it doesn't, I wouldn't bother with this game on the PC. If it does, I suggest the Logitech Dual Actio [compusa.com]
  • Heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by aftk2 (556992) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @02:36PM (#12626532) Homepage Journal
    you are faced with the possibility of excellence warring with the possibility of crapulence

    Hey, you don't need Legos or video games for that - you can get that possibility with Star Wars all by itself.
  • the impression I got from this game is that it is a lot more fun in two player co-operative mode than single player. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and finished it single player, but I really enjoyed two players mowing down Trade Federation droids, solving puzzles and the like. Also note that there are some levels that require you to return in free form mode with characters that are unlocked further into the game to reach the remaining secret areas and fully complete that level. Again, two player co-op mode
  • A franchise game that's actually good?

    It's weird how developers are doing that more lately. Unsettling.
  • How true. (Score:4, Funny)

    by neo (4625) on Tuesday May 24, 2005 @05:13PM (#12628249)
    If you buy one "Revenge of the Sith" tie-in, this is one that won't disappoint.

    If you buy two, however, this will be your second favorite.
  • When I clicked the article, the fortune said: "Depart in pieces, i.e., split"
  • One thing the reviewer did not mention is the brawls between the characters when you loiter in the parking lot.


    After you unlocked enough characters, the fun starts. I have seen Darth Maul being hammered by Obi-Wan and Anakin. I have also seen Padme got killed when Darth Maul reflected the blaster shots back at her. Words cannot describe the hilarity watching these Lego characters fight each other.

    • li'l Boba Fett is marked on the "bad guy" side, so when he's in the parking lot, running around with no weapons, the hero characters will gun him down as he runs away.
      • True. I watched Jano Fett try to defend little Boba, but Obi-Wan cut him down. Then Jango was killed too. General Grievous exacted revenge on Obi-Wan, though. :-)
  • by chrish (4714) on Wednesday May 25, 2005 @08:53AM (#12633632) Homepage
    My son (4.5 years old) and I have played through this twice since we picked it up on release day. It's great fun, although playing co-op with a four year old is somewhat annoying...

    Even though we've been playing the hell out of the game, it remains fun, and I'm enjoying going back to find all the mini-model pieces, get enough studs to open up the New Hope scene, etc.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

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