The Force was definitely strong with the original Lego Star Wars. While the amalgamation of those fantastic Danish blocks and everyone’s favourite intergalactic soap opera has always been a winning combination, the sales of the game far exceeded Lucasart’s expectations. And as this is an industry that rewards sequels to top-selling games, and since Lego Star Wars neglected Episodes IV – VI, it should come as no surprise that Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy is prepping itself for launch.
While Episodes I – III have their supporters, the simple fact is that most people prefer the original movies. Coupled with the fact that Lego Star Wars was a charming, enjoyable experience, Traveller’s Tales could logically simply take the original formula, add salt and the applicable setting, and release it to the slobbering public. Fortunately, Traveller’s Tales are not content to rest on their laurels and are considerably tweaking the game to address the faults of the original.
Using the Force to construct structures out of Lego bricks was one of the more charming aspects of the original, but it was unfortunately limited to the Jedi characters. In Lego Star Wars II, every character may now put on the engineer’s hat and dive into those piles of Lego. Additionally, the Jedi characters now have character-specific Force abilities: Obi-Wan, for example, will use the Jedi mind trick, while Vader is able to use his traditional Force choke. The character-specific abilities are not limited to the Jedi, however: Chewbacca’s ability is to pull an enemy’s arms out of their sockets. It’s exactly this kind of self-referencing humour that gives Lego Star Wars its charm.
Other areas of improvement lie in the use of vehicles. Originally limited to specific levels that contained on-rails action, vehicles are now included as part of every level. For example, players will be able to construct an AT-ST from a pile of Lego while traversing through the Mos Eisley level. Additionally, the vehicles can now be piloted freely; this is something that will bring new levels of excitement, especially when engaging on the attack on the Death Star. It’s a welcome addition, especially as the original vehicle levels felt like half-hearted attempts at compulsory additions.
Finally, the game will offer a character creation mode, meaning a million fanboys can all create the Leia Skywalker Jedi that has yet to be realised outside of extended-universe novels. It also means that the truly insane can create a Greedo Solo, in some kind of twisted attempt to silence the age-old debate of who truly shot first. In addition to character creation, players will be able to import their original Lego Star Wars save, allowing them access to all the characters they have previously unlocked. It’s a logical way to overcome the fact that there are very few Jedi in the original trilogy, and of those you have the old, the crippled, or the poorly-trained – not something that makes for exciting Jedi action. Unfortunately, those who wish to purchase Lego Star Wars on the Nintendo DS or the Xbox 360 will not be able to take advantage of such a feature.
Traveller’s Tales are now preparing to lock s-foils into attack position, the Force looks to be stronger with this game, and fans will be eagerly anticipating the sequel to one of the best, and most unusual, Star Wars video games that has ever been released. With the more popular setting and with the improvements to the winning formula, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy looks set to be an instant classic. Keep checking NZGamer for future previews and updates, and be sure to keep an eye out for our full review in the future.
The Good: It's Star Wars, it's Lego, and it's the original trilogy.
The Bad: The Nintendo DS and Xbox 360 versions will lack the ability to import saves.
The Ugly: The inevitable Leia the Hutt.