Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga Review (PS3)

Inspired by the earlier nostalgic marriage of LEGO and Star Wars-branded toys, developer Traveller’s Tales hit the jackpot with LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars II. Kids love the goofy accessible humor and simplistic blocky gameplay, while adults and even hardcore gamers eat up the lighthearted alternate take on their favorite childhood brands. The odd couple pairing is as deserving of ESRB’s “Everyone” rating than any other game available.

The success of LEGO Star Wars has opened the floodgates for numerous LEGO-themed videogames starting with Batman and Indiana Jones. There’s no doubt in our minds those games will be must-own titles. Before leaving Star Wars behind to focus on those new properties, Traveller’s Tales has whipped up a third title to complete the trilogy, mixing together the previous two LEGO Star Wars games with small tweaks and HD resolution into the ultimate LEGO Star compilation remix: The Complete Saga.

Sony’s one-year old Playstation 3 console missed out on the previous two LEGO Star Wars title but benefits from securing a version of the third and most robust of the trio. Like the Xbox 360 version, the Playstation 3 version benefits from crisp 1080p visuals in both the prequel and original trilogy segments, with the former being re-mastered for the first time in The Complete Saga. Also as on Xbox 360, online two-player cooperative play makes its debut via the Playstation Network and immediately becomes the mode of choice for battling through the six-film campaign.

Many of the tweaks are applied to the prequel portion of the game based on successful tweaks implemented in Lego Star Wars II. The Mos Eisley Cantina menu for selecting missions found in Lego Star Wars II has been expanded to include the prequel missions rather than lazily porting over “On the rail” vehicle sequences from the prequel films in Lego Star Wars have been replaced by new manual control missions similar in feel to those in Lego Star Wars II. The Character Customizer, a lab-inspired tool allowing players to create new characters based on Star Wars LEGO parts, now covers the prequel characters in addition to the original trilogy characters. Speaking of prequel characters, all of them can now build and level up just as their original trilogy brothers were able to in LEGO Star Wars II.

Veterans of the previous LEGO Star Wars games looking for gameplay evolution beyond LEGO Star Wars II will be greatly disappointed. LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga plays identical to its predecessors, or more notably, LEGO Star Wars II. Players collect a strange currency of round circular LEGO studs while battling and solving basic puzzles through levels patterned after the films. New characters become available as the campaign opens up, including all-new characters in this edition like sleazy Watto and boisterous Boss Nass. But the sticky and troublesome camera in tight spots that plagued the past versions is maybe a hair better this time around, if at all.

The only noticeable gameplay enhancement is more a detriment: optional support for SIXAXIS motion controls when piloting vehicles. Those familiar with vehicle missions from previous games will remember how hard steering the X-Wing around the Death Star’s surface is. With SIXAXIS, piloting takes on a whole new level of aggravation reminiscent of lining up shots in Sony’s Lair. The Nintendo Wii version got the best of the exclusives with more natural motion-controlled lightsaber swinging.

The beauty of Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is Traveller’s Tales and LucasArts spread the love, and online cooperative play, to Playstation 3. We already knew it was a good and fun game, and with the improvements made to the prequel segments so they match the original trilogy’s gameplay mechanics, this massaged collection crammed onto a single disc is the only way to go.

– Dan Bradley

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