Witness the power of this fully operational LEGO sequel
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy arrives in orbit to bring its version of the classic movies (A New Hope, Empire and Jedi) to "the fastest hunk o' junk in the galaxy" - PlayStation 2
Has it really been over a year and a half since we were wowed by the first LEGO Star Wars game? Based on the recent Star Wars prequel movies, the mix of fantastic sci-fi source material, cutesy LEGO visuals and simple but addictive gameplay, quite rightly sent the game to the top of the charts. Now, to our whoops of joy, LucasArts delves further into the Star Wars pantheon, to give the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie and a couple of inconsequential droids the LEGO treatment.
From the opening scenes of the little Rebel Blockade Runner being pursued by the gigantic Star Destroyer (both constructed in LEGO naturally) backed the by the stirring John Williams score, you know you're in for a treat with LEGO Star Wars II. The scenes from the original trilogy are so iconic and so ingrained in our minds that seeing them presented afresh in LEGO-vision, can't fail to give you a grin that'll be there until the Ewok dance party at the close of the last level.
Reach out with your feelings
As with the first game, the action is very "pick-up-and-play" - you take control of one of many key characters (such as C-3PO, Lando or Obi-Wan) as you make your way through the major scenes from the movies. Aided by a buddy- or AI-controlled supporting character, you're tasked with fighting, platforming and puzzling your way through those oh-so-well known scenes including the Death Star detention level shoot-out, Luke's training with Yoda on Dagobah, and the Rancor battle beneath Jabba's Palace.
Throughout these brilliantly presented 'scenes' you're not stuck playing the one hero, as you can directly control the different friendly characters you meet, leaping between bodies like some dodgy X-Files villain. As well as giving you a chance to wield a blaster as Han, flail about with a lightsaber as Obi-Wan or pull Stormtroopers' arms off as Chewbacca, there's also a gameplay reason for all this body-swapping. Certain characters are required for certain tasks, such as unlocking doors (indicated by a cute piccie of the required 'keyholder' by the door controls), only blaster-carrying heroes can use a grappling hook to access higher levels and only Jedi can move and assemble bricks with the Force. An addition over the last game is that pretty much all the heroes can physically build LEGO constructions (indicated by piles of bouncing LEGO blocks), such as bridges, door panels and even giant vehicles such as the AT-ST.
This ain't like dusting crops, kid!
Vehicles play a bigger part in the proceedings this time around, giving you the chance to blaze around Mos Eisley in a Landspeeder, fly down a space slug's throat in the Millennium Falcon and speed through the forests of Endor on a Speeder Bike. The vehicle action is split between jumping in and out of vehicles to traverse the terrain (GTA style) such as with the Landspeeder or vehicle-specific levels such as taking down the AT-ATs in your Snowspeeder on Hoth. Unlike, in the previous game where the vehicle levels were somewhat of an intrusion on the fun, here they add another layer of quality on an already highly polished game.
But as fun as the vehicle-based and on-foot gameplay is, the real joy of LEGO Star Wars II is the Lightsaber-sharp humour running through every second of the game. Seminal scenes are given a hilarious LEGO twist, such as Vader rolling around the cockpit of his spinning TIE Fighter like he's in a tumble drier, Luke's robot hand detaching and causing havoc in the closing scene of Empire and Lando ratcheting down the Falcon's pilot seat for a more laid-back, all-together cooler 'driving' position.
The silliness is not just reserved for the cutscenes either, you can find an Indiana Jones hat for Han to wear, you can turn Stormtroopers' helmets back-to-front with the Force and you can freely trundle about under the surface of the Dagobah swamps as R2-D2. Little touches like these, plus the quality gameplay outlined above just go to show what a labour of love this game has clearly been for LucasArts, and why you'll love every second you're in this LEGO Galaxy far, far away.