And I see your Schwartz is as big as mine...
Fri, 23 March 2007
by: Australian Ninja
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Lego Star Wars 2 covers the original trilogy, emulating the entire three film story via humorous but accurate cut scenes and fun, varied gameplay.
This is a pretty long winded review, because I just really enjoyed this game, so skip to the end paragraphs for the short version, otherwise read on...
In LSW2 you wander around large levels, shooting lots of crap that drops money for you to collect and spend. You fight hordes of simple minded enemies, including every major race or character from all three films. Yes Jawa, Droids, Storm troopers, AT-ATs, Lord Vader - everything and everyone you will encounter and control at some point.
You basically switch between characters in your party on the fly, using everyone's unique abilities. Some objects can only be moved with force powers, some doors to areas require a bounty hunter type or a specific character such as the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO.
The game is full of almost non-stop blasting action, with the odd bit of platforming. Most of your time will be spent killing enemies and building objects, and opening doors to get to the next area. There is a ton of 'extras' in the game that make it worth playing through a second time. Each area basically has you flipping switches, building objects and interacting with things in hopes of moving into the next corridor or section of the level.
In this way, there is a minor puzzle element to the game as you scratch your head figuring out what to do in each section or 'room'.
Overall the game is quite easy, but it is still challenging enough to keep you on your toes.
While most of the levels see you running around with your remarkably expressive merry little band of Lego heroes, some levels require you to use vehicles. This means you get to control AT-ATs [yes the two legged forest walkers]. Another level lets you ride in style on the hover bikes from the forest scene, was it planet Endor? Probably, I forget, but it was the cool scene where two characters steal the hover bikes from some storm troopers.
|The forbidden love of Two men and a Wookie. |
Best of all the vehicles are the flying ones that feature in their own stages, separate to the walking around vehicle levels. Just about anything that flies in an original Star Wars film you will get to pilot. My favourites were the Hoth level that has you using your grappling hook to tip over four legged walkers. Then blast them to hell, and the space combat and Death Star levels with Luke's X-Wing and Han's Millennium Falcon, you get to shoot down Tie Fighters, as well as those gigantic long white cruisers and of course twice make a Death Star go ka-blooey.
I've only played a handful of Star Wars games here and there, but I've seen enough over the years to tell you that the flight levels compare favourably to any of the best flight sim / space combat Star Wars games, especially those on PC, N64 and the Cube. But without any of the fiddly controls or hard bastard levels - leaving you only with pure fun, and feeling like a maniac pilot gunning down all ships foolish enough to oppose you.
Despite the simple cartoony graphics, LEGO SW2 looks visually impressive in many areas, spectacular even when it comes to the spaceship levels.
I've never had such a thrill blowing up the Death Star since the 1980s 'Star Wars Arcade' and its remake in the 1990s.
The core game of LEGO SW2 is great fun - my only gripes, which are few - is that on single player it just is that much harder than it should be. I still finished it easy, but many sections were clearly better off with two simultaneous players. Flipping several switches with two people is simple, on single player however the enemies mercilessly gun you down over and over again while you swear at that damn switch that won't stick. Clearly the game is easy and these areas were not intended to be so frustrating.
Anyhow, the thing I need to say is this - the game was designed for two players at the same time. This is where the games strength lies and how you will get the most enjoyment out of it. However, anyone who is considering the game for single player only - it is still totally worth playing - if you are a Star Wars fan - or just someone who loves fun easy action games that are big on charm and big on replay value.
Two players equals awesome, One Player equals fun and worthwhile but frustrating.
Heck, the whole game is worth playing once just to watch the great cut scenes alone. And that's saying something considering I already knew exactly what was going to happen in each scene - so well imprinted are the core scenes and sounds of Star Wars within the psyche of society at large.
Speaking of sounds - well I am now - the sound effects kick major ass. I'm talking light sabre swinging 'fwsshh, waaom, waaom, kssshh' and all that jazz. The blaster sounds are each unique for the different types of characters, and the explosions are chock full of bassy, explody goodness. The Tie fighters have that awesome high pitched screeching sound as they careen past you at insane speeds, the AT-AT's footsteps are chunky and the laser fire is the rapid 'choo choo choo' you know and love.
|These boots were made for walking, and that's just what they'll do. |
Did I mention that the Blue Lightsabre and Red Lightsabre's used by Ben, Luke and Anakin/Vader each make their proper sounds, how sweet is that?
This is all very normal considering Lucas Arts' track record when it comes to video-games, especially in the sound department - Star Wars games in particular usually have their authentic movie sounds which is great, and LEGO SW2 is no exception.
Little touches like Chewie growling and moaning when you do nothing are just magic, and despite the cartoony graphics the sounds really immerse you in the Star Wars world like nothing else can.
Frankly it's a world that is fun and strangely comfortable to be in. Most missions you have a pretty good idea what to do. Many times when I got stuck, I just thought 'what happened in the film, how did they get past this?' and by and large what I tried actually worked. How many games can you say that about?
When I fought the emperor at the end of the third film, I got the smackdown layed down on me big time. Then I remembered that Luke did not beat the emperor by himself, so using teamwork with the Vader / Luke tag-combo worked wonders for beating that crusty old man with the low low electricity bill.
All up LEGO SW2 is a heck of a lot of fun. Great action, enjoyable platforming, hilarious cut scenes [I would happily watch a whole film using this same animation], excellent replay value, lots of extra content to unlock and a great game to play with friends - even if they don't like Star Wars.
The animations are awesome, and the characters move around very fluidly.
The 'fun' factor is what makes this game so easy and enjoyable to get hooked on. The game has an almost old school feel to it, in that it is simple to play and not hampered by 101 Tutorials, missions briefings or other unnecessarily complicated jargon that gets in the way of playing.
Simplicity is a beautiful thing and I cannot emphasise enough how well designed Lego Star Wars 2 is. It reminds of say Ape Escape 3 and Viewtiful Joe with a fun factor so big and good game design that it takes on a personality and charm all its own, despite being based on existing films.
Hey, I got through a whole Star Wars thing without mentioning Mr Beardy Head, do I get a medal?
by: Australian Ninja
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Freakishly good fun, fantastic game design, best enjoyed with a friend.