Take the beloved original Star Wars trilogy, add a handful of cuteness, a ton of fun, some hilarious cutscenes and a shit load of replay value and you’ve got yourself Lego Star Wars II.
The Good: Fun! Ho-ly is this game fun! You get to play through the original Star Wars trilogy using any character you’d like that appears in any of the films and it all takes place in the Lego universe. Sound effects are great and the original score is used through-out. Drop-in/out co-op is super handy for helping out the younglings without having to take the controller out of their hands. Massive replay value and tons of unlockables.
The Bad: While there is nice use of depth of field and the reflections look great, the visuals aren’t anything spectacular. Fixed camera angles make things pretty difficult at times. Friendly AI is absolutely useless.
The idea of playing through the Star Wars story as Lego characters really didn’t appeal to me, which is kind of odd since I love SW and used to be huge into Lego. It just always felt like a cheesy cash-grab to me. After sinking 30+ hours into Lego Star Wars II, it’s clear that it is anything but.
LSW2 is fun – ho-ly is it fun! Not only is it a good time on the first run through, but as you replay levels in Free Play mode finding secrets and unlocking new characters and abilities, it never seems to get tedious. By the time I’m at 100%, I will have played each chapter through 5 or 6 times.
The basic game is playing through episodes 4, 5 and 6. Each with 6 chapters. When you play in Story Mode, you have a minimum of 2 characters you can play as at all times. There are doors that can only be opened by certain characters and areas only accessible to others – many of them out of reach in Story mode. Once you’ve completed a chapter you unlock Free Play mode for it. In Free Play, you have 10 characters at your disposal and you can switch through them using the shoulder buttons at any time. The only real down side here is the friendly AI. Whoever is tagging along does absolutely nothing. They may fire off a shot once in a while, or back-hand someone if they get too close. But by no means will they ever kill someone. It can get pretty irritating and for the most part, I would have rather played through without any tag-alongs.
I may as well get my complaints out of the way while I’m at it – since there are only two of them this shouldn’t take long. The other being the camera angles. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself randomly opening fire around blind corners since I couldn’t see what was ahead, or got stuck somewhere, or had to back-track since I missed something that wasn’t visible until I walked into it’s range… you get the idea. You have very little control over it as well, which makes it even worse. Now, back to the good stuff…
While the visuals are nothing to write home about (to be expected, though. I mean, they’re basic plastic shapes, right?), the music and sound effects are great! The original score is in tact in all its glory and the weapon sounds and explosions are just awesome.
As I mentioned previously, both my wife and my daughter have been playing this game just as much, if not more than I have. One thing that makes LSW2 so much fun is the co-op gameplay. A second player can join in by pressing the start button and drop out just a easily at any time. I found this super helpful when Hannah would get stuck and needed a little help. I could pick up the controller, get her through the part and leave her to finish it off. Not only does this make things easier on the parent, but it leaves the kids in the game and doesn’t seem to give them that feeling of being incapable like others tend to. Aside from that, playing co-op is simply way more fun than playing solo. I think this is mostly due to the fact that the friendly AI sucks so bad, but none the less, it’s a super fun experience playing with a friend or family member.
The Achievements are pretty good as well. Each chapter is worth 50 points and you get more for every 20% of the game you complete. What’s left is an Achievement for perfecting each chapter (completing it without dying) worth 20 points a piece. It may sound easy, but there are some that will definitely give you a run for your money… err, points.
Overall, Lego Star Wars II is simply a lot of fun that the whole family can get in on.