Title: Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga
Developer: TT Games
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Game Type: DS
NA Availability: Retail
EU Availability: Retail
I’ve always been a fan of LEGO games and the amount of Lego-based reviews on this site more than proves it. I’ve reviewed all but one Vita LEGO game and I’m sure more are to come. I’m looking forward to, in fact, playing the Lego Avengers game when it releases. However, for now, there’s not much to do but look towards backwards-compatibility for more Lego games to knock out and write about on here. The same goes for the 3DS.
This week is Star Wars week, as far as the gaming community is concerned. The reboot of the Star Wars Battlefront series comes out today as well as a PS4 and Vita update of the Super Nintendo game, Super Star Wars. Being in the Star Wars mood, I wanted something to play and review, so I looked towards backwards-compatibility on the Nintendo side.
The Nintendo DS did have some Star Wars games, like Lethal Alliance and a few others. I was lucky enough to spot one of these at a game store last week and nab it for a measly five bucks. So, here’s what I found out about the game. This is my retro review of the Nintendo DS version of LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga!
The story of this game follows the stories of all six Star Wars movies, not counting the Clone Wars movie that led into the Clone Wars TV series. I’m talking about the prequel trilogy and original trilogy. To be more precise, this is basically a combination of the first two Lego Star Wars games, Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The latter released on the PSP, and was one of my favorite PSP games that never got released on PSN for download to the Vita.
The story isn’t what you’d expect if you’re used to recent Lego games. You don’t hear actual voices from the movies. You just see scripted Lego scenes with sounds coming from people. So don’t expect to hear the iconic “Yoohoo!” from Han Solo or the iconic “I have a bad feeling about this” from pretty much everyone.
Just like the console versions of the game, this is a 3D Platforming game with combat and puzzle elements thrown into the mix. Although Star Wars is what originally started the Lego formula, not a lot has changed since then.
When you play the game, you’ve got a hub world, containing all of the shops and smaller hubs for each movie. You only have Episode I unlocked at the beginning of the game, but once you play a little bit, the rest of them unlock. You can navigate this hub world for the game’s shop and interacting with other playable characters, or for accessing the hub worlds for each episode/movie.
The movies are divided into 5 levels a piece, each pitting you either in 3D environments to fight enemies, build Lego objects, and progress towards a goal, or in a top-down space-invaders style flying sequence where you can have similar objectives. These are how iconic events like the Pod Race and Death Star Raid are portrayed.
Those who played the console version probably have no idea what I’m talking about when I say top-down flying sequences. Let’s get the biggest disappointment in this version. The Nintendo DS version has a lot of missing and altered content. A large number of the game’s missions are completely missing from this version of the game. And those that are there are mostly altered. Many of the 3D levels are now 2.5D levels that have you side-scrolling in 3D environments.
The other notable alteration is that some of the included levels are missing sections. I played Lego Star Wars II religiously on the PSP, to the point where I know every level like the back of my hand. As I played through Episodes IV-VI in this version, I could remember key endings to missions that were just missing from the DS version. So, not only did they remove entire levels, but they removed sections of levels that are still here.
Now, I’m not saying that the game isn’t enjoyable, because it is. Some levels do play exactly as they did in the console release. All of the major boss fights are not altered at all and even the 2.5D levels still retain the fun aspect of the gameplay. It’s just not the same experience you’ll get if you buy the game on, say, the PS3 or Wii.
One aspect that is here that handheld Lego games rarely ever have is multiplayer. If you have a buddy nearby, you can hook up in co-op and play through the game together. Multiplayer has not been in a handheld Lego title in a very long time, so this is very unexpected to see.
Due to the limited stages, the completion time suffers. The console version of this game takes about 14 hours to beat. The DS version I would wager is only about 5 or 6 hours long. That’s 5 or 6 hours for what’s supposed to be the content of two whole games.
Controlling the game isn’t hard to do, and the game does an excellent job of explaining it to you. First off, using the Circle Pad feels much more comfortable for movement than the D-Pad, though you can use both. The L and R triggers switch your characters out. Finally, the face buttons. A lets you use the force or interact with objects. B lets you jump and double-jump. X lets you switch between the current players in the field. Y lets you attack with your weapon.
The controls work, but there is one problem. The character switch feature with the X button is a big problem. Character switching has always been easy in Lego games. First of all, the character switch doesn’t work unless you’re very close to the other character and facing the other character. Meaning, if you’re on a platform and they are not, you can’t switch.
Another thing that’s bad about this is that this function doesn’t work half the time even if you are facing one another and close. There were some levels where I had no problems, but others where I was facing my partner and pressed X a dozen times before it worked for me.
Yet another downside of this game is the visual presentation. I’ll be honest in saying that the game looks like a PS One game. The visuals are very blocky and all of the effects have a clear pixelated look to them. When something explodes, you can clearly make out the pixels that make up the explosion. At first, I might say it’s because of the DS hardware. However, when other DS Lego games, like Lego Batman, look so much better, there’s really no way to get around how choppy the game looks.
To add onto that, the performance isn’t its best, either. The frame-rate jumps and drops very often. In some levels, particularly a boss fight in Episode VI, the frames drop for almost the entire level. This game clearly wasn’t optimized very well.
LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is currently the only way to play Lego Star Wars I and II on a current-generation handheld. While the game does have its fun points, it’s got a lot bringing it down, from choppy visuals, unsteady frame-rate, controls that don’t work half the time, and the fact that there’s a ton of content that was cut out and altered