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Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: LucasArts
Developer: Traveller's Tales
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga keeps the same visual style of the previous titles. Sure the game has a much more detailed look with the Hi-Def output that the PS3 is capable of, but the levels and characters still keep their very Lego-like charm, which helps to give this game series its appealing feel.

While very little in the way of style has changed, a noticeable difference is that the objects that can be moved or affected by the Force have a much more brilliant sparkle to them. Before, the particle effect was present, but nowhere near as vibrant and active as they are in this game. At first, it felt like more of a distraction, but I quickly got used to it.

Audio is very much Star Wars. Not only are the various musical scores from the movie present, but also the sound effects like the lightsaber's swoosh or the pod racer's engines all come through in full force. For those who haven't played either of the previous games, it should be brought up that there are no voices in this game, besides the occasional beep from a droid; all emotion is conveyed (pretty well actually) through the facial expressions and movements shown in the cut scenes.

I have gladly followed this line of games since the prequel game that came out just as Episode III premiered (granted, that wasn't really all that long ago). Where the first game covered the prequels and the second one let you play through the original trilogy, Lego Star Wars has had a couple of face-lifts and chances to clean up some of the issues it has had over the years. Well, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga does a great job of not only combining both games, but also taking the best practices from them as well.

This game is a pretty basic action-platformer. You will work your way through each of the six episodes (each episode is divided into six chapters) in order to collect studs to be used as money, mini-kits to build ships and gold and red bricks in order to unlock new extras or areas in the game. For people who mostly played the more recent game, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, you probably won't notice a great difference in the Episode IV, V and VI sections of the game, since most of those are direct port. Where most of the changes take place is in the first game's transition since it not only implements features like vehicles in normal levels, but also more free-flowing styled vehicle levels.

Having played the original game quite often, I found it pretty obvious what kind of changes were made. Besides the added free-roaming vehicle level where you chase down Zam Wesell, the "Gunship Calvary" level has been redesigned and all of the vehicle levels now have a Free Play mode that lets you cycle through your unlocked ships as seen in the second game. Other alterations to the prequels involve a lot of areas that were previously accessable (typically via an Astromech) and can now only be gotten into with a bounty hunter or stormtrooper, something that threw off my highly efficient run-through at first.

One of the changes that were made for the second game, but removed for this one, was the need to achieve True Jedi (collecting a certain number of studs in a level) for both Story and Free Play modes. Instead, the game reverts back to the prequel version where completing this task in either mode is all you need to do - which is good because a lot of times it is easier to get studs in Free Play mode since you have a wider variety of characters with specific abilities that you wouldn't otherwise have in Story Mode (i.e. bounty hunters, double-jumpers, etc). There is also the added bonus of more characters to either play as (like Zam Wesell or Watto) or just see walking around the Cantina (a remodeled version from the second game that acts as a hub for all of the levels).

All that being said, the core gameplay itself hasn't really changed all that much since the original Lego Star Wars game. You will still switch between on-screen playable characters or let your buddy pop in/out as needed. Jedi can still use force powers to build or movie pieces while shooters can use grappling hooks and bounty hunters can throw bombs (okay, that last one was added in the second game, but you get the idea). As it is, the gameplay is still the same quirky fun experience it has been since the start.

As an added bonus, not only does the game let you see a preview movie of the upcoming Lego Indiana Jones game, but you will also be able to unlock and play as Indie in this game.

I don't know if it was just the fact that I've played the previous games way too much or what, but it seemed like a lot of the levels that I had always found to be difficult just felt considerably easier in Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. The most noticeable of these was the Most Espa Pod Race. I just remember having to run through that track dozens of times before I was able to get past that level, much less make sure I collected all the mini-kits and achieved True Jedi. This time, on the other hand, I just needed to run through the level twice, once in Story Mode and then again in Free Play mode once I had gotten some of the necessary ships to get the last mini-kit or so. Although, I shouldn't really rag this game for being too easy since its target audience really is the younger players out there who would find something like the Pod Race level to be really frustrating and not worth progressing through, which is a real problem since it is so early in the game.

Game Mechanics:
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga is one of those games that are designed for the collector type. Not only are you charged with trying to hold onto some percentage of the studs in the level in order to get True Jedi, but collecting mini-kits, completing the level and achieving True Jedi also net you Gold Bricks that, if you get enough of those, open up special bonus levels. This game just shows how to make a game with a lot of replay value. For one thing, you cannot collect everything (specifically mini-kits) just by running through all the levels once. The main reason for this is that you won't have all of the types of characters you will need in order to reach some of them. For instance, if there is a mini-kit that is really high up, you won't have a character that can reach it the first time you play through since Story Mode picks your characters for you. But when you go back and play through in Free Play, you should be able to collect them all, provided you've purchased or played as all the necessary character types, of course (i.e. bounty hunter, high jumper, Sith, etc.).

I did have one problem, though, and it looks like it will keep me from getting 100% in this game, something that really irks me. In an Episode I level, while I collected all 10 mini-kits, my counter still had me listed as 9/10. The fact that I don't seem to be able to get all of the mini-kits means that I won't be able to use all of the mini-kit ships in their special bonus levels, so I won't be able to complete all of them and totally finish the game.

Should you get this game? If you haven't picked up any of the other versions, then I do recommend this because it is just good family fun. If you've played the original game but not the sequel, then definitely pick this one up because it has all of the levels from the original, an extra one, a lot more polish and, essentially, a whole second game all in it. That also goes for people who've only played The Original Trilogy since the prequel games will be available to you. As for people who already have both, it's still a fun game even though there won't be a whole lot of new stuff. Having all six episodes together is great and because of that there are tons of characters to play as and you get to see how well the original game transitioned with the second one's improvements. If nothing else, it is worth a rental.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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