LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga looks to be the biggest LEGO Star Wars game yet. The upcoming game, developed by TT Games, is the first LEGO Star Wars game to adapt all nine core Star Wars films and gives players a chance to follow the Skywalker Saga from the beginning to the very end. It's been six years since TT Games released a LEGO Star Wars game, so LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has the opportunity to not only refresh the game franchise but also to provide some major overhauls and updates. To see just how big the new game is compared to past LEGO Star Wars installments, ComicBook.com had the chance to sit through an extended preview as well as to play through part of the Episode IV chapters.
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga features overhauled gameplay features that build off the improvements seen in the 2016 game LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For instance, firing a blaster switches the camera angle to an over-the-shoulder look reminiscent of Blaster Battles from the previous game. However, The Skywalker Saga allows for more careful aim and control, giving players the option to target specific body parts or areas to disarm opponents or hit them in more vulnerable spots. For instance, shooting a Stormtrooper in the head can knock off their helmet and leave them much more vulnerable to attacks.
Another feature taken from The Skywalker Saga is the use of "open worlds" as opposed to a central hub to enter stories. These worlds feel very expansive and easy to get sidetracked by, and are all filled with characters to interact with and spontaneous puzzles to solve. I appreciated that there was a bit of seamlessness to how The Skywalker Saga shifted from open-world settings to enclosed story missions. For instance, in Episode IV, players will need to progress through the Jundland Wastes (meeting Ben Kenobi along the way) to Mos Eisley where they'll find Han Solo and Chewbacca and eventually make their way to the Millennium Falcon's hanger. Both the Jundland Wastes and Mos Eisley are fully explorable even while progressing the main story which means there's not as stark of a divide between the "free play" mode that allows players to revisit and explore past levels and the initial story playthrough.
The story missions themselves are also not as linear as they were before. Players will have more options on how to solve problems or clear obstacles. Players can choose brute force, of course, but there seem to be multiple solutions many of the puzzles presented in the game. In one area, we were given the option to build either a water blaster to put out a fire and clear a non-combat path or a giant gun to blast out a wall and fight a number of Stormtroopers. Often, these choices will give the players the chance to complete one of three side objectives that earn Kyber Bricks, so findings different pathways seems to be the preferred choice. Kyber Bricks act as an equivalent to Gold Bricks from previous games, although they can be used to upgrade various character classes as well.
Spaceship combat is also given an overhaul within The Skywalker Saga. While we weren't able to get to a spaceship battle during our hands-on preview, we did see some shots of spaceship combat in action. It seems like players have a lot more options during dogfights with more room to maneuver and more ways to impact combat. One mission (pulled from Star Wars: The Last Jedi) required players to defend a group of bombers as they approached a First Order Dreadnought, both by picking off TIE Fighters and shutting down the Dreadnought's hangers. The missions feel a bit more varied and expansive at least in the short glimpse into the game we got.
As with other LEGO Star Wars games, players will have a wide variety of characters and ships to choose from. There are at least 300 characters to unlock in the game either via progressing the story or by purchasing via the in-game LEGO studs that are collected throughout levels. As mentioned previously, the characters are divided into specific classes, each of which has a progression tree that is unlocked by spending Kyber Blocks. There are also some "unique" characters like the Rancor which don't have a class but comes with their own destructive abilities.
From the brief glimpse we got of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, it looks to be much bigger and more polished than past games. While I was worried that The Skywalker Saga would simply feature updated versions of past levels and missions from old LEGO Star Wars games, it looks like the entire experience was rebuilt from the ground up. As with other LEGO games, LEGO Star Wars comes with tons of choices and options that lets you play the game however you want to play the game. There are more options and fewer barriers, which could make this the best LEGO game yet.