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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Game Review 22 - Lego Star Wars 2:The Original Trilogy

Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy tells the tale of Star Wars Episode 4 through Episode 6 with a slight twist – with Lego bricks. Almost everything in this game has been given the Lego treatment. Character models look adorable and vehicles found in the Star Wars films have been faithfully recreated using Lego bricks. Bearing in mind the Lego feel of the game, do not go in expecting cutting-edge graphics. In fact, the game has none of that. Everything looks straight out of a cartoon that everyone can relate with and that is great, meaning that it is suitable for all, including kids and non-fans of Star Wars like me. System requirements are kept to the lowest (the game only needs 256MB of RAM!), so there is no reason for you not to be able to enjoy this game.

Outside the visuals, Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy does have other plus points. Although characters do not actually speak, there is a pleasant sense of humor added to the game. For example, during level 1 of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, you open a door to find stormtroopers in a bath tub. It is this type of humor that makes Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy all the more enjoyable.

The second thing I want to point out is how the game manages to integrate puzzles into the gameplay so successfully. Puzzles pop out in the most unthinkable manner that you will not even realize that it is there! The nice thing is that the game also allows you to play as different characters throughout the entire single-player mission. At some point of time, you may be forced to change characters in order to progress further into the game, but that is just the game’s way of allowing you to experience with different characters.

Surprisingly, for a game that seems so promising in the first place, it made quite a few mistakes here and there. The first flaw you will notice in the game is the almost complete lack of save points. You cannot save in between a level and that proved frustrating for me. As I was wading through a level, I was forced to quit the game when dinner arrived. The addition of mid-level save points will certainly be welcomed. I understand that the lack of mid-level save points may be due to the fact that your character never dies. A full health character has 4 hearts representing its longevity at the top of the screen and once all the hearts have been depleted, the character simply falls apart into broken Lego blocks. If this happens, your character will automatically respawn. True, it takes a little challenge off the game, and there are little consequences of dying in the game – the only things you loose are the collectible Lego studs, which can be used to unlock items, but let’s face it: Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy was intended for use with the entire family, not just for the typical gamer.

The other serious mistake the game made: The TOTAL lack of online support. Nope, do not expect any form of online multiplayer in this game. If you want online multiplayer, my suggestion is to give this game a miss altogether. However, you can invite a friend over and play multiplayer co-op via one keyboard. How is this possible? The game is built in such a way that there are 2 sets of controls that can be fully customized at any given point of time in the game. At all times during the game, there will always be at least 2 characters on screen, so don’t worry, your friend will not wrestle control of your character away from you. At any time in the game, he/she will be able to drop out of the game without interrupting it. You can see this as a good point, but for me, this is a big leap backwards from online multiplayer. Do note that gameplay can get repetitive over time (though there are some cool vehicles to ride), so your friend can do some help to make gameplay fresher.

As if that is not bad enough, I encountered another problem with the game. Getting stuck in one particular level is a commodity in this game. Providing an objective point on a mini-map like what Call of Duty 3 did may be better. Often, objectives are hard to spot, translating into pure frustration.

As I mentioned earlier, system requirements are kept to the minimum for this game. What is puzzling though is that the action seems to freeze for a few moments during some levels. An ideal solution to this problem may be the release of a patch to fix the bug as soon as possible.

Overall, Lego Star Wars 2: The Original Trilogy is a good attempt by the developers, but this game is marred too far by a couple of fatal mistakes to give a high score. Read: Blemishes (and very serious ones as well) outnumber plus points. The word “boring” comes the mind after quite a while. Move on, people, this game is average at best.

Overall score: 7.2/10

Good points:
Great sense of humor, Adorable character models, low system requirement, clever integration of puzzles into gameplay, tons of unlockables
Bad points: Almost complete lack of save points, TOTAL lack of online support, repetitive gameplay, difficult-to-see objectives, occasional freezing


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