Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
features one play style that is split up into two major modes: Story and Free Play. Story mode takes you through all three movies of the prequel trilogy and touches on some of the major elements of the trilogy. If you’re trying to keep yourself spoiler-free until May, it might be a good idea to either just play through the first two episodes and wait, or not even consider a purchase until the third movie comes out. A few elements aren’t delved into too deeply, but it’s enough to give the plot away.
Most levels are platforming areas that require both quick fingers and some problem-solving to complete. Each episode also contains at least one non-platforming area. In “Phantom Menace,” you race in the Boonta Eve Classic, while in “Attack of the Clones,” you pilot a Republic Gunship. I only wish there were more of these types of areas in the game since they’re actually pretty enjoyable, especially the opening sequence from “Revenge of the Sith.”
Although presented in a more comical way, the levels stay true to the story and don’t try to add in elements (something the SNES Star Wars games were famous for). At the same time, the story completely skips other elements of the story, giving the narrative a broken feel. It could be argued that elements like Anakin’s “aggressive negotiations” with the Tuskens or turn to the Dark Side might be a little too much for the game’s target audience, yet the game is also based on the audience already knowing these things happen. I could see leaving some of the darker “Episode III” elements out, but there are still some areas that would have made for great kid-friendly levels. For example, Anakin blowing up the Trade Federation cruiser or the bounty hunter chase from “Attack of the Clones” would have made for great levels. Adding these scenes would have helped to make the story more cohesive and would have given the game more length. As it stands, Story mode can be completed in a matter of hours. However, completing this mode is only the first step.
Free Play is where the game’s “play” element comes into place. After completing a level in Story mode, you can go back and play through it again, this time with your choice of characters. Who you use in Free Play mode is ultimately up to personal decision, allowing you to play with your favorite characters when you want. Once you have your main character, you’re assigned a “team” of characters that help you unlock the level’s secrets. Free Play mode involves going through previous levels and collecting a set amount of pegs and mini-kits, which allow you to build and collect mini-kits of several “Star Wars” vehicles.
Free Play adds a nice chunk of replay time to the game, which is great considering the relatively short length of Story mode. It’s only real failing is something that affects the entire game; once you’ve done everything there is to do, there’s really no reason to go back and do it again. As much as I enjoyed the game, I just didn’t find it compelling enough to play multiple times.
The real fun in both Free Play and Story mode is that a second player can join in at any time and take over the role as the second character. If your friend suddenly has to leave, they can pop out of the game just as easily as they joined, giving control back to the A.I. A player-controlled side-kick is preferable to the A.I.-run version since the latter isn’t much help. Characters with guns are usually a little more helpful and actually shoot in the direction of enemies, but for the most part they play a very defensive game.