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LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy Review

Overview

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LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy reinforces the die hard Star Wars fan's creed, that the original is always better. LEGO Star Wars II follows up the surprise hit LEGO Star Wars with better game and a retelling of the classic original Star Wars Trilogy in a way that's unlike any other. In addition to retelling episodes IV, V and VI, LEGO Star Wars II is loaded with more missions, bonus levels, and more characters all of which are complimented with the same comical approach to storytelling.

Pros

  • The original Star Wars Trilogy storyline
  • More missions, vehicles, and unlockable characters & levels.
  • Easy to learn, fun to play.

Cons

  • Fixed camera, players unable to rotate or change view.
  • Nasty installation bug on some PC configurations.

Gameplay and Interface

At first look there's not much difference in the overall game play and interface between LEGO Star Wars II and LEGO Star Wars. LucasArts was right in not changing much from the first title since part of the charm of that game was the interface and game play.

The game opens in the now legendary Mos Eisley Cantina with you in control of Princess Leia and Captain Antilles. The Cantina is more or less the game's control room where you can recruit, unlocked, and customize characters. If you have unlocked characters from LEGO Star Wars you can also import them here. Mos Eisley is also the launching pad for the start of your journey through the three episodes of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Each episode, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi has it's own lounge area in the Cantina with doors that lead to the episode's missions. After completing the first mission from episode IV you're free to play any episode but the individual missions must be unlocked in sequential order. This means you're not going to be able to jump to the destruction of the Death Star until you've completd all of the previous missions. After unlocking a mission you are free to go back and play as many times as you like in Free Play mode. On top of the Story and Free Play modes, LEGO Star Wars II also includes a 2 player Co-Op mode.

Controls

If you do not have a PC game pad the game controls for LEGO Star Wars II are entirely on the keyboard, the mouse does not function as it does for many other first and third person games. In Co-op Mode, if one player doesn't have a game pad it can get a little crowded with two sets of hands on either end of the keyboard trying to control their character.
The camera is in third person perspective which means it simply follows above and behind the characters. There is no way for the player to rotate the camera or change the facing manually. This can lead to instances where objects in front of the camera obscure the view of your character making it quite difficult to know what's going on behind the object.

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy doesn't have a lot of complication weapons or vehicles. Blasters, light sabers and special force powers is really all there is and this uncomplicated approach works just as well as it did in the first game.

Graphics, Audio and Installation

The graphics for LEGO Star Wars II are nearly a spot on match to that of the first game, environments are more detailed but the characters look identical. There's not much to say about the character modeling, but then again what can you say...they're all LEGO characters! Jokes aside, the visuals and character modeling in the trademark LEGO shapes works magnificently and is a huge part of what makes the game so enjoyable.
There are no surprises with the game's soundtrack it uses the same great John Williams score found in the movies. In fact it's hard to imagine any Star Wars game without the familiar Star Wars theme or Imperial Death March. Sound effects of lightsabers, spacecraft, blasters and more are also virtually identical to what is heard in the movies.

One final thing worth a mention is a nasty installation bug (Error 1330) that prevents LEGO Star Wars II from installing on certain PC configurations. There is speculation on the LucasArts forum that it's due to certain drivers or windows installer. Nothing has been confirmed by LucasArts except that they are aware of the issue and a fix is being developed. For those who do experience this issue and can't wait for the patch, there is a user submitted work around in the LucasArts Forum that did work for me. Use at your own risk however.

Bottom Line

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy doesn't try to blow you away with fancy graphics or complicated weaponry, instead it uses good storytelling, easy game controls, and fun game play to make a very enjoyable game for people of all ages.
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