Ever since I finished Lego Star Wars I, I have been looking forward to the sequel. I enjoyed the first game a great deal, despite the presence of Jar-Jar Binks. When you consider how truly annoying the gungan is, that's saying a lot. In my (not so) humble opinion, it would take a lot of effort to screw up this video game up. Thankfully, this game is even better than its predecessor. I must admit to a prejudice in the basic plot, though. An act of Congress couldn't convince me that Episodes I – III were better then IV – VI.
Just like before, you journey through the entire trilogy battling the forces of evil. There are vast quantities of stormtroopers to slaughter, items to collect, and puzzles to solve. The gameplay is not very linear and once you beat the first level, you can choose which of the movies to continue with. Unfortunately, there are only eighteen scenes; I wish there were a dozen more. Luckily once you finish all the levels, there is still a lot to do.
This game is all about collecting and unlocking everything you possibly can. It has about twenty five features that you can purchase and employ. My personal favorite was the one that lets you use all the characters from the first game. Haven't you always wanted to watch General Grievous go up against an army of Ewoks? I know I have, but I've been told such thoughts aren't all that common. The other extras range from the extremely helpful (invincibility) to the extremely amusing (Chewbacca carrying a legless C-3PO on his back ala The Empire Strikes Back). There is even a set of extras that multiply the money you pick up within the levels or Mos Eisley cantina that serves as the game's hub. You can then use the extra money to buy more extras.
These extras aren't the only things you can buy. There are dozens of characters you can purchase as well. You can play as Grand Moff Tarkin, Greedo, a Jawa, or the Emperor. Although I should warn you about playing as the Emperor, when he is in play he cackles constantly. It's cute at first, but after ten minutes or so it gets on your nerves. And for the benefit of my primarily male audience I will mention that you can play as Princess Leia in her metal bikini from Return of the Jedi. Since she's sporting a Lego body, I doubt it will be as pleasing to the eye as you might hope.
Traveller's Tales have certainly learned from the last game. Not that there was all that much wrong with the first game, but they strived to improve upon it. They fixed one or two small, irritating aspects of the last game and toned down the jumping puzzle factor of the game. While there still are a few jumping puzzles, they are nowhere near as long or as difficult as they used to be. And most importantly they made the game longer. I'll admit, it's still not long enough for me, but it would be difficult to satisfy my need to blow up Lego-sized stormtroopers.
I was surprised how difficult some of the gameplay was though. The last game was definitely geared towards children and so it was not a very challenging game. However, this game was marketed for a broader audience, mostly due to the popularity of the first one. So this game was harder than the last. I was especially surprised by how strenuous some of the puzzles were. These weren't even puzzles to unlock something new and exciting. I found myself stymied several times in the course of normal gameplay. It took a few minutes, but I did finally get through. The real trouble came in, as it always does, with the flying levels. Thankfully, unlike its predecessor there was no timer set on any of these levels. As a result I was able to actually make the trench run and fly through the exploding Death Star. It was a great deal of fun, since I have never been able to get to a Death Star level in any of the other Star Wars games I have played. Sadly, I still had to rely on others to unlock most of the extra goodies on these levels.
All the items mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are bounty hunter levels, head to head competitions, and a variety of other fun things to explore. I've been playing the game non-stop for more than a week and I'm still only 85% done (at least according to their records). This is a fabulous sequel to a wonderful game and I can't recommend it enough. If you liked the first game, you will love this one. Go out and pick it up tonight.
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