The original LEGO Star Wars is one of those titles that came completely out of left field and shocked everyone. Reactions were mixed when the game was announced, but turned out to be a solid game and became one of the sleeper hits of last year. Now, the sequel is hitting store shelves and adds to the successful formula of the first game by setting the stage in the original Star Wars trilogy. This version allows you to play through the best moments of Episodes IV through VI, like the assault on the Death Star and the Battle of Endor, with the LEGO touch. Just like the first LEGO Star Wars game, this version has tons of unlockables, from characters to vehicles and other extra features. While the game feels a lot like the original, you can’t help but feel charmed by the game’s style and classic setting.

LEGO Star Wars II starts out with a bang. The first stage of the game takes place aboard the Tantive IV, as Princess Leia flees Darth Vader’s Imperial forces with the stolen schematics for the Death Star. You fight your way through Imperial foot soldiers and release C-3PO and R2D2 with stolen plans in tow to Tatooine, where they stumble upon Luke Skywalker and the rest is history.

Like in the first game, LEGO Star Wars II puts you in control of the most pivotal characters during any given moment from the film series, like playing as Leia during the assault on Tantive IV or as Luke during the Rancor battle in Jabba’s Palace. Oftentimes you are given a party of people to control with their own unique abilities. Switching between characters is easy, only requiring the push of the Y button when close enough to the character that you want to take over. You’ll need to switch characters frequently, as they’ll each have to perform certain tasks in situations that require their individual skills. For example, certain doors can only be opened by droids like C-3PO or R2D2 and Ben Kenobi’s use of the force can help build certain objects when necessary.

Vehicles come into play a lot more this time around than in the previous game. This time around, you’ll battle it out on Hoth in snowspeeders, fight the Battle of Yavin, pilot speeder bikes on Endor and operate a bunch of Star Wars vehicles. You can also unlock new ones (like TIE fighters) the same way you would unlock a new character.

The one area where LEGO Star Wars II falters is the shoddy camera. The camera acts on its own accord, and will often get hung up on objects in the environment and gets obstructed, making it basically a crap shoot in certain battles. It’s a pretty big pain in the flying missions as well, since sometimes it can be tough to tell where you’re flying.

That said, LEGO Star Wars II is still extremely easy. The game shouldn’t take most gamers very long to complete the three episodes, but the real fun is in the unlockables and revisiting your favorite scenes.

Graphically, LEGO Star Wars II won’t be the prettiest game on your 360, but it looks great for what it is. The LEGO characters are well-animated and have a lot of personality them, the game does make use of some neat special effects, like lightsaber trails and focus effects. The framerates do take a hit sometimes when there's a lot of activity on-screen.

The sound effects are great as well. The epic score from the films is here and adapts to the onscreen action, and the sound effects are very crisp and clear.

The LEGO Star Wars games take a comical approach to the Star Wars films, as evidenced by their cartoon feel and the goofy cutscenes. While this initial impression may cause some to write it off as “just for kids,” LEGO Star Wars II is as exciting an experience as any “adult” game out there and whole-heartedly recommended for fans of the film series.

Review Scoring Details for LEGO Star Wars II

Gameplay: 8.0
LEGO Star Wars II keeps the solid gameplay from the original and adds tons of new unlockables to the mix, this time set in the much-beloved storyline of the original trilogy. Vehicular combat is done much better this time around, and the levels feel more diverse. The obstructive camera does pose a few problems however.

Graphics: 8.5
The game looks exactly as LEGO Star Wars should, with great-looking cartoon LEGO models of all of your favorite Star Wars characters, vehicles, and places, not to mention that the Xbox 360 version has the added luxury of HD glory. The only problem would be the occasionally boggy framerate.

Sound: 9.0
John Williams’ immortal score is present and accounted for, and the sound effects sound great in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.

Difficulty: Easy

Multiplayer: 8.0
The two-player co-op mode is a blast, albeit an offline one.

Concept: 8.5
With a classic Star Wars setting showcasing all the best Episode IV through VI moments of the series and more extras and unlockable characters than you can shake a stick at, this is LEGO Star Wars at its finest.

Overall: 8.0
LEGO Star Wars II takes the hit formula of the original game and applies it to what most of us wanted in the first place, LEGOs and the original trilogy. For fans of the original game or Star Wars fans in general, this is one to check out.
16.10.06 16:43
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