When the first LEGO Star Wars game came out in April of 2005, many people questioned the idea of taking two distinct properties and combining them into one game. These questions didn't usually last much longer than the first few minutes of playing the game. The combination of LEGO and Star Wars worked so well, players had to wonder why the concept had not been used before. Especially after playing the official Episode III game, which was nowhere near as much fun to play as it's brick-based equivalent.
In fact, in many regards, the LEGO Star Wars game was more enjoyable than watching the prequel films, the cut-scenes were humourous in a way that all ages could appreciate and Jar-Jar Binks had an actual purpose in that he could jump higher than any other character.
It was, then, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that we put a pre-release version of LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (LSW2) into our PS2 - had Traveller's Tales managed to get it right again? Could the second game live up to the first? What could they add that would enhance the game and not detract from the sublime simplicity of the first? Would Artoo retain his limited flight capabilities despite them not appearing in the original three films?
All of those questions melted away when the words "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" appeared on screen and the opening chords of John William's famous tune blared from the SPOnG test rig. We were transported back to 1977 and our child-like fascination with Star Wars, and indeed LEGO, was re-kindled. Jar-Jar? Midiclorians? What are those?
This is real
Star Wars! Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader when he was a bad man and not a petulant child and, best of all, the chance to fly the Millennium Falcon!
As with the first game, you start in a central location and from there you can visit chapters of the three films as they are opened up. In LEGO Star Wars you began in Dex's Diner on Coruscant, here you start in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Initially you will only be able to wander around the cantina and its environs and visit chapter one of Episode IV. Once you have completed chapter one, the next chapter of Episode IV and the first chapters of the other two films become available. From then on completing one chapter opens up the next in the same film. The chapters are a mix of on-foot and vehicular levels and both styles of play work well, with more attention being given to the on-foot sections due to visible characters and the opportunities for puzzles and interaction.