Where the first game focused on Episodes I (The Phantom Menace), II (Attack of the Clones), and III (Revenge of the Sith), LEGO Star Wars II uses those iconic bricks to tell the stories of the original films: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. From the Mos Eisley cantina, that wretched hive of scum and villainy, you can access the games 18 levels, as well as several bonus areas, new modes of gameplay, and a complement of unlockable bounty hunter missions.
As in the previous game, you play through a LEGO-ized version of each films story, collecting mini-kit pieces used to assemble vehicles and scooping up studs, the currency of the LEGO Star Wars universe. When you complete a level, visit the cantina bartender to trade your studs for hints, unlocked characters and ships, bonus goodies, and gold bricks. You can unlock over 50 characters and even bring in another 50-plus from the first game, enabling you to, for example, put Darth Maul on Endor or send Qui-Gon Jinn to the Death Star.
Youll find this is a bigger and even richer game all around, with more LEGO, more you can do with it, and more challenge for experienced players.- Jonathan Smith, development director
More Freedom Than Before
LEGO Star Wars II goes beyond the original by giving you creatures and vehicles, such as Tauntauns and landspeeders, to ride during many of the on-foot levels. In addition, the spaceship levels are no longer on rails, offering the freedom to move at will around open environments, such as space battles and asteroid fields. You can even switch between ships in Free Play, the same way you can move between characters in the on-foot levels, and now you can hop in your mini-kit vehicles and take them for a bonus level spin after you collect all the necessary parts, rather than just look at them.
Youll also have new items to collect as you play each level, including gold bricks and red power bricks. There are 99 of the former they count toward unlocking new gameplay modes as well as gaining access to bonus levels, including one called LEGO City. If you collect all 99 of them, you can build a fountain that cascades studs. The red power bricks offer various bonuses, such as double damage for blasters and lightsabers, arrows that points to mini-kit pieces, invincibility, and more.
Finally, all non-droid characters can now build objects with LEGO blocks (look for the jumping bricks), and many of them now have character-specific attacks, such as Chewbaccas ability to pull enemies arms out of their sockets and Darth Vaders Force Choke. As before, only Jedi Knights can move certain objects, and some items can only be affected by a Sith (Darth Vader, the Emperor, or a Sith imported from the first game).
In addition, some areas are accessible only by bounty hunters or stormtroopers, which means you need to return there with one during Free Play, which becomes available after you complete a level in Story mode.
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Anyone, even the most apparently insignificant from farm boy to droid has it within themselves to influence the fate of an entire galaxy.- Jonathan Smith
The new individual character abilities gave us more gameplay options and greater variety, Smith notes. We also knew that our original layered approach to puzzles where we put challenges of increasing complexity off the beaten track to reward exploration and experimentation, and give advanced players more to aim for had really paid off, so we spent a lot of time really focusing on that level of depth.
The puzzles propel each movies storyline, requiring you to solve them before you move on to the next scene. While the puzzles use each films plot as a springboard, they dont progress in exactly the same manner as their big-screen counterparts. For example, the storyline of A New Hope drops the idea of R2-D2 running away from the Lars homestead on Tatooine, instead bringing in the Jawas to kidnap R2 and C-3PO. You must figure out how to effectively use Luke and Obi-Wan to save the droids from a Sandcrawlers bowels.
Our approach here is always organic, Smith explains. We simply put the most memorable moments from our source material on a board, break it all up into levels, and spend a few hours jiggling it around until its neat. We naturally build the game around our love of the characters, and the LEGO-ness of what were doing does give us license to stray into some unseen areas without causing any trouble.
He adds: Some things change during the months of development, of course, and as we watch and re-watch the movies closely, we always discover additional visual details to include, or which spark the idea for a gag. Keep a close eye on each movies cut scenes for plenty of examples of the latter, such as the long-nosed Imperial spy from Mos Eisley crashing the medal award ceremony at the end of A New Hope.
Anyone Can Be a LEGO Hero
LEGO building blocks as we know them have been around for six decades, with Star Wars clocking in at half that lifespan, and both will continue to inspire young and old alike for many more years to come. In fact, Smith notes that hes heard from many parents who enjoy playing the LEGO Star Wars games with their children in cooperative play mode.
Anyone, even the most apparently insignificant from farm boy to droid has it within themselves to influence the fate of an entire galaxy, he responds, when asked about the general theme of the original Star Wars trilogy. And in LEGO Star Wars II, players of all ages and abilities can join in this epic struggle and take control of the outcome.