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Editorial: Ranking the Top Levels of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Discussion in 'SWNN News Feed' started by SWNN Probe, Apr 15, 2022.

  1. SWNN Probe

    SWNN Probe Seeker

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    The most definitive experience in Star Wars game history to relive the movies we love is here, and it's glorious. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is simply a staggering achievement TT Games should be proud of. It's not perfect, but there isn't an experience like it.



    I myself am right in the middle of a 100% completion run that I have yet to come to terms with how long it will take. And yet, I have no regrets. Spending time on each world getting all the kyber bricks, following Nobot into his creepy lair, going on a wild goose chase to find a new arm for Ponda Baba, immediately getting sidetracked to steal Darth Vader's Executor Super Star Destroyer as Darth Vader, experimenting with all the unlockable characters, and so much more I haven't even found yet has been a treat. 



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    That being said, not everybody is going to play the game like me. While the game was designed with the intent for the player to live in the Star Wars galaxy for an indeterminable amount of time, that doesn't change that the life blood of the game is the casual player. They care about one thing, the part of the game that has to be excellent for everyone: the story levels.



    Thankfully, The Skywalker Saga is packed with a ton of wonderful levels that vary wildly and can be played any way you want. You want to hide behind a barrier and have a shootout with the baddies? Be my guest. You want to jump over that barrier and combo them into oblivion? Go for it. You want to go full-stealth mode to avoid detection? Sweet. You got bored and want to have the hordes of the Empire and First Order bear down on you? Awesome.



    This variety means that everyone will have their own favorite levels based on a ton of different factors. So, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of them. I narrowed my own down to a general top 10; I combined some levels here and there just to get as many as possible in the mix. It's worth reiterating that this is my own list, so when I say I didn't love the podracing level and you won't find it on this list, come at me. My favorite levels reflect my own experience, play style, and unfortunately, my own expectations. LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is TT Games’ magnum opus. With how much time they’ve sunk into LEGO Star Wars for almost two decades, expectations are high. Objective quality doesn’t mean subjective enjoyment.



    Hot takes are coming. And before we get to my top 10, let’s start with some honorable mentions.



    [COLOR=#22b2ea; font-size: 14pt]So Uncivilized (Episode III, Level 2)[/COLOR]



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    The saving grace for Obi-Wan vs. Grievous is the fact that the lightsaber fight mechanics are great, lifting every one of these levels higher than it otherwise would have been. Other than that, tell me how it stands out. As I mentioned earlier, I am attempting to 100% complete the game. This means I ignored Grievous for a chunk of time to find minikits and collect studs. The extras in this level are uninspired, making the level feel smaller and more of a drag when it should have felt bigger and more epic. Not to mention there was no chase across Utapau or change in scenery, which felt like a mistake to leave out. It was a level that was still fun, but nothing stood out which leaves it here.



    [COLOR=#22b2ea; font-size: 14pt]Fulfill Your Destiny (Episode VI, Level 5)[/COLOR]



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    Another case of a level not meeting my own expectations. Return of the Jedi is not only my favorite Star Wars movie, but also it's my favorite movie of all time. The throne room scene is everything which is why Fulfill Your Destiny is a slight letdown. The first part of the level is great. The fight with Vader is awesome with all of its different little phases. What follows though is the fight with Emperor Palpatine, and it's… not great. Deflecting his force lightning can only be so exciting for so long. That might not be fair, and I've seen tons of people praise this level, but it wasn't entirely for me. Palpatine will have redemption to come in this list though so don’t fret.





    [COLOR=#22b2ea; font-size: 14pt]Most of the flying levels[/COLOR]



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    I called out the podracing level in my setup earlier as it was way too similar to The Complete Saga's version to make an impact, and I have to call out the Battle of Hoth level too. That level hearkened back to the olden days of aimlessly flying around hoping for another shot at your target in a reasonable timeframe. This time, trying to rope the legs of the AT-AT walkers felt hard. I don't know if it was just me, but the controls felt like they changed, and I was never informed. It was the most frustrating part of the game. Which is why other than that, huge props must be given to most of The Skywalker Saga's flying levels as they are the most pleasant surprise in the game.



    TT Games took all of the complaints levied from prior LEGO Star Wars titles and largely changed the formula. Some signs of a rebound were present in The Clone Wars and The Force Awakens games, but this is where it all came together. Gone are the days of going back and forth for 15 minutes hoping to fire off the 17th proton torpedo at a target because you missed a supposedly unmissable shot. Yes, that is a big exaggeration, and maybe I'm just plain awful at the old flying levels, but that doesn’t change the fact that in The Skywalker Saga, these levels are sweet. Very rarely are you ever stalled, and if you are, it’s easy to figure out your target. The levels don’t overstay their welcome, and you can’t help but have a smile on your face as you go “pew pew” and actually hit most of your targets.



    And now without further ado, here are my top 10 levels in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.



    10. Starkiller Queen (Episode VII, Level 4)



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    This top 10 list begins with a level I initially was skeptical about. I fondly remember the Captain Phasma boss fight in LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens being one of the highlights in the entire game. Heading into this version, I knew we would likely get another fight with Phasma at some point in The Last Jedi portion of the game, meaning the first fight wasn't going to be much. I take it all back.



    What a fun idea. Take down 30 stormtroopers, while they make snide remarks the entire time. “Don’t you do it, don’t you defeat me. You won’t like Phasma if she has to come out here!” Meanwhile Phasma is up in her little room like employing more of LEGO's classic humor as she gets more frustrated. The eventual boss fight simply consisted of building a trap and Phasma walking right in. It was a nice play on fan's response to Phasma being somewhat incompetent after The Force Awakens first came out back in 2015. Starkiller Queen is a nice change of pace that a lot of the best levels in The Skywalker Saga employ.



    9. The Copa-Khetanna (Episode VI, Level 2)



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    If you would have told me LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga would have an Ornstein and Smough Dark Souls boss fight, I would have laughed at you. No, I’m not saying that Jabba the Hutt and Salacious B. Crumb gave me trouble, but it was the unique dynamic of this duo boss fight that jumped out at me. Leia is chained to Jabba, and you can’t get to the monkey lizard, so you have to switch to R2 and catch him. Like Ornstein and Smough, this fight gives you two separate enemies at once which should be overwhelming, but how they complement each other makes the fight iconic. This level would have been fine if it just consisted of Luke, Han, Lando, and the rest of the gang's conquest on top of Jabba's sail barge, but it was taken to the next level and earns a spot on this list.



    8. Petranaki Panic (Episode II, Level 4)



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    I’m a simple man. You let me mind control a Reek, and give me the incentive to use it to take on the Acklay or Nexu, I will be a happy man. 



    Jedi Battle from the first LEGO Star Wars game and The Complete Saga is remembered as one of the best levels, and for good reason. However, when you play it now, it does feel a bit dated. The prologue level in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars revisited the Battle of Geonosis and made it a little more varied in having you actually fight the Acklay along with the other beasts holding Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé at bay. Now here we are again, and this might be the best version. The Skywalker Saga’s take has unique boss fights with every one of the creatures plus a climactic fight with Jango Fett that felt chaotic without being too self-indulgent.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]7. Best Leia'd Plans & This is Some Rescue (Episode IV, Levels 3 & 4)[/COLOR]



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    I am grouping these two levels together as they are essentially one in the same. Get in the Death Star and get out. This pairing is classic LEGO Star Wars fun; you dress up as stormtroopers, fail to be stealthy, solve puzzles, and just blast your way through everything. Each iconic line of dialogue from A New Hope is injected with fun LEGO humor on top of it all. However, the standout has to be the new Dianoga boss fight. Impeccable scenery as the walls of the trash compactor close in, making it harder and harder to dodge what the Dianoga throws at you. 



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]6. Hibernation Station (Episode V, Level 4)[/COLOR]



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    Similar to the last entry, the escape from Cloud City is classic LEGO fun. What edges it out though is that end sequence. A callback to the Hunk of Junk level from A New Hope, Chewbacca is again repairing the Falcon. This time though you are in survival mode as the hordes of the Empire come down on you. Then, Boba Fett's ship appears and everything changes. The new camera shines as you look up at the behemoth, and you know you can't stop it, relegated to firing your tiny little blaster bolts. I found myself looking at the repair meter praying Chewbacca finishes soon, feeling the tension rise as I didn't want to die while nearing True Jedi status for the level. On second playthrough, I did find that the meter ties into how many enemies you've killed, and you can actually make Boba Fett a non-factor, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]5. Better Call Maul, The High Ground, Revelations!, Destroying Starkiller, No Snoke Without Fire, The Strength To Do It (Various Levels)[/COLOR]



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    I have good news and bad news. The good news is that the lightsaber fights are a joy. They remain tons of fun without being frustrating, and the updated mechanics add a sense of atmosphere that will help cement not just their respective levels, but the game as a whole as one of Star Wars' best in a long time. The first fight I came across with Darth Maul was so much fun. I was in awe of what this game suddenly became.



    Now the bad news, and that's the reason why six levels are here. I wanted to get more levels in the mix, but unfortunately there is another reason why. All of these levels are the same. None of the fights are different. Mix and match iconic scenery all you want, that doesn’t change the fact that all of these levels don’t change how they are played. They are all still awesome. But once you play one, you’ve played them all. Each level packs in small twists here and there, and they capture the feeling from the movies, but that doesn't bump them up any higher when there are other levels that stepped up even further.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]4. Boarding Party (Episode IV, Level 1)[/COLOR]



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    I jumped around a lot across all the movies in my playthrough. Even though I started with the intent to play them in order, a change was needed after The Phantom Menace. So much had been said about the new combat system prior to the game, but I hadn’t really experienced it yet as so much of Episode I is lightsaber action. So, I went over to play through A New Hope, where I was immediately thrown into Boarding Party. 



    One of the favorite levels from back in the day, this new version was a breath of fresh air. If The Phantom Menace levels were short and snappy, then this one brought me back to the epic adventure levels where you fight to stay alive so you don't have to go through it again just to get that one extra stud. The moment a stormtrooper started blocking my attacks, the game changed for me. Where Jedi can still for the most part just mash the same button, Leia had to scramble for every inch making combat sections that much more intense. This might have been the hardest level in the game combat wise, simply because of how different it was to every LEGO Star Wars game before it and how much it threw me for a loop. Not to mention the Rogue One hallway scene homage as Vader tears through everything the few times you see him.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]3. The Battle of the Jedi & Out for the Count (Episode II, Level 5 & Episode III, Level 1)[/COLOR]



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    I grouped a bunch of lightsaber fight levels above as none of them did anything radically different. Luckily, there were a few that did. First up are both Count Dooku levels. The finale of Attack of the Clones featured my first taste of deflecting force lightning, and I also greatly appreciated the level design. When Yoda came into the picture, I was treated to another wrinkle. The dodging mechanic for fights is awesome, but a lot of times you can still jump around and get the job done. I don't know if it was something I was doing wrong, but Yoda would not jump. This forced me to be more strategic in my attack plan. In the back of my mind, I was wondering how long the level would be so every death mattered if I wanted to get and keep the studs I needed.



    These levels also packed in possibly my favorite humor in the entire game. A cutscene featuring Dooku showering was great. Obi-Wan and Anakin’s banter through the first part of Out for the Count, leading into Super Battle Droids acting as cheerleaders for your second fight with the Sith Lord was a highlight. Dooku himself was a memorable foe and a standout boss fight both times. Now if only we would have gotten a space section during Battle of Coruscant as a pre-level. Come on TT.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]2. Be With Me (Episode IX, Level 5)[/COLOR]



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    Emperor Palpatine came back with a vengeance for what I’m presuming will be the final level for a lot of players. A jam-packed thrill ride start to finish, Be With Me is everything you want to end a journey like this. It starts with Rey and Ben Solo fighting their own battles against Palpatine’s Sovereign Protectors and the Knights of Ren. The boss arena was great and added a sense of scale and danger not felt in other levels. The level kicked it up another notch in the skies above as you take over as Finn to fight the Final Order. This section culminated in a significant over-delivery with the BB-Boss fight. I was hesitant, and daresay scared to approach the droid that would not stop firing upon me. It was a crazy feeling.



    And then the finale between Rey and Palpatine. More snappy fun LEGO humor abounds as it all comes together with Palpatine’s final pleas to Rey, which were callback lines to he used to turn Anakin. Sam Witwer had a ton of fun voicing Palpatine, and it showed this entire level. I purposefully prolonged the final button mash so I could hear all of his dialogue. A wonderfully fun climax that hopefully every fan can get behind no matter how you feel about The Rise of Skywalker.



    [COLOR=#f7e028; font-size: 14pt]1. Senate Showdown (Episode III, Level 4)[/COLOR]



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    I need LEGO Star Wars boss fights to either capture them the way the movies did, or I need them to stand out some other way. Nothing in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga showcased those requirements more than the fight between Yoda and Darth Sidious. The biggest pure spectacle of a level as the newly appointed emperor shoots force lightning at you from every direction, forcing you to dodge in ways you never have in the game to this point. And for a completionist trying to get True Jedi status on as many levels as possible off the bat, it’s an adrenaline rush. I don't know if it's just the Elden Ring-high I'm still riding, but it definitely felt like the first phase of an Elden Ring fight in that regard.



    The transition to the second phase in the Senate chamber featured a seemingly never-ending button mash, marking possibly the most dramatic point in the game. After that was over, and I don’t know if it was just me, I did fly through this second part of the level, getting damage out of just about every swing of my saber making it not much of a challenge. The spectacle of the encounter lived on though, all of this encapsulating why Senate Showdown is the best level in the game.



    Every single level in LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has a redeeming quality, and that in of itself is an achievement. The fact a game this size has only a few dull moments is something to be commended.



    What are your favorite levels? Am I nuts for comparing boss fights in a LEGO game to Dark Souls and Elden Ring? Let me know and then get back into it! Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes aren't going to find their stolen instruments themselves!



    Click HERE to check out and comment on this topic on our main site
     
    #1 SWNN Probe, Apr 15, 2022
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2022
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  2. Rogues1138

    Rogues1138 Crazy Old Wizard
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    It's a fun game, comparing it to a very dark game like Elden Ring is hilarious. Great achievement for Lego, but come on... really.
     
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