The first Lego Star Wars game was so fun, so charming and so downright goofy that only the most jaded of gamers couldn't help but grin when playing it. The sequel, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, is just as much fun as the first, and has the added bonus of being based on the more popular films in the entire Star Wars series.
While the first Lego Star Wars game based itself on events happening in the more recent Star Wars prequel trilogy (Episodes I, II and III), Lego Star Wars II takes the plot of the original Star Wars films (Episodes IV, V and VI) and gives them the Lego block treatment. The source material alone will probably win this game legions more fans than the first, purely because of the special place the original trilogy has in popular culture. Each film is broken up into six missions, and will see players take part in most of the classic moments from the original trilogy -- you'll get to fly an X-wing down the Death Star trench in Episode IV, take on Vader in Cloud City in Episode V, go on a speeder chase on the forest moon of Endor in Episode VI, and much more.
Very little has changed in terms of gameplay in Lego Star Wars II. Players take control of a single character, but there are usually at least two other characters that tag along and can be controlled simply by going up to them and pressing a button. Different types of characters have different abilities -- Jedis, for example, can use the Force to manipulate objects; blaster characters can use grappling hooks in certain locations; bounty hunters can throw thermal detonators; droids can open special doors, and so on. Each level is usually a split between straight-out blasting against enemies and some light puzzle solving which usually involves figuring out which character to use in which situation. And just as in the first Lego Star Wars game, each film usually features at least one vehicle combat mission, which will let players pilot X-Wings, snow speeders, AT-STs and even the Millennium Falcon.
The series' ultra-friendly two-player co-op mode also makes a return. This allows a second player to join in at any stage of the game and take control of another character.
And speaking of ultra-friendly, it's still impossible to die in Lego Star Wars, meaning those looking for a challenge may be left disappointed yet again. On the flip side, this makes the game as easily accessible for all type of gamers as the first one -- kids particularly will be sure to love how forgiving Lego Star Wars II is.
Despite its ease, the original game was still a hit with older gamers purely because of how kitsch the pairing of Lego and Star Wars looks on screen, and this game is no exception. Lego Star Wars II looks great, featuring impressive graphics and detailed backgrounds that any Star Wars fan will adore. The Xbox 360 version we tested sported some impressive textures and great particle effects, and looked stunning on a HD set. Sound is equally impressive -- everything from light sabre hums to the clicking sound made when the on-screen characters were putting together Lego constructions sounded spot on.
Lego Star Wars II retains all the charm and fun of the original, so fans would be well advised to grab themselves a copy. Those looking for a kid-friendly game or who just want to indulge in some Star Wars nostalgia also won't be disappointed.