The last time we checked in with the blocky denizens of a galaxy far, far away, all was reasonably well. The residents of the planet Naboo had been saved from the evil Trade Federation and its robotic army, and their fashion-plate queen was restored to power. On the downside, the forces of good were short a Jedi, and the annoying Gungan people were also saved. But such is life. This doesn't last, of course, which is where we check in with Lego Star Wars' next set of levels based on Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.
Although you'll be able to access the Episode II content after completing the first chapter in the Episode I level, you'll obviously want to hold out until you finish all the Episode I stages so as not to spoil anything for yourself. When you're ready, you'll head to the appropriate elevator to be dropped off in the Episode II room. You'll find five stages to play through in Episode II, which include Discovery on Kamino, Droid Factory, Jedi Battle, Gunship Cavalry, and Count Dooku. Discovery on Kamino expands on Obi-Wan's visit to Kamino, as well as his discovery of the clone factory. Droid Factory sends you off as Anakin on a search for Obi-Wan, who's being held hostage in the factory. Jedi Battle plops you into the midst of the awesome arena battle between the Jedi forces and just about everyone else. Gunship Cavalry puts you in control of a Republic gunship and sics you on the Trade Federation's ground forces. Finally, Count Dooku re-creates the triple team force of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda as they combat the evil Count Dooku.
While the basic gameplay and party mechanics we covered in the Episode I preview stay true, we have to say we're especially pleased with the gunship level thanks to the Zaxxon-like play style during its early part. In addition, we finally got the chance to get our Sam Jackson and Yoda on, as Mace Windu and the pint-sized Jedi master are unlocked. As with the Episode 1 levels, we're pleased to see how the game distills the best sequences from the film into smartly designed and addictive levels with solid gameplay.
The visuals and audio are obviously on par with the Episode I content, although we were pleased to see the scope of the ground battles on Geonosis, such as the ground combat and arena battle, nailed. As before, the inventive look of the Lego environments and characters never ceases to bring a smile to our faces...even when it's a cinematic that shows young Boba Fett cradling Jango's severed head/helmet. The audio helps sell the game's zany charm, as the authentic sound effects and music--coupled with the short emotes from the characters--work well with the visuals.
If you're a Star Wars fan and are looking for what is arguably one of the best ways to relive your happy memories from the films in game form, then you'll certainly want to keep an eye out for Lego Star Wars when it ships toward the end of this month.