Despite a litany of glitches, LEGO Star Wars II is a rousing action adventure game that lives up to its source material.
Of course, the amusing twist is that everything looks like it was put together with LEGO bricks and people. LEGO tabs and panels are obvious on most walls and objects, and vehicles closely resemble the Star Wars-themed LEGO kits that you'll find on store shelves. When you blow a doorway to bits, it crumples into individual LEGO pieces. The same happens when characters die. There's no blood. Instead, stormtroopers and Rebels just fall apart.
The 3D graphics in the DS game aren't as slick as those found in the console versions, but they're impressive for a DS game. Objects and environments are highly detailed, characters are sharp and well defined, and the camera view shows a healthy chunk of the environment at any given moment. There are some eye-catching transparency and reflection effects to admire too, which are particularly evident in the mirrored floors of Cloud City. Noninteractive cinematic scenes help keep the story moving, though certain scenes, such as the confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader at Cloud City, have a very different emotional impact due to the whimsical look of the LEGO characters. High-quality music and sound effects--which sound just like John Williams' score and the effects used in the Star Wars movies--back up the action. There's no voice acting to speak of, unfortunately.
The game's biggest shortcoming is that it shipped with a bunch of flaws and glitches that shouldn't have made it into the final product. Friendly characters controlled by the CPU will occasionally shoot you in the back for no reason. Poor camera angles can obscure enemies and make it difficult to judge the proper angle to successfully leap across a gap. Sometimes, the camera forgets to follow your character and lets you walk into the distant background without switching to a closer view of the action. That can make sequences requiring precision-jumping a chore. Clipping issues can cause objects and enemies to outright turn invisible in busier levels and make it possible to fall through the scenery in spots, although things generally pop back into view within a few seconds. There is a section outside Jabba's sail barge, however, where CPU allies can fall through walkways and skid to their deaths, and depending on their respawn location, they may get stuck in an infinite loop of death and revival. Thankfully, while these glitches are unseemly, they're intermittent and never get in the way of completing a mission. Between the infinite number of lives and the ability to swap characters on the fly, you can generally inch your way out of whatever unfortunate predicament the camera or clipping problems cause.
Those that can take advantage of the game's multiplayer features should definitely make it a point to do so. The co-op feature lets a second player accompany you during story and free-play levels. Not only is exploring levels with a friend more enjoyable than doing so with predictable CPU allies, but your friends are less likely to stand around and eat blaster fire, get caught in infinite respawn glitches, or shoot you in the back for no reason. The second player can join or leave your game at any time, which makes the whole process remarkably painless. Both players must have their own copy of the game to take advantage of the co-op feature, though. In addition to co-op play, there's a battle arena mode that as many as four players can take part in. There are a number of arenas to pick from, and you can select various game types, such as deathmatch and capture the flag. The arenas are set up like smaller versions of the regular levels, complete with grapple pads and gun turrets that you can assemble to gain an edge over your opponents. Unlike the co-op mode, the battle arena mode supports single and multicard link-ups, although the selection of characters and arenas is limited when only a single game card is used to initiate the link.
LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy for the Nintendo DS is a rousing action adventure game that's packed with enough variety to satisfy fans and nonfans alike. The glitches are unfortunate, and they do make the game feel sloppy in spots, but not to the point that they take away from the game's fun or its wacky LEGO-inspired charm.
- Player Reviews: 66
- Game Universe:
- Star Wars Episode I: Racer (GBC, N64, DC, MAC),
- Star Wars: Yoda Stories (PC, GBC),
- Star Wars: Demolition (DC, PS),
- Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Star Wars: Starfighter (PC, PS2),
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (PC, XBOX, MAC, IP),
- Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter (PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS2, GC),
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (GC, PS2, XBOX),
- Star Wars Galaxies (PS2, XBOX)
- Offline Modes:
- Number of Players: