LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga spans three generations of Star Wars epics, from The Phantom Menace to the Rise of Skywalker. However, like the films themselves, no two LEGO Star Wars campaigns are built alike. The great twist of all? The best ones aren’t all that you’d expect!
So let’s break it down – which LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga campaign reigns supreme?
The Worst Campaign – The Rise of Skywalker
A big question hanging over The Skywalker Saga was if TT Games could work their magic as they had with LEGO The Force Awakens. Not only had it been a brilliant step-up for LEGO games, but it rectified many issues audiences took with its source material. Surely with the benefit of hindsight to The Rise of Skywalker, they could bring a proper conclusion home for the Skywalker Saga of its namesake, right?
Oh, would that that were the case.
Now it’s not that The Rise of Skywalker doesn’t adapt well to a videogame. It’s a series of fetch quests and random battles – you don’t get a simpler string of objectives to gamify into a campaign. Yet somehow rather than expanding on these plot points, The Rise of Skywalker trims things further. Barely there levels paired with sandbox levels so small you could fit them in a minikit.
I can’t exaggerate how undercooked The Rise of Skywalker’s campaign is. The final ‘level’ is one brawling sequence sandwiching a linear sprint over the bow of a Star Destroyer. Barely any of the mechanics and clever moments you expect from LEGO games are found in this ‘grand’ finale. You can’t even participate in the aerial dogfighting above Exegol. Instead, much like the film, it’s based on, it’s all-flash with mere glimpses of what could’ve been.
You Literally Had an Entire Better Game About This – The Force Awakens
Yeah, there’s no way I can speak positively to what’s… ‘accomplished’ feels like the wrong word here. Where the last Force Awakens-based LEGO experience was a gem to behold, this feels like a rushed prototype. Levels are oddly more barren, side objectives on the planets you go to aren’t all that exciting, and they fundamentally break some of the storytelling from the film.
But don’t you worry, because, for other sections, you’ll repeat the exact same sequences as before, especially with vehicles. It’s just that now, they’re less fleshed out and even more on-rails. The sole highlight is that Takodana isn’t a mediocre sandbox despite being relatively disconnected from the greater saga.
The resulting mess is like your favorite musician performing a terrible cover of their own music on a reunion tour. It would’ve been better to just copy in the levels from before with some tweaks to fit the new gameplay. It doesn’t help that the sequel trilogy also features the strangest vocal direction of the entire game, including some oddly cast soundalikes who are anything but. All this campaign awakens is a sense of dread.
Abridged Too Far – Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi starts off strong. It has one of the best visual gags out of the entire game and presents a unique twist on breaking into Jabba’s Palace. Then escaping Jabba turns into a fairly boilerplate action sequence that suffers from large empty spaces with the only major feature being two back-to-back, super easy boss fights. Then you just briefly revisit sandbox levels from before until arriving on Endor.
And then, everything goes downhill. The Endor speeder bike sequence literally is just flying forward and shooting the same enemy multiple times in a row. There’s no strategy to it, no unique collectibles or puzzles you have to solve over multiple rotations like in LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. It’s so bland, which describes much of what follows.
I know I keep comparing the two, but LEGO The Force Awakens abridges the entirety of Endor, from the battle kicking off to the final duel between Luke and Palpatine, as a single cohesive experience. That’s not what you get here. It feels like you’re playing the table scraps of a movie that TT Games is tired of retelling.
Even piloting an AT-ST feels like a perfunctory inclusion, the game practically sighing like an exhausting tour guide. The exclusion of any vehicle sequence besides the AT-ST is also particularly glaring given the space portion of the Battle of Endor is a fan favorite.
A Pale Reflection – The Last Jedi
Obviously, The Last Jedi is a divisive entry in the Skywalker Saga for the fanbase. On one hand, it’s a bold step forward for the franchise, asking headier questions normally heard in spin-offs like Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. On the other, it’s oddly paced and can be incredibly preachy about those philosophical ponderings rather than letting you just think.
Or you could play the LEGO Star Wars version and just ignore all that, keeping the awkward pacing but stripping out almost all of the meaning. Whether it’s a misguided attempt to line The Last Jedi up to be more tonally aligned with The Rise of Skywalker is up for debate. What’s undeniable is how oddly out of focus every level is. There’s an entire dedicated level to Rose and Finn breaking out of prison, but next to nothing for the Battle of Crait.
The only level that comes close to capturing the energy of the film is the opening space battle above D’Qar. For one brief moment, you have some great space action and are reliving a setpiece from the film as it played out on the big screen. Then it’s over, and you’re left with several peculiar scenarios that try to inject humor at odd moments and play things straight when it makes less sense to.
At least the gameplay itself is fine, which is what puts The Last Jedi’s campaign over its sequel trilogy peers. You’re never quite bored, yet fans of the film will be underwhelmed by the changes made.
Impatience Doesn’t Befit a Jedi – The Phantom Menace
The Phantom Menace is the other most divisive film in the franchise. Some love it despite its flaws, while others see it as the first downfall of the saga. Yet few can disagree that the original LEGO Star Wars made wonderful use of the first prequel. There’s even a cute homage to that game, with LEGO-ified copies of the game stored in a side room of the first level. Without a doubt, The Phantom Menace’s campaign is a loving look back at what kicked everything off.
However, it’s here we really start to see the game rushing along to not lose audience’s attention. Not that The Phantom Menace couldn’t do with a more exciting presentation for younger fans, it’s just… really brief. You’d be forgiven for blurring most of the campaign out because of how same-y it all feels. The sandbox environments help make up for this, as does the final duel with Darth Maul, but the scripted sequences rarely land.
The pod race in particular is such a dramatic downgrade in quality that I’d have preferred they made it a cutscene instead. Imagine the pod racing minigame from Kinect Star Wars, now somehow make it play worse. This is after two solid iterations on the racecourse between the original game and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga. It’s one of the only notable gameplay highlights out of the campaign, and it plays worse than a game made for hardware over three console generations back. What happened here?
So, the Phantom Menace has gorgeous aesthetics, cute gags, and fun sandbox levels, but as a campaign? Not quite all there.
Not Cloud Nine – The Empire Strikes Back
The Empire Strikes Back is almost universally the fan favorite of the saga. It’s grandiose yet grounded. Inspiring yet tense. It’s the textbook example of a greater sequel that takes a thing you like, and makes it darker.
“Elijah, why are you talking about the movie instead of the campaign?”
Well, omnipresent audience voice, that’s because the Empire Strikes Back’s campaign is only… fine. It’s just fine. There’s a wholly unnecessary platforming level before the story properly begins. Why focus on Han and a Rebel General activating sensor towers instead of anything else is beyond me. Then you finally get to the actual events of the film and you’ve seen most of these levels done better. If they weren’t done better in another LEGO game, then they were in another Star Wars game.
Don’t get me wrong, there are great visual gags and cute deep-cut references. The subtle stuff is great here. It’s just so strange to play through the most memorable Star Wars movie and find it feeling so “been there, done that”. To be fair, it is the most famous Star Wars movie. That’s a tough act to work with, but TT Games did great work with it in the past. By eschewing their old formula for more traditional gameplay. But hey, Lando now hits on C-3PO instead of Leia, so that’s a hilarious continuity update acknowledgment if ever I’ve seen one.
The High Ground – Revenge of the Sith
I know. I wasn’t expecting this either. Sure, Revenge of the Sith’s campaign was a highlight of the original game. We’ve also seen already that a past win doesn’t guarantee the Skywalker Saga’s reimagining being a slam dunk. Yet here we are, with a retelling of the film that not only lovingly lampoons it, but is packed with tight gameplay. The changes made are welcome, from speeding up certain protracted scenes from the movie to embellishing others with great new details.
The voice acting’s top-notch, the boss fights are great, there are some fantastic visual gags, and there’s brilliant incorporation of Order 66 into the sandbox levels while playing through the campaign. There’s visual and mechanical variety. This campaign truly captures the essence of the original LEGO Star Wars while massively updating it. The only real downside is the absence of a vehicle sequence. If any fraction of this game achieves what was advertised, it’s Revenge of the Sith’s campaign.
\”That’s Impossible!\” – Attack of the Clones
If Revenge of the Sith’s campaign is the best nostalgic LEGO Star Wars throwback, then Attack of the Clones is by far the finest step forwards. Every new idea crafted for the Skywalker Saga works here. There’s better storytelling than in the movie while still keeping things light and fun. Missions jump effortlessly from sandbox to vehicle action to fantastic boss fights. It’s all presented with a modern sheen bolstered by hilarious gags.
Attack of the Clones might be one of the least-loved Star Wars movies, but its campaign is marvelous. I relished every step along the journey in a film even I’m not desperately fond of. Well, except for the diner dash quest, but besides that, Attack of the Clones has it all. Escaping Jango Fett above Geonosis. Exploring Kamino’s cloning labs and the vast spread of Coruscant. Dueling Count Dooku. There’s no doubt about it – Attack of the Clones is by far one of the best campaigns in The Skywalker Saga.
The Classic – A New Hope
So we have the best homage to classic LEGO Star Wars and the best demonstration of TT Games’ new vision for the series. What about the best campaign to truly capture the essence of a Star Wars movie? Well, look no further than A New Hope. Despite all the little tweaks made to the original film’s plot, it’s still the classic countless people have fallen in love with. The upped pacing makes it all the more accessible to younger fans, while the gameplay highlights almost every character class in a single story campaign.
The surprise highlight has to be the Falcon ambush in Mos Eisley. It blends the new school gameplay with old-school LEGO game puzzles. The Death Star even manages to combine this with the otherwise fairly underutilized stealth mechanics. The high notes everyone knows land well, and the sandbox blends well with the scripted sequences. Where our other two top picks are good at a certain style, A New Hope blends everything together, making it easily the best campaign of the bunch!
And there you have it! The Skywalker Saga’s campaigns ranked from worst to best, with several surprise winners and losers! Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below!