Don't believe the hype. Using the Wii Remote to wield a lightsaber in Lego Star Wars: Complete Saga isn't the real deal. But that doesn't stop it from being one of the best games on the console.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, which includes updated versions of the previously released Episodes I to VI, is soaked to the bone in charm. For example, the first time you see a gold bikini-clad Lego Princess Leia strapped to the ridiculous-looking Lego Jabba the Hut - that's charming. Or when Lego Darth Vader steps ominously from his shuttle and chokes on the steam - that's charming. In fact, the whole game will make you smile, purely because you're watching those classic Star Wars scenes in Lego-vision. You'd have to be one hell of a grouch not to have some part of your heart melted by the game. And in many ways Lego Star Wars fits the philosophy of the Wii perfectly, with its focus on gameplay and cute graphics over gritty realism.
Everything here is designed to suck you in. From the opening Mos Eisley Cantina hub, from which you can choose to play any of the six Star Wars films, the game wraps you in a sci-fi infused blanket, gives you a cup of warm milk and calmly strokes your hair. While gameplay itself is easy to pick up, it's also designed for gamers of all skill ranges - when you die you'll respawn straight away, and you can turn the adaptive difficulty on or off.
Of course everyone will want to be a Jedi most of the time, because of their cool force abilities, like Jedi Lunge, Jedi Slam and the Force Push. This is even more compelling with the Wii version. You can swing the Wii remote and your Jedi will swing his lightsaber, complete with cool sound effects from the controller, but it's not an accurate science unfortunately (did we ever think it would be?). Swinging just triggers an animation on screen. Your movements are not mimicked and there's a small delay.
And it gets a bit tiring after a while, so it's great that you can just press the trigger on the Wii remote to swing the lightsaber and fire blasters instead. You'll quickly forget about moving the controller about to attack, instead using buttons for everything. Should we get our hopes up that upcoming Star Wars game Force Unleashed will be the one to make every sci-fi fan's greatest fantasy come true? Perhaps not.
The gameplay isn't massively varied, so it's a good thing most of the chapters are short and sweet - if they were any longer you'd probably get bored. Whether you're tying an AT-AT in knots in a Snowspeeder or darting between asteroids in an X-Wing, the vehicle levels provide a welcome variance in play. But again, it's a good thing that they're short and sweet because they can get pretty tedious.
Two-player co-op is where the most fun is to be had. Two heads are better than one, as they say, and that's particularly applicable to Complete Saga, especially during some of the more cryptic puzzles. It's also quite useful for combat, where one of you might be concentrating on taking down Storm Troopers or Droids, with the other focusing on pulling switches which prevents more enemies from spawning. In the Snowspeeder Hoth level for example, one player might concentrate on destroying AT-STs while the other is dragging a bomb around to destroy impassable rocks.
What things often boil down to is a rush to collect as many Lego studs as possible, which are scattered throughout each level. But the studs are just one of the many collectables in the game. Apart from unlocking all 160 levels in the game, there are tonnes of secret characters, vehicles and mini kits to get, as well as extras, high scores and True Jedi bonuses to go for. You're most compelled to replay a level when you come across something that can only be interacted with by certain characters, like red bits of Lego for Sith Lords. We particularly like the Bounty Hunter levels, given to you by the gorgeous Jabba the Hut in Mos Eisley.
While playing two-player is the best thing about Lego Star Wars, it also reveals its biggest failing - the camera, which can be absolutely infuriating at times. It's designed to keep both players on screen at all times, but has a bit of a fit sometimes when you get too far apart, or will get stuck behind a wall when you explore secret areas. But apart from the camera, and the occasional tearing, there's not much to complain about here.
With an RRP of £39.99 those of you who already have the original Lego Star Wars or Lego Star Wars: The Original Trilogy on other consoles shouldn't bother upgrading, even with the Wii Remote/lightsaber controls. Complete Saga is just a bringing together of those two games with a smattering of new levels. But for those of you who haven't tried Lego Star Wars before and are looking for one of the best games for the Wii, Complete Saga will charm your socks off.