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LEGO Star Wars_ The Skywalker Saga - Official Reveal Trailer 0-20 screenshot LEGO Star Wars_ The Skywalker Saga - Official Reveal Trailer 0-20 screenshot

E3 2019

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Could Give Jedi: Fallen Order a Run for its Money



Though many would consider E3 2019 to have been lackluster, a hidden gem was to be found in the Los Angeles Convention Center’s South Hall. Parked next to titans such as Borderlands 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 sat Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Lines to catch a glimpse of the game were short, especially compared to the games surrounding the somewhat hidden booth. Not only does The Skywalker Saga manage to be a diamond in the rough of E3, but its behind-closed-doors, hands-off demo was easily one of the most impressive that the show had to offer.

Announced during Microsoft’s annual E3 press conference, The Skywalker Saga revealed itself to be a collection of every Star Wars movie in Lego-game form. The mid-conference announcement was, justifiably, met with little fanfare. Considering the last handful of Lego titles from series developer TT Games have been bland and uninventive, even die-hard fans of the first few Lego games in the adventure style have started falling off from the series. The Skywalker Saga is a blatant attempt to welcome back those lost with open arms, as TT Games looks to be reinventing itself and the Lego game formula with this all-star collection.

From the get-go, TT Games let those attending the 20-minute demo presentation know that The Skywalker Saga will include nine campaigns, one for each mainline Star Wars movie. All of the previously released games—episodes I through VII—are being offered as retellings, while episodes eight and nine will offer completely new experiences. Even if TT was repackaging the previously released games in the form of a remaster, the value would be insane, but then the demo opened up space travel.

LEGO Star Wars_ The Skywalker Saga - Official Reveal Trailer 0-31 screenshot

The player took the pilot seat of Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon in what seems to be No Man’s Sky-levels of open space. Players can travel between a number of planets from the Star Wars universe, each having open-world environments that contain mini-games, Easter eggs, and plenty of story levels from the chapters of Star Wars canon.

The Falcon proceeded toward the planet of Tatooine through a Lego-made asteroid field. An Imperial Star Destroyer quickly warped from hyperspace only a few hundred feet away, but the player was quickly able to dodge out of the way, landing on Tatooine safely.

This planet is where TT gave a first look at some of the environments players will grow accustomed to during their time with the Skywalker Saga, but more noticeable than any of that was the new third-person camera. Strangely enough, the best comparison to make would be the similar perspectives found in Gears of War. The view feels tight and personal, especially when compared the airier views of previous Lego games.

LEGO Star Wars_ The Skywalker Saga - Official Reveal Trailer 0-18 screenshot

Moving on to the fresh take on environments showed ground, mountains, and general foundations to not be built of Legos, making for sprawling settings that looked more real than they had any right to. A nearby, rideable bantha stood nearby, showing off TT’s new dynamic environment engine. Besides offering nice visuals, environments such as sand, mud, dirt, debris, and other general scruff can build up on the lower legs of any character or vehicle.

From here, the demo showed off The Skywalker Saga’s overhauled combat, which features light and heavy attacks to make players feel more like a Jedi. Between seeing some of Luke Skywalker’s flips and tricks, occasionally the audience was given a view of freeform Force powers players will be able to play with. Objects seem to be throwable via contextual actions just as in previous games, though the ability to freely move around and throw people and objects is available, too.

TT put its money where its mouth is with the massively changed third-person camera by showing off some Chewbacca action. The demo showed Chewy pull out his crossbow to take out some Tusken Raiders, further emphasizing the Gears of War-like combat. In an obvious move to help modernize the series, Chewy could shoot different body parts on the raiders to yield different effects. For example: shooting a leg could knock a Raider to their knees, while shooting them in the gut could cause a staggering effect. This modernization is gratifying, as it was a clear indicator of TT’s achievement in creating a more polished and deep experience.

LEGO Star Wars_ The Skywalker Saga - Official Reveal Trailer 0-18 screenshot

Lastly, to match the generally expanded idea present throughout the demo came the introduction of side-quests. TT says it is aiming to make these side-quests and other smaller activities more interesting and, thanks to an interview with Kotaku, players should be glad to know the team is using The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as guidance in this regard.

While the open space of the Star Wars universe or overhauled combat may not be as innovative as the impressive tech showcased in this year’s Cyberpunk 2077 demo, TT’s self-reinvention is. The Skywalker Saga aims to stand on its own both as a Lego game and a standout video game for old and new fans alike. If the modernization of a franchise that was starting to grow old is not enough to bring fans back, then hopefully TT Games’s ambition and heart will be. Either way, given the studio’s track record toward mediocrity, The Skywalker Saga has no right to look as shockingly promising as it does.

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E3 2019

The Outer Worlds is Proof of Obsidian’s Ability to Build a Universe



The Outer Worlds

Obsidian Entertainment has consistently put out stellar RPGs for the last decade, but all of its creative juices have been strained of originality. Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth, while loved by many, are not synonymous with the Obsidian name. Though the developer has taken a crack at its own IP before, The Outer Worlds looks like the world’s first real taste of an unhinged Obsidian. Bringing together everything fans love about Obsidian-led games with the production values of a AAA RPG, The Outer Worlds plans to show players what the team can do when given time and the right tools.

Thanks to Obsidian’s generosity, OnlySP was given the chance to check out a behind-closed-doors viewing of the game at E3 2019. Even though the footage was hands-off, what was shown was more than enough to justify high hopes.

Obsidian has worked up enough goodwill in the last decade to fill a wasteland. From the moment the demo started, The Outer Worlds proved that Obsidian deserves all of its praise. 

Falbrook, a town on the planet Monarch, was showcased in the demo’s early moments and looked to offer Rockstar Games-levels of character. Townsfolk were walking around, talking with each other as business carried on as usual. The western, sci-fi fusion felt lived-in and was a nice reminder that Obsidian can do more than just make gripping RPG gameplay.

From the streets of Falbrook, the player walked into a nearby bar area to talk with an NPC. Here, dialogue and the importance of choice was shown in full effect. Those familiar with Fallout: New Vegas will find similar NPC interactivity here, as dialogue options have varying paths to take. Of course, standard options can be chosen to progress the story or learn more about another character’s background. Again following the example of Fallout was how dialogue can change depending on how the player character is set up. Obsidian did not go into detail about how dynamic this feature can be but did give the example of unique dialogue options for players who choose to have a low-intelligence character.

A true Fallout: New Vegas spiritual successor needs more than the classic RPG developer’s advanced dialogue, though, and The Outer Worlds’s combat offered just that. Though appearing sluggish during the first encounter, combat can pick up quickly. For example, The Outer World’s has a slow-motion mechanic called Tactical Time Dilation, which can most easily be compared to Fallout’s V.A.T.S. mechanic. This spin on an ability familiar to both Obsidian and Fallout fans alike is a great example of the developer’s willingness to blend its past experience with new ideas. Similar mechanics have been a staple of modern games, though normally can only be found in arcade-like games. Seeing such an arcadey ability used in a proper RPG was refreshing and should offer some hope to those worried The Outer Worlds could be all bark and no bite.

Obsidian doubled down on the importance of choice shortly after the first encounter by stressing the choices players can make both outside and inside combat. Again, as seen in many modern games, The Outer Worlds promises the option to take a stealth approach when infiltrating enemy lines.

What was really stunning about everything shown in the demo was the world and universe building. Leaving the town of Falbrook, which was interesting in its own right, led to fungal treetops that towered over the landscape. Pollen and spores filled the air as the player progressed onward. Obsidian claims the game will remind players of the team’s dark sense of humor, and the creatures and environments are unique both in name and appearance. The Outer Worlds looks to be both lived-in and well-realized, thus justifying its existence in the process. The entire reason Obsidian, or any developer for that matter, needed to take a leap of faith with its own IP was to prove it can produce a world worth living in. Despite gameplay and RPG mechanics that may not be wholly unique, the game’s namesake is.

Obsidian is promising outer worlds that are brimming with character. The Outer Worlds, while not promising anything too outside of the box in terms of gameplay, looks to offer a world like no one has ever seen before. Expect a much more polished Fallout: New Vegas with environments built from the ground up when The Outer Worlds finally finds its way to shelves on October 25, 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. 

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