Review – LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Publisher: LucasArts, Traveller’s Tales
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Portable
Genre: Action-adventure, platform
Rating: E +10
ESRB Content Descriptors: Contains content that might be considered unsuitable for children under 10 years of age.
Get it Now: Amazon.com
The Scoop: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is a fun-filled game for any fan of Star Wars and/or LEGO games.
The Setup: Based upon the Cartoon Network CG series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars focuses on the plotlines of seasons one and two—aka the events between Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano… they’re all here in adorable LEGO form. Even if you’re not familiar with the television show, you’ll still love the missions, the slap-stick humor, and the improvements to the game’s formula. While I can’t say it’s definitely the best LEGO game ever, I can say it’s definitely my favorite!
Editor’s Note: This review is based off of the Xbox 360 version of the game. There will be a review for the Nintendo 3DS version coming soon!
What’s Hot: What isn’t?
The set-up isn’t any different from other LEGO Star Wars games. Play through the level, collect as many Lego studs as you can, collect the kits, unlock characters, smaller characters can use crawl spaces, Jedi can use the Force on any object glowing blue… If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That also doesn’t mean LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is the same old game with upgraded, HD graphics. There are enough improvements to the traditional formula that make it difficult to put the controller down. Plus, the cut scenes are hilarious! (You can check out one of the many cut scenes here.)
One of the improvements is with the Build Kits. Each level still contains ten hidden kits, but now there’s new incentive to collect them. Instead of old and busted incentive of collecting bits and pieces of a decorative starship, the kits build additional classic Star Wars characters. Want to go up against Count Dooku with Luke Skywalker and Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed? Collect all the kits and build the characters!
Another improvement is the space battles. Each battle is part ship-to-ship fighting, part assault. Sometimes you have to land on the enemy ship to sabotage a gun or communication tower before you can successfully blow up the fleet. Space battles are much more fun/easier to complete if you have two people playing.
And then there’s what I like to call the holding pen. In LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, Mos Eisley’s cantina served as a sort of central hub. From there, players could select which levels they wanted to complete next, unlock extra characters, attack NPCs for studs, and generally wander around. The holding pen in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is Anakin Skywalker’s flagship, the Resolute. Characters start out on the bridge and as they progress through the game and collect gold bricks, other areas of the ship are unlocked: engineering, hanger bay, med bay… Each section of the Resolute features a hallmark of the original LEGO games, like building custom characters or unlocking vehicles. But these hallmarks have been revamped for the better! In no particular order:
- Custom characters: in the original LEGO Star Wars games, players could create two custom characters. Now you can create up to fifteen.
- Unlockable characters: gone are the days of approaching the Mos Eisley cantina bartender and buying new characters. Now various characters will wander around the Resolute as if it’s some sort of tourist trap. Find them and press B to buy them!
- Speaking of characters: Only Republic characters will wander around the Resolute. If you want any evil Separatist characters, like Count Dooku or a battle droid, grab a fighter from the Resolute’s hanger bay and fly over to General Grievious’s flagship, the Malevolence. You’ll also find bounty hunters such as Cad Bane and Jango Fett hanging out in the hanger bay. Just be careful: any Republic character on the Separatist ship will be attacked, and vice-versa. This is quite possibly my favorite improvement over its predecessor. (But that might just be the Star Wars nerd in me.)
Not everything in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is simply an improvement upon the original formula. New features have been added that help make the game more interesting and add to the replay value. One of the biggest new features is the addition of a real-time strategy (RTS) levels. Players get the chance to play war general, assigning troops to specific locations, invading bases, blowing up Separatist armies with tanks, the works. Since a lot of episodes in the television show center around ground battles, this is an awesome addition to the game. There’s even an unlockable RTS freeplay mode where you can play just the ground battles over and over again. Like with space battles, I recommend playing these with a friend. You can cover more ground that way.
Another one of my favorite improvements is the ability to complete two plotlines at once. For example, in one level Obi-Wan and Anakin are separated on board the Malevolence. Anakin goes one direction, heading towards the bridge to sabotage what he can, while Obi-Wan fights his way through the cargo bay and faces off against General Grevious. If two people are playing together, one will complete Anakin’s story at the same time the other completes Obi-Wan’s. But if you’re playing solo, you’ll have to keep jumping between the two.
Along that same vein: co-op is vastly improved upon. Similar to LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars features a dynamic split-screen mode, making co-op so much easier. In the original, both players had to move together due to the limitations of the camera; if one player moved to the edge of the map, the camera would stop until the other player caught up. In this co-op mode, the screen will split in two, allowing both players to go opposite directions instead of shouting, “GET OVER HERE!” to one another.
What’s Not: That awesome co-op improvement I just talked about? It’s not available online! In fact, there’s no online co-op at all. Why eliminate it, especially when so much emphasis of the game was placed on teamwork? There were also some technical glitches that lead to reboots. During a space battle, I landed on an enemy ship and my fighter was destroyed. Another fighter did not respawn in its place, leaving me stuck and unable to complete the mission.
And don’t get me started on the random game freezes. (Hopefully a patch’ll fix that!)
If you’re only interested in slicing things with lightsabers, then this may not bother you as much. However, for players not familiar with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, plot-wise you’ll be lost. While the events in the game mirror the episodes, they don’t go in episodic order. They’re grouped according to which bad guy was the main villain. After the prologue, the three main villains—Count Dooku, General Grevious, and Asajj Ventress—split and go their separate ways. You have the option of completing all the levels attached to a specific villain in one foul swoop or manually jumping between the three. Think of this as Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back: Even though the events take place at the same time and are intertwined, you have to complete all of Luke Skywalker’s story—training with Yoda, facing off against Vader, losing his hand—before you can play Han Solo’s story.
Plus, when it comes to solving puzzles, fans of the show will have the advantage. Sometimes solving a level involves doing exactly what the characters did in that specific episode. While the puzzles are not impossible to figure out, it’ll save time if you already know how Ahsoka took out the droid super tank.
It was also disappointing that some show events were missing. While I’m all for excluding the riveting episodes revolving around Padme’s senate cabinet meetings, what happened to Death Watch? No navigating a stealth ship through Admiral Trench’s blockade? Where’s Obi-Wan’s girlfriend? Yes, the game would be impossibly long if all the episodes were incorporated, but they left out some of the good ones!
Final Verdict: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is a great game; it doesn’t mess with the winning formula and adds new features to mix things up. Fans of the show will appreciate it more, but it’s still a lot of fun for those who haven’t seen a single episode. Plus it’s not a bad deal at $50. Just be prepared for some plot confusion if you’ve never watched the show… and random game freezes.Review - LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars,