LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Review
Game: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Developer: Traveller’s tales
Publisher: Activision Blizzard/LucasArts
Available on: Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, PC, PlayStation 3, PSP and Nintendo Wii (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
When a new Star Wars game is announced, a good few people sit up and take notice. When that game is also revealed to be another title in the massively popular LEGO Star Wars line, a whole load more suddenly decide to show some interest. LEGO Star Wars is one of those franchises that cater for all people. Gamers and non-gamers. Jar-Jar lovers and Vader haters. All kinds of people stand shoulder to shoulder to get a chance play the miniature sized, yet hugely loved, new iteration in the LEGO Star Wars saga.
Does LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars hold up against the might of the previous titles? Well, sit down, relax, and let GodisaGeek.com tell you a story. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
STORY: The story takes place between the 2nd and 3rd of the prequel trilogies. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are Jedi Generals, and are often sent out in order to apprehend criminals and people who threaten to disturb the tenuous peace in the galaxy. High up on that list is Count Dooku and his separatist droid army. With Dooku and his 2 generals firmly in their sights, Obi-Wan and Anakin (and a whole host of other characters, depending on how many you’ve unlocked) set off on a desperate mission across the universe, chasing all 3 of the villains into the far reaches of space, eventually ending with a final confrontation.
The story is light-hearted, as most people have come to expect of the LEGO Star Wars games, but is held firmly within the timeframes set out. Not much has changed from the canon, with the things that have changed only being small things that add to the comedic (and therefore overall entertainment) value of the game as a whole. Not many people are going to be bringing up the LEGO Star Wars story as a sore point, most people will be too busy laughing to complain.
The only downside to the story is that some of it overlaps with the previous games. Considering that LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars starts mere seconds after the end of the Episode II film, this was bound to happen. You get to play through levels such as the Petranaki Arena (in Geonosis) in a more interesting way this time, but it wasn’t really needed at all. Most people who pick up this third game in the series will have already played the first two more than enough times.
GRAPHICS: The graphics are some of the most impressive to date in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. The textures are much more detailed, and the new lighting system gives everything a sense of depth that just wasn’t there before. This upgrade is especially welcome considering that this is a LEGO game. In previous games in the LEGO brand we’ve been presented with blocky models and very simple textures. More often than not people would give LEGO games a free pass in the graphics department because of the sheer joy they were experiencing while playing, but it’s safe to say Traveller’s tales have kicked it up a notch or three with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.
While everything has been given a slight upgrade, it’s the new lighting system that really makes everything stand out. Giving items the correct shadows and lighting effects will always add a sense of realism to any game, but when you’re talking about a game consisting of controlling little LEGO characters it’s always going to be a little more difficult to add that realism. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars pulls it off so spectacularly that most people will be visibly shocked, especially during some of the boss fights. Think LEGO God of War and you’re on the right track.
SOUND: As has come to be expected with any new Star Wars game, the Star Wars theme is used extensively throughout. Hearing the iconic theme in a game that has the title attached to it is important most of the time, as it lets you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into right from the start. In LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars it’s even more important that the music is used as much as possible, for one simple reason; the characters don’t talk, they’re LEGO. This lack of vocal audio is often replaced with simple musical queues, in order to convey a sense of emotion to the player. It’s done in such a way that you rarely miss the lack of speech at all. You feel apprehensive when you’re supposed to and a sense of joy when the music swells, exactly how you were intended to.
Another strange, yet entirely awesome point to add about the sound is that a good amount of people who voiced characters in either the prequel trilogy films or The Clone Wars TV show have lent their voices to the game. Well, “voices” is a term to be taken lightly, they’re more like grunts. That’s what makes the fact that the actors are returning to these roles a little more strange, but should also help to convey the importance that LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars holds in the Star Wars franchise on the whole.
GAMEPLAY: The gameplay in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars won’t be something that’s new and unusual to most people, whether they’ve played a LEGO video game or not. At its heart it is a generic arcade hack & slash game. You pick a character, chop the bad guys up, and collect points. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars knows what it is and sets out from the very start to make sure that it’s an entry into that pantheon of games that truly fits in with the greats. It’s the gameplay elements on top of that hack & slash base that make the LEGO games so well known and beloved.
The humour is of the type that a parent can sit down with their son or daughter and both enjoy the game for a good few hours. You’ll both be laughing but you won’t necessarily be laughing at all the same things. Traveller’s tales are very good, as are Pixar, at hiding little jokes for the parents amidst all the fun and laughter for the younger players. You may have a couple of awkward moments when you’re asked “what are you laughing at?” and you can’t really explain, not to a child anyway, but it’s those moments that you’ll remember for as long as you’re able to play games. Not only are you having fun with a video game, you’re having fun with family, and what game could offer more than that?
The major downfall that most players will come across when playing LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will be that it can sometimes be very difficult to see what you’re supposed to be doing at any one time. More often than not, in these situations, you’ll know that you’re supposed to manipulate the one thing in the room that’s practically screaming to be used (this might be a gun that has the ability to be moved by the force, a grapple hook or any number of other things that can be used by only a single character) but even though you know what you’re supposed to use, most people won’t find it immediately obvious exactly how they’re supposed to use it in order to advance their current mission. The saving grace for this unforgivably annoying aspect of the game is that these issue are very few and far between, if you just stick at the problem for a few minutes chances are you’ll do what the game is expecting of you purely by accident. Then you can get back to the #winning.
That same LEGO Star Wars charm that you’ve come to know and love is back and better than ever. With better graphics, improved lighting and a more immersive hub (it’s inside a republic cruiser this time and not just a cantina that means nothing to the overall story) this is by far the best LEGO Star Wars game to date. Whether you’ve seen the Clone Wars TV Show/Films or not, there’s a lot here to enjoy.
LONGEVITY: With plenty of characters to collect, along with minikits and the “True Jedi” status to attain on all of the levels in the game, there’s no shortage of things to come back to on a fairly regular basis. Only the most devout LEGO Star Wars fans will complete all of the available side-games before moving on to something else, but as something that will sit on your shelf until you get that LEGO Star Wars urge again, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is one of the better games out there.
VERDICT: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is the pinnacle of the LEGO Star Wars franchise. It maintains the humour and charm of the previous games, while improving the graphics and lighting engine and adding a more immersive mission selection experience. There are slight problems with repetition over the course of the entire game, and this can slow down the experience for some, but the LEGO charm often kicks in long before anyone would have decided to turn off the game out of frustration. In a pure marketing sense, there’s nothing that will make people go out and buy the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV Show and film DVD/Blu-Ray’s faster than LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. Just be warned, when you buy this game you’re going to invest a lot of time and money (especially on those aforementioned discs) into the recent Star Wars universe. Remember that addiction the first time you watched the original trilogy? Yeah, that’s about to come back with a vengeance.
Also, any time my soon-to-be wife turns round to me and says “You know what? I want to play that game”, the game in question automatically gets a few extra mental points.