The Star Wars cash cow keeps on rolling in, as the latest in Telltale Games Lego themed franchise rolls in. Set in the period of the Clone wars, we see out heroes Obi-Wan, Anakin, Yoda and a variety of other characters as they fight Count Dooku and his armies across the galaxy. The Lego Star Wars games have gained a following with both young and old gamers, so let's jump in and see how this new games sizes up.
War has arrived in the galaxy, and our heroes must attempt to stop Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress and General Grievous getting other planets on their side. Fought over various planets, Obi-Wan and Anakin must take out various ships, bases and try to get other systems on their side and smash the rise of the Empire.
What I liked:
Well, firstly of course, I was looking forward to some more of Telltale Game's trademark sense of humour and parody, and the game doesn't disappoint. Right from the opening section played out in the arena on Geonosis you'll play the game with a smile on your face, if it's the creatures passing out ice creams in the arena, taking pictures, to Battle droids pretending to be troopers by popping on one of their helmets. You can tell that everyone involved in the game has a love for Star Wars.....only great fans can really take the piss properly (See SW Robot Chicken for proof of that). The gams itself is just like the others, running around levels, solving puzzles and collecting shed loads of studs to unlock vehicles, characters and other goodies. Controls are simple, A to jump, X to attack, Y to swap characters and trigger for force powers. Some of the puzzles have really been ramped up for this game, especially the boss battles, many of which will see you have to constantly swap between characters to take advantage of their unique abilities. Most of the characters now have context sensitive moves, which when performed up close will see Anakin, for example, slice the arms off battle droids before kicking them away. Lots of the little lightsaber battles are very well done, with lots of little parries and twists that make them a joy to behold. The graphics on the whole are a step above the previous Lego games, with some battles featuring literally hundreds of little Lego characters fighting on screen with no slow down whatsoever. Levels vary, so you could be on land one minute, romping across a battle ground, to some large space battles where you have to take down cruisers or repair gun batteries. These space battles are brilliant, as after flying around blowing shit up for a while you'll then get to land on a ship to take it out from the inside, so you go from flying around to landing your ship and jumping out to fight with no cut in the action.....impressive. A new addition, and with this being a game about huge battles it makes sense, is an almost mini real time strategy section. These levels see you take part in some huge, epic battles, where you have to construct bases such as barracks to get Clone troopers in on the action, massive laser cannons to help destroy some big tanks and other cannons, and vehicle stations so you can spawn all sorts of different walkers, tanks and speeders. You start with only a couple of bases against the huge base count of the enemy, and you have to overthrow their bases and take out a main objective. It's a great new addition, and in some cases these huge battles can be quite difficult, so they will take some real resource juggling to get through. Sound effects are, on the whole, fantastic as always, and playing the game through three different story paths, one for each of the main bad guys, gives you plenty of longevity, the game literally needs multiple play throughs for you to even stand a change of getting that "true Jedi" rating on each level
What I loathed:
Well, being set in the clone wars allows the game to fill in some of the back story of the characters, and on the whole it's enjoyable, but it's in no way like playing the original trilogy of the game. I'd rather play as Han, Chewie and fight with all the characters we already know and love, rather than some random Jedi characters and faceless clone troopers. The game on the whole is great, but once more getting the full compliment of studs in a level will mean playing it through at least twice to be able to unlock True Jedi, and when some of the levels can be very long it can get a bit boring. The huge RTS style levels are again, a welcome addition, but these take an age to get through, and in a certain section of the game you fight around three of these battles in a row....it's more of a stamina test then enjoyable. There is a shit load of game in this package, which Travellers tales should be commended on, I just can't see many gamers playing it through more than once.
The clone wars is a great addition to the Lego Star Wars game. It's fantastic looking, sounds great, it's actually very funny and hey....it's Star Wars. Some overly long battles, a few in a row in one case, can allow boredom to set in, and it's hard to give two shits about what happens to some of the characters, but a couple of niggles shouldn't put you off getting this game as soon as you can.
Lego Star Wars: The Clone wars is available now.
Xbox 360 version reviewed. Available on most systems.