The Force is “meh” with this one.
The latest addition to the plethora of merchandise based off the highly stylized Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series comes in the form of a game. So let’s face the facts right now: It’s made for kids more than it’s made for lonely 30-year-old virgins who still have a Han Solo in Hoth battle gear clothes mint in box. No, this is definitely made for a younger, more forgiving audience. But there too much to forgive here, even for a child. For everything cool and innovative that The Clone Wars tries, there is something equally as broken.
[image1]Essentially, The Clone Wars is two games in one: half Jedi-with-lightsaber hack-and-slash platformer, half run-and-gun Clone Trooper shooter. This identity crisis isn’t as bad as it seems, though as much fun as it is to be a Jedi, it’s the more broken of the two level types. Sure, it gives you the chance to pull off some cool moves with some very basic button-mashing (like I said, kids game), and the ability to take over the various droids to defeat your enemies and get through obstacles is something fresh and innovative in Star Wars games, but it’s all ruined by poor camera placement and total lack of depth perception.
The "long distance relationship" that you end up having with most of the force-oriented action is a huge problem right from the get-go. If you enjoyed falling over and over and over again in Mirror’s Edge or Prince of Persia, then you won’t have a problem with not being able to tell where you’re jumping here. It’s a good thing they went the Lego route and gave you unlimited lives or else it would have been unplayable. It’s the worst George Lucas-approved platforming since Jedi Power Battles for the PS1.
Clone Trooper battles play more like a very watered-down Gears of War (once again, for the little chittlins). Hide behind something, shoot the robots until they explode, move to the next area, repeat. It reminds me of the old arcade game, Cabal, in a lot of ways, but without the challenge of having to aim at your targets. You can just kind of fire in the general direction of your enemies and they’ll fall before you. I think if this was what the whole game was like, it would’ve been better... I know, I can’t believe that I’m actually recommending they take Jedis out of a Star Wars title. Oh, the geeky blasphemy of it all!
[image2]Graphically, everything is mediocre. Levels have a lot going on visually, but lack polish. Overall, everything has a grainy sandpaper-ish quality to it and the cut-scenes that are done with the in-game engine seem unfinished. You can still see the sharp lines from the wire frames of some of the character models, especially Anakin Skywalker, who ends up looking like a demon-possessed Muppet thirsty for blood.
I get the feeling that development on Star Wars: The Clone Wars may have been rushed to coincide with the release of the second season of the show, which is kind of a shame because there is a lot potential in the concepts behind it. But a family-friendly game really needs to be accessible to kids first and foremost but still fun for adults as well, which is what made the Lego Star Wars games so much fun to play. But all the platform follies you’ll face playing this game take away that accessibility. I think if they’d been given another month or two to put another coat of paint on this one, we may have seen something really fun that would’ve pleased fans of all ages. As it stands now though, the Dark Side of the Force clouds everything.
(Duplicate on PS3.)