LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
I believe just about everyone by now has checked out a LEGO game so you’ll know what’s on the menu. An appealing license, tons and tons of blocks to shatter or build up, gameplay for young and old, and of course a decent dose of humour, action and collecting anger. And things aren’t much different from that with this new LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars.
Unfortunately we now leave the old trilogy for the new TV series, but let’s not have that spoil the fun. What immediately gets noticed are the much improved graphics that seem to profit from the better lighting effects, more detail, quite beautiful particle effects and better surroundings and locations. Second note; there’s tons of game fun and content, also here again, but the makers should have put a bit more effort in making it more accessible. I believe even the kids will grow tired of this and the same goes for everyone during the game itself. At times you just have no clue what to do and for a series that’s meant for families you get stuck just a tad too often. Long live Google in that case.
This abundance also has quite some good things going for it. There are tons of characters, different settings that vary from cities over plains and from futuristic ships to cosy villages. On top of that themakers have added a lot of new features in both the gameplay and the characters so that also spoilt and ADHD kids that are robbed from their pills won’t grow tired of this game. Think of the burning of passages through doors with your light sabre or commanding other men. You also get new Force powers to use and a sniper rifle with cool zoom function!
But you do need some patience. There are a lot of puzzles that require quite some thinking and precision and the controls of the game are still too floaty and clumsy to not frustrate after a while. Just like with f.i. LEGO Indiana Jones returning enemies will cause unnecessary swearing when you just want to do a jump onto something or pick something up. Why is this respawning necessary Telltale Games? Luckily you can bear such things better when playing with kids or other people in co-op, but it’s clearly time that some more work is put in a new control scheme or engine. And while you’re at it, check out the cameras, dear devs, as also these unnecessarily tamper with the experience in difficult parts.
Completely new are the sections where you need to perform some sort of real-time strategy missions including building a base and defeating a hostile army by conquering multiple objectives. This delivers more shouting on the battlefield (where you can move over yourself as well), but also the possibility to produce and buy structures, upgrades and units with lego blocks you first have to earn. Admitted, it’s not worked out as deep as Starcraft and younger gamers will break their teeth on this, but some variation, spectacle and an experiment here and there are always good.
Even happier we became from the vehicle parts in this LEGO game. Of course we previously already got the chance to get into a jeep or plane, but this time we’re talking about space combat where laser effects and explosions fly around your ears. You immediately feel like Luke Skywalker, even if he doesn’t have much to do with the Clone Wars. Grumpy guys will nag that you’re not flying in a real 3D environment, like in Wing Commander or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, but this does remain a LEGO game.
As we already suggested, the biggest strength of The Clone Wars remains in the co-op possibilities and these work better than ever. Next to going through the singleplayer campaign together, something that will take more than a handful of days, you can now also play the RTS parts against each other. Not really too fascinating, but again something extra to try..
The LEGO-series ran and still runs the danger of repeating itself, but with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars the makers at least try to postpone that point a bit. Better graphics, more possibilities in gameplay and with characters, and still a very fun co-op and tons of content make for again a family must-have. The devs do need to urgently find a solution for the frustrating controls, and next time some more attention has to be given to the menus and explaining the various possibilities as well as showing solutions when you get stuck in the game.