Having never watched an episode of The Clone Wars cartoon, I was bit apprehensive to tackle a game that was based on something that I wasn’t familiar with. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars requires no prior knowledge of the cartoon. You can just jump in and have a Minifig good time.
The Lego Star Wars franchise needs no introduction. The series features humor, iconic characters turned into LEGO Minifigs, a storyline, and pure fun. This latest installment just adds a nice bow to the entire series and makes it more engaging than ever. This latest version of the game also highlights some much needed polishing of graphics, camera angles, as well as improved fluidity of the controls. Immersing myself in the PS3 version of the game was even more entertaining since, the HD quality really shined.
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars opens with both Anakin and Amidala being captured by General Grievous and Obi Wan having to save them from being killed by their archenemy. The game takes places between the second and third Star Wars prequels. The whole opening looks like a scene out of the movie gladiator. Anakin and Amidala are being taken to a pit to become lunch meat to larger LEGO creatures. Then, in swoops Obi Wan to save the day and ultimately gets caught too… albeit in between Anakin and Amidala being all lovey dovey with each other. I mean get a brick room you guys… but I guess they can’t since this is an ‘E’ rated game.
As the big three are dumped into the pit, they must use their combined powers to free themselves and fight off the baddies. It’s a bit disorienting at first once you realize that in order to progress through different challenges or puzzles you will need to swap between different players with different strengths to succeed. So for instance, Amidala is good with a gun and rope but she has no ‘force’ to hold an animal down. So in comes Obi Wan who will mind control the animal and jump on top of it so you can pummel through other LEGO bad guys.
Some scenes are borrowed from the cartoon as well as from the previous game Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In between all this smashing and wacking of Minifigs, you should also remember to collect studs and other trinkets along the way that unlock bonus items. However, I did feel at times that the pace of the game was kind of slow or a bit monotonous, as I went around in circles hacking and slashing Minifigs and getting nowhere – till I realized I had to swap characters for a special task in order for me to proceed.
Once you complete this prologue to the rest of the game, you are then shipped off to a hub where the Jedi world is your oyster and you can choose missions and continue the story, or jump haphazardly all over the Jedi universe ,completing random missions and showing off your awesomeness. Quite honestly my favorite character had to be Yoda LEGO – just so adorable.
In the end I did find myself more drawn to the little LEGO guys traipsing about in the game more than the game itself. Since I was more familiar with the original LEGO Star Wars series and storyline, it took a bit to wrap my head around the Clone Wars but many probably won’t feel the same as me. The game will certainly entertain the kiddies, and hey, throwing light sabers at unsuspecting LEGO victims is always fun. However, like I said earlier, it will take some time to figure out puzzles in the game because direction isn’t always provided.
Overall, the traditional LEGO video game formula is here with its tongue in cheek humor, impressive LEGO graphics and tight story. For those casual gamers who already watch the cartoon, they will probably love LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. However devotees to the more popular Star Wars series may not be that interested in playing long sessions of the game without being becoming bored. That said, if you love anything Star Wars and LEGO’s than certainly Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will hit that sweet spot. You can pick up the game for $49.99 on Amazon.
The Good: Prior knowledge of the Clone Wars cartoon is not needed. Polished graphics and improved camera controls over previous Star Wars LEGO games. As always, humorous and very engaging.
The Bad: Could lose interest after several hours of play. More instructions or tutorials would be helpful. Half the game will be familiar to LEGO video game devotees and then the rest of the game is more about flight missions.