Wednesday, June 29

In case you haven't played it: Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Review (3DS)

The original Lego Star Wars was somewhat of a revelation. Combining beat 'em up gameplay with simplistic puzzles and a unique brand of speechless humour, it managed to rise above the assertions usually made against licensed games. In that respect, it was amazing because it had to emerge from the shadows of two prominent licenses; Star Wars games had a reasonable strike rate, but Lego games would drift towards awful more often than not. Like any popular premise however, its spread was of pandemic proportion: Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, even Batman got the Lego treatment. That and sequels on multiple platforms all but ensured that the Lego "Insert popular intellectual property here," formula would begin to grate on me and by extension (I assume; ha!), most gamers. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars marks the first time that I've engaged with the brick building phenomenon since the listless Lego Indiana Jones. It also marks the first time that I've played an instalment of the series on a portable. With all that in mind, read on to see whether the Lego games have evolved or continued their slow, defiantly-successful demise. 

The Good   
Consistently charming - After all these years, shtick like a clone trooper panic-firing into the approaching mist while doing push-ups manages to elicit a laugh. A genuine laugh too. Few other titles - let alone entire series - have a signature charm and sense of humor that consistently deliver. I'll put it this way: General Grievous killing a jedi was almost made to look cute in one of the many short, humorous cut scenes.

Solid - While not the most exciting game I've ever played, Lego Star Wars III offers plenty of play time to young, budding Star Wars fans and those of us who still aren't too keen on growing up. The main campaign will take a good eight hours to conquer, but then you've got Free Play, True Jedi challenges and hundreds of unlockables to keep you occupied. My time with Lego Star Wars III was bereft of any bugs, crashes and any other noticable glitches (save for some minor clipping issues). Considering that in the last month I've been playing games like Fallout: New Vegas where you can literally disappear into the earth you're treading on; once I even clipped into the side of a mountain and took continuous fall damage, there's no denying that you're playing a well-constructed package, that's for sure.

Lando - For those (like myself) who have little love for the prequel trilogy or the kid-friendly show that is the primary source material for this iteration of the Lego Star Wars franchise, Traveller's Tales Fusion have thankfully included many original trilogy favourites as unlockable characters. Chewie, Lando, and even the Trandoshan bounty hunter, Bossk are available at the expense of a princely amount of studs. That being said, if you do have a penchant for the more recent addition to the series' lore there's an extensive cast of characters available for use if you're ready to invest the time.

Door, meet lightsaber - The Phantom Menace did a great deal of damage to me, as it did most Star Wars fans. There was almost nothing redeemable to be found in the entire film, save for the creative application of a lightsaber in the opening sequence. In LSWIII you can rest well knowing that you can re-live the best door-opening in cinematic history fifty-something times over. Be prepared to cut through walls, doors and any other flat surface with the most elegant weapon known to man.

  Applied Door Physics 101: Qui Gon Door

The Bad
Flying blind - Save for one exceptional, on rails boss fight, the flight sequences in LSWIII are painfully-boring and so painstakingly-directed. Almost every flights follows this or a similar sequence: destroy droid fighters, destroy bombers, destroy droid fighters, destroy capital ship. Anytime I found myself in a starship, I died a little inside.

Shoot THAT guy! - If given the choice, I'd actively avoid using anyone other than Jedi characters. This was on account of the woeful targeting mechanics for any character equipped with a blaster. Sometimes I'd be running towards a group of enemies, mashing the fire button only to have a flurry of lasers disobendiently drift to side of their intended targets. Much like animated source material, the clone troopers - or anyone equipped with a blaster, for that matter - in LSWIII can barely hit the broad side of a barn.

The Ugly
Use the Force (Again?) - Things have not changed much at all since the first installment of this successful series. If anything, be it through age or the acquisition of a bachelor's degree or two, it's all the more obvious now. The game presented no surprises or challenge whatsoever. I'm aware that this game is primarily targeted at children, but some levels are so simple that your average child could take offense. The Lego Star Wars franchise has officially made the Murtaugh list , as in "I'm getting to old for this shit."

 Lego Star Wars, you just made the list!
No ne3d - The 3D effects in Lego Star Wars III are innocuous at best and didn't add much to my experience with the game on the whole. Don't get me wrong, the game looks good and as above, suffers from few noticeable visual hitches; but that isn't to say that 3D has been effectively implemented in this title.

The Verdict
5.0/10 I've been playing Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars - or something remarkably-similar to it - for the last five or six years now. Sure, sometimes there are different characters and locales, but it all plays the same. Whether it's the Caped Crusader, Sallah or Anakin Skywalker, the experience differs only slightly. If you've never played a game from the series before, this could be a revelation: a kids game that an adult can actually play, and not be ashamed of it afterwards. It's a solid package with few wrinkles, but its been recycled to the point of obsolescence. If you've got a young Star Wars fan on board: this package is a pretty safe bet. For anyone over ten years of age, however: Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will fail to challenge or excite.


  1. It's unfortunate how Lego games have declined so rapidly. I loved the complete saga, enjoyed Indy but was bored and frustrated with Batman. Pirates was ok but like you said it's a little same-same with nothing new to offer. Just like Guitar Hero it's a regurgitated version of itself with 'new' slapped on the the box. Such a shame. That said, I do like returning to the saga on occasion so maybe the magic is in the source material?

  2. Source material has a lot to do with it, I believe. That being said, this was just so ridonculously easy. They need to introduce lives and continues, something to harden it up.