Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

The Lego games have always been of very high quality and as a result, face increasing expectations with every iteration. Adding to the already bulging Star Wars collection of Lego titles, this game tackles the first two seasons of the animated TV series and does a good job of covering the plot and action of the show. If you want to see how the 3D aspect of the 3DS is likely to be used by most games in the future, this is a good example. Rather than having stuff poking out at you and drawing your focus to the gimmick, the game just goes along as you’d expect on any platform but with the popped in box effect that adds a bit of depth to the levels. Rather than ‘not taking advantage of the technology’ it’s more a case of keeping that in perspective (if you’ll forgive the pun) and not making a meal of it, giving you a splitting headache. It’s a wise move because the levels are extremely long.

Lego Clone Wars reminds me of the original Lego Star Wars game and this isn’t a good thing: all of the innovations introduced since the the series’ origin are missing. The backdrops and layouts of levels are basic and textures and lighting are pretty poor. Although the character models are rendered incredibly well, this does make the backgrounds look all the more drab. I wonder too if these high quality characters are the trade off for the slow animations making it feel like you’re running through custard and leaving you sitting waiting while lightsaber fight moves play out several seconds after you’ve pressed the button. There is also no co-op play for the game and your single character on screen does feel a little lonely. You can still switch between a number of different characters who each have their own abilities but the puzzles are telegraphed to you by a little pop up R2D2 who doesn’t give you a chance to work out what to do for yourself. Some space dogfighting breaks up the action and proves to be the highlight of the game with great controls and a genuine sense of excitement. Generally though there isn’t enough variety in the gameplay and there are very few vehicles to use.

None of this means that it’s a bad game. Far from it. It has more complexity, depth and replay value than most of the 3DS launch titles but while I played it our Ready Up Junior, Max, was playing the same game in front of me on the PS3 and my GOD is that an incredible title. The lighting, the sound, the animations, the variety of gameplay, vehicles and characters are just extraordinary. While the Lego series is going from strength to strength on the big consoles, the handheld game has stalled somewhat. It’s still a great example of the use of 3D though. I really appreciated Traveller’s Tales not ramming it down your throat and instead making reasonable use of it in a way that’s likely to become the norm for the console. Ultimately if you’re excited about Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars buy it for PS3 or Xbox 360. If you’re excited about your 3DS this may not be the best way to play Lego Clone Wars but it actually offers more content than most of the launch games.


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