First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Nintendo 3DS) review: This game does not do enough to rescue itself from its weak source material
- Especially for the youngsters, the game remains as entertaining as ever, with a heck of a lot of content to unlock and keep you interested
- Bugs plus terrible source material makes this one of the weaker entries in one of the more entertaining franchises out there
Wait for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, unless you're a huge Lego and Star Wars buff
Buy now (Selling at 12 stores)
While we wait for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean (which we all know is going to be all kinds of awesome), Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will have to do. It's not a terrible game by any means, but it also hasn't done a whole lot to update the formula from previous Lego games, and it's working from possibly the weakest material the series has faced to date.
The press pack proudly proclaims the game features "more than 10 story-based missions with lots of bonus content spanning the entire Clone Wars era." This is true, but not necessarily something to be proud of. See, the Clone Wars was terrible. In fact, the entire Star Wars franchise would have been better off left in the '70s and '80s.
It's a struggle to care what's going on during the cut scenes, and with a zero care factor, the Lego series' trademark humour fails on every level possible. It's not a fault of the game, per se; more a criticism on deciding to use this material in the first place. It is a strike against the game nonetheless.
The actual gameplay remains as solid as always for the Lego games. Half of the game is in platforming sections, where you'll lightsaber or blast a few enemies, build platforms and solve basic problems using Lego blocks, and collect masses of currency to buy more than 80 unlockable characters and a host of minigames.
The other half are aircraft levels, which plays like most other space shooters. These are less entertaining, thanks to some overly twitchy controls, but you'll get through them, and if you're a Star Wars fan (why else would you buy this game?) you might even enjoy them.
Levels can be replayed with different sets of characters to access hidden areas, and the incentives to track down all the treasures are strong — some of the unlockables and minigames are a lot of fun to play around with.
However, the game is quite easy. Given it's one more for the youngsters than hardcore players, that's not surprising, but it does mean the game eventually becomes a grind to unlock everything.
It's also worth noting that the game is prone to crashing. It itself that's not a great problem — a quick power reboot and you're on your way again, but when playing through a story mission for the first time, you need to complete all three acts, or you'll need to restart from the beginning. Needless to say, having a crash right before the end of the second or third act is incredibly irritating.
Visually the game is fun, but doesn't do a whole lot with the 3D. Cut scenes are indeed in 3D, but, unlike those in Samurai Warriors Chronicles, for example, they lack any kind of cinematic impact — they would have had the same effect in 2D.
In-game, the 3D lends an additional charm to the Lego Minifigs — it's almost like playing with the real, physical deal — but the added dimension doesn't enhance or improve the game over its 2D counterparts in any way.
All up, The Clone Wars strikes me as a hurried release, with developer TT Games seemingly not taking the time to properly eliminate bugs and learn how to use 3D to create a different game experience. Throw in the poor source material and, while the game itself remains as rock solid as ever, you're going to have to be a Lego fan to chose this rather instead of just waiting for Pirates of the Caribbean.
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