Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars Review
(Wii, PC, PS3, XBOX 360)
Another classic offering from the ever-improving Lego genre.
By Mike Nelson 03/23/2011
Share it:Tweet Between the shooters, role-playing games, and action-adventure titles were inundated with throughout the year, I always look forward to a Lego game to break up the wealth of playing the latest big budget video game. It’s almost a genre unto itself: Lego. Not quite adventure, action, or any other singular category, the games are like Lego bricks: useless until they’re combined with another piece, and then another, and then another…When I start playing a Lego game, I already have a good idea of what to expect, so I can examine the tiny refinements that have been made to the gameplay, level design, and character animations. But above all else, I just enjoy the hell out of them.
Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars is in some ways the best Lego game I’ve ever played, but it’s also one of the most difficult. That’s something I never thought I’d say about a game in which you can’t die, but it’s true. The difficulty mainly stems from limited information from the game itself on how to access Space and Ground battles from the main menu — a simple pop-up dialog box could have remedied this. For a game that works so hard to appeal to the largest audience possible, Clone Wars takes a very old-school, “figure it out yourself” approach; it’s probably a tough sell for the younger audience and one hell of a challenge for the not-quite-so-young audience. This in turn makes it hard to determine who the game is specifically designed for.
Click the image above to check out all Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars screens.
Minikits (small white canisters hidden throughout the game’s levels) seem even harder to track down since each one is coupled with objectives like “build five gold droids” or “uncover and build ten skeletons.” Others are just hidden in less than obvious locations, and in some cases I only found them through blind luck — like the time I destroyed everything in Jabba’s Palace with rockets. In past Lego games, Minikits were practically given to you while going through the Free Play mode or Hub World portions of the game, inviting you to experience the end-game content. Now these collectibles have been hidden away to be found by only the most dedicated, lucky, and astute gamers. That’s fine for some games, but not necessarily the best fit for a Lego title that’s typically designed to reward you for simply playing through the game. You want to reach the end-game content, not become frustrated by finding obscure collectible locations.
While the Minikit collection aspects of the game may have become more difficult (along with the ability to achieve 100% completion), the sheer amount of game that’s been rolled into Clone Wars is staggering. Everything from the gigantic Hub World that involves Republic and Separatist flagships in orbit to a new strategy game mode in which you have a gigantic battlefield to play in are welcome additions that really serve to deliver on the Clone Wars license.
The Ground Assault missions are large, arena-based battlefields with a series of control points. You can build up to three different structures on these points (such as shield generators, turrets, troop, or vehicle facilities); the objectives are either to destroy all enemy locations, build an escape pod, or destroy a command center. These objectives can be customized in the Arcade mode portion of the game, in which you can play against a friend next to you on the couch. However, when playing against the computer you’re not told of the objective for the specific planet until you’ve already selected your landing craft and are on your way to the planet’s surface. There are also some issues with A.I. units and vehicles standing in the line of fire (or generally just getting in the way of objectives), but nothing game-breaking — you can always just blow apart your own units to destroy an objective.