LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars offers a return to the Star Wars universe, this time on the Nintendo 3DS, featuring characters and missions from The Clone Wars animated TV series. I’ve never really sat and watched any of the animated episodes, but the game packs in plenty of humour, making it enjoyable for fans of the show and newcomers alike.
Clone Wars is very similar to the previous LEGO titles, with the addition of some new features such as flight missions and story swap modes. Who would think smashing LEGO bricks could be so much fun? The new game takes us across 11 various planets during the three year period between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
In the main hub you select a planet, each of which has three acts. The mission stats shows your progress, how many mini kits you’ve discovered, red bricks you’ve collected and whether you have become a True Jedi. Once you’ve landed on the first planet, called ‘Ambush’, you’re given the choice of LEGO characters which include; Yoda, Clone Trooper and Heavy Trooper. Each of the characters have their own special abilities, such as Yoda who can move green-glowing objects with the force using the A button, Clone Trooper can use his Target Reticule to blast objects with the X button and the Heavy Trooper who is stronger and is better use for combat. Players can switch between characters with the use of the left and right buffer buttons, which is great because you then can enjoy each characters ability. Don’t worry if you’re unsure which character to use in each scenario, because the game highlights the character icons yellow. If you find yourself a little lost in the game, simply touch the R2-D2 that appears on the touch screen for handy and useful hints.
As you make your way through each level, smashing all of the LEGO objects and collecting the studs, a True Jedi meter appears at the top of the 3D screen and filling it will award the player True Jedi status for that level. Each different coloured stud has a different value, with the blue studs being the most valuable. Pretty much everything is destructible in the LEGO games, which means that anything from a plant to a rock can be destroyed and the studs harvested. After smashing things up, you may need to construct something from the rubble such a grapple pad for the light clone to use his grapple gun from, to swing to and from levels. Some areas will need to be destroyed by Heavy Clone who is more suited to being blown up and thrown around. He uses a special pad to detonate a large bomb in harder to reach areas. I love the way he sets the bomb off, but just stands right next to it, turns around and sticks his fingers in his ears. During the game, you’ll also be able to use your stylus to burn holes into walls by drawing along the guide line in the bottom screen. Yoda is especially cute as he swings around his light saber to decapitate droids or perform a ground slam attack on a battledroids in his bid to save the universe. The droids come thick and fast in the game and can be spotted in some hilarious cutscenes throughout the game. If there is one thing that this game does well, it’s sending me into fits of giggles when the droids get themselves into trouble and mischief.
Each level contains 10 mini kit capsules which are scattered and hidden away, and one of your objectives is to find them all. Many areas of the levels can only be reached by certain characters, which can be accessed in free play. The play mode allows you to replay a level with any character that you have unlocked, so if you miss a mini kit the first time round, you can always go back later on. There is one Red Power Brick in each level and these unlock extras that later can be bought in the LEGO shop. The LEGO shop allows you to purchase Star Wars characters, extras, hints and story sequences. In the Rec Room you can use a machine to access Streepass which basically throws out extra studs, which was a little disappointing to be honest. I would have liked to see more from this feature. In here you’ll also find a selection of arcade machines, which is perfect for earning more studs. In the hub there are lots of places to explore and fun things to do, including customising Star Wars characters by changing their bodies and attire.
One of the things I found annoying is that the depth perception seems a little off as I found myself falling from platforms or plummeting to my doom on a number of occasions. The other thing I disliked very much were the flight missions in which the game launches you into the air and space as you try to destroy various objectives. I just found this very repetitive and a little frustrating. Another annoying discovery was the fact that you couldn’t save the game anywhere, you had to complete all three acts for a given planet. This means when I needed to do something else at the time, I had to just pause the game or start all over again.
Although the general formula for the LEGO games has remained unchanged for such a long time, my thoughts still remain positive about the LEGO games and the few new features added to each game keep it fresh. Graphically it’s great when you watch cutscenes, but seemed a little washed out during gameplay. The background music features all the epic Star Wars themed tunes as you merrily progress through the game and the chance to play other characters from the huge roster was enjoyable. The cutscenes throughout the game are enough to keep me entertained for quite some time. The replay factor is great, encouraging the player to go back and find all of the mini kits and red bricks, but I’m feeling a little hesitant due to some of the seriously off-putting flight levels.
If you’re a fan of the LEGO video games past and present, or a Star Wars fan, then it’s definitely worth playing. Do you have what it takes to become a true Jedi master?
The 3DS effects weren’t that impressive, occasionally it would seem the LEGO bricks were flying towards you in the flight missions with debris lying around outer space, but overall you could quite happily play the game without even touching the depth slider.