I am rarely happier than when I am playing a Star Wars game, except maybe when I am playing a driving game. It’s just a pity that the merging of the two with the pod-racing game was a pretty dire attempt at a game, but I am getting a little off topic here. Despite how much I enjoy the Star Wars Unleashed games, it has to be said that the Lego Star Wars games have been amongst the best that the Star Wars franchise has given us. And so with the third game from the license in Travellers Tales’ ever expanding library of Lego games upon us, we have a little look to see if it’s just as much fun as the previous games and what, if anything, has been added to the game.
The third Lego Star Wars game is based around the first two seasons of the animated show Star Wars The Clone Wars, with the movies having been covered in the first two games. However I did notice a couple of levels in the new game were in fact based on scenes from the movies. The very first level for instance will be recognisable to anyone who has seen the movies as the Geonosian Arena battle, an unexpected yet welcome surprise. The majority of the levels though are based on episodes of the television series which, with a running time of around half an hour, works out quite well as each level is it’s own little story, even those that are part of an arc. As with all the previous Lego games Travellers Tales have done an excellent job of sticking close to the source material and portraying those stories without even using dialogue. The small cutscenes at the beginning of each level go a long way to setting up the story for said level, but with tongue firmly in cheek the stories are given a humorous twist, going a long way to keep things light hearted and fun to play.
The gameplay for the majority stays true to the Lego series of games from the original Star Wars game, Batman, Indiana Jones and Harry Potter. The gameplay has been left as it is and quite rightly so with the developers going with the “if it is not broken then do not try and fix it” idea. That of course is not to say nothing has been changed. With each title, along with the core gameplay, new features and additional gameplay modes are added. Anyone who has played one of the Lego titles beforehand will know exactly what to expect here as you guide a small group of Lego Minifigures through the levels, exploring, battling and destroying as much scenery as possible. Each level has you controlling between two and six characters, you can switch control from one to the other at the tap of a button and each type of character has a skill that others do not. Jedi can use the force to manipulate certain objects, clone troopers have a wide selection of weapons to cause destruction with, some can jump extra high and some are small enough to fit into spaces that others can’t, amongst a few other skills. These skills are used in conjunction with each other to solve relatively simple puzzles such as blow this up, jump here and then move that there.
The puzzles are generally simplistic in nature, however they do on occasion have you pausing and thinking what it is you should be doing. Throughout the levels you are also trying to carry out certain objectives, which are the same as every other Lego game and include destroying the scenery which in turn scatters Lego studs around for you to collect. A certain number of these need to be collected through every level, filling a true Jedi meter. There are also a single hidden red Lego brick and ten canisters to be found within each level. Completing each of these tasks rewards the player with a golden brick which in turn are used to open up new areas of the games’ hub, which is much like a level in itself with all of it’s own secrets and hidden areas to discover. With over one hundred characters from the Star Wars Saga, both the show the game is based on and the movies themselves, to unlock, and bounty hunter missions thrown in also, there is a huge amount to do in the game and also means you will probably find yourself replaying levels a few times in an attempt to find everything possible.
Like I said earlier on in the review, each new Lego game tries to bring something new to the mix and this one is no different. Along with the adventure levels which are at the core of the game and the vehicle levels, mostly space battles in the case of this title, Lego Star Wars III also attempts to bring a new type of level into the mix with the inclusion of simplified Real Time Strategy stages. The player still has two characters to control but the level is set out on a large flat battlefield with points that must be captured. Once captured the player can spend studs which have been collected from over the level to erect buildings such as barracks, turrets and air support areas which can be used to call in tanks and other war machines that the player then uses to advance through the battle, fighting off waves of battle droids in an attempt to capture all the points. These levels are not a great challenge and are very much a simplified version of the genre. However, they are a welcome addition and it is nice to see Travellers Tales attempting to add a little something new to the series.
One thing that I do wish the developers would bring into the series is online co-op play. They have experimented with it in a few of the Lego titles but in this day and age it would be really nice to be able to play online with friends. Instead the games multiplayer, like all of the Lego games, relies on drop in drop out local play which is of course as much fun as ever, especially when things turn nasty in a race to be the top stud earner through the level and instead of fighting the approaching battle droids, you begin targeting each other, laughing all the way. And that is one of the things that is great about these games, while playing you almost always have a smile on your face.
The looks of the game are as nicely done as previous titles on the PS3, with the levels built primarily of Lego blocks, most of which can be destroyed with your lightsabre or huge gun. It’s not just the gameplay that is fun packed even, the cutscenes are also really nicely done, doing a great job of setting up the stories for each episode, again with no dialogue and always with a humorous twist, usually involving one of our little Lego chums being smashed to bits to the horror or amusement of the other characters. And then you have the sound, which if you are making a star wars game and get it wrong then you really have no business making a game based on the saga in the first place. As you would expect, everything is present and correct here.
And so we come to the question – should you buy it? It’s a pretty simple answer, if you have played and enjoyed any of the other Lego games from Travellers Tales and you are hungry for more of the same, it’s a definite yes. If you are a fan of Star Wars then again yes, as surprisingly it is one of the better games based on Star Wars available. I would even go so far as to say it is better than The Force Unleashed 2, offering much more game for your money as it is not a game you are going to finish in one or two gaming sessions. However, there is not really anything new added to the Lego game series here, with the developers firmly sticking to what they know works and so it all comes down to whether you are a fan of these games or not. I myself am a fan and look forward to the next Lego title, Pirates Of The Caribbean, and therefore recommend giving this a play.