The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
If you've played any of Traveller's Tales' licensed LEGO games,
whether it's Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, or Indiana Jones, you know
what to expect from LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars' gameplay. Any
pre-assembled LEGO object you come across can be smacked until it
crumbles into basic building blocks, raining multicolored collectible
studs onto the floor. Most unassembled LEGO blocks found in a level can
be pieced together to create an object or vehicle that will likely grant
access to a new area. Foes that are shot or whacked explode into a mess
of body parts, and may drop a red heart that will replenish your
health. At any point, a second player can jump in or drop out of play.
After completing the game, you can re-enter levels with all of the
different character classes to hunt down 10 well-hidden minikits. And of
course, at one point your character will be asked to ride a lawnmower,
an elephant, or some kind of hilarious vehicle that never should exist
in the Star Wars universe.
Even with this familiar framework in place, Traveller's Tales has
added to the formula to such a degree that it feels like a completely
new experience. This is the first LEGO game that doesn't feel like a
holdover from the previous console generation. New technology allows for
hundreds of characters to occupy the screen at once. Rather than just
destroying two or three battle droids at a time with a saber throw or
well-placed rocket, you'll now have the chance to obliterate dozens at a
stroke by running them over with a speeder bike or an unruly Geonosis
coliseum beast. The true scale of a Star Wars battle is captured in this
game, and the power Traveller's Tales places into your hand is
The new technology also allows levels to seamlessly expand from tight
corridor-based gunfights to outer space ship-against-ship warfare.
Cooperative players also don't have to worry about being tethered onto
one screen. If one player wants to explore more of a ship while the
other player takes flight to wage war against a capital ship, he or she
can do so. The new split-screen system allows players to do what they
want, and recognizes when they are in the same frame by converting to a
singular view. As is the case with all LEGO games, this one is best
played with a friend at your side.
Cooperative tactics are especially useful for the game's new RTS
battles. Base building, resource management, and carefully plotted
strategies are all a part of the mix, but in execution, the RTS elements
are light, and so easy to comprehend that even non-gamers should figure
them out in a few minutes. In addition to crushing the opposing forces
(which could be the Republic or Separatists, depending on who you
choose) the goal of the RTS levels is to secure territories. With each
occupied territory, new building options become available. You can build
a wide variety of vehicles (all of which can be controlled), as well as
troops (which you can order to attack specific targets), shield
generators, torpedo stations, and should the victory conditions call for
it, an escape pod. All of the vehicles control exceptionally well and
offer varying tactical strengths. The one problem that these levels run
into is the AI almost comes across as pacifistic. They'll destroy
approaching vehicles and will throw up a shield, but they never push
back or rally to protect their bases. The true nemesis ends up being the
clock. Early in the game, before the stud multiplier and invincibility
red bricks can be purchased, completing a stage in a set amount of time
can be difficult. The RTS levels are abundant, and a great addition to
Traveller's Tales' well-worn LEGO gameplay. In co-op games, targeting
can also be a bit problematic due to the lack of camera control offered
to the players.
Although the game begins with Attack of the Clones' Battle of
Geonosis, which was likely included solely to show off the ability to
throw hundreds of battle droids on screen at once, all of the other
levels are based on the first two seasons of The Clone Wars television
series. With such a large selection of stories to choose from, the game
offers a high level of variety in its levels and conflicts within them.
The one constant overlapping in most levels is the boss. Count Dooku,
General Grievous, and Asajj Ventress are confronted multiple times, and
are the cornerstone of big Jedi versus Sith throwdowns. Like all LEGO
games, the boss fights boil down to figuring out what technique works
and repeating it until the foe falls, but at least this time around the
battles unfold through multiple phases and stages.
If you are a completionist who wants to unlock every character,
complete every bounty hunter mission, and secure every gold brick, be
prepared to invest at least 40 hours of your life into this game. It's a
long ride, but not all of those hours will go directly into gameplay.
Figuring out what you should do next or how to unlock a new challenge
often boils down to searching every nook and cranny in the hub world,
which is not unlike trying to find a needle in a haystack. I was still
making game-changing revelations in my 23rd hour. Never once, however,
was I bored. Almost every accomplishment rewards you with a new playable
character, of which there are 114 in total. Most of these characters
are yanked from the Clone Wars, but you’ll also unlock familiar faces
from the prequel and classic trilogies.
Even with so much of the gameplay clinging to the formula Traveller’s
Tales created for its first LEGO game, The Clone Wars offers a vastly
different experience that captures the best of both of the LEGO and Star
Wars licenses. It’s easily the best LEGO game to date.
Email the author Andrew Reiner, or follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Traveller’s Tales has settled into a groove with its LEGO games, but
it’s far from a rut. The latest installment to the series is my favorite
one yet, even though I couldn’t care less about the Clone Wars. The
game still is built off the basic structure that was outlined in the
first LEGO Star Wars, though it’s been significantly expanded and
refined. Levels are not only huge, but they’re a joy to explore with a
friend, thanks in large part to the dynamic split screen. A few missions
really show off the improved scale, where each player is free to zip
around in space or dock on a ship and explore the interior at will. The
game’s light RTS elements are a surprising addition, and they’re a fun
departure from the rest of the game. My only real beef with the game is
that it’s possible to miss out on significant chunks of it if you don’t
scour every inch of the hub world. That lack of direction sometimes
extends to level design as well; the few times I got stuck had nothing
to do with puzzles, and everything to do with poorly explained mission
objectives. That said, even if you don’t know who (or what) a Cad Bane
is, this is the LEGO game to buy – Star Wars or otherwise.