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.
The portable versions of the LEGO games have been disappointing, and the trend continues with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. The game follows a truncated version of events from the console version, which in turn is based on seasons one and two of the television series. Aside from sharing animated cutscenes, the console and 3DS versions have different level layouts and gameplay.
Traveller’s Tales has been refining its LEGO formula over the years, and it’s unfortunate that the most noticeable improvements and tweaks didn’t make the transition here. The Force is essentially a switch in this version, rather than an ability that allows players to move environmental objects and enemies at will. Boulders will continue to hover toward their predetermined paths even if the Jedi supposedly controlling it gets killed in the middle of the process. It’s not a horrible omission, but there was something satisfying about picking up a battle droid and turning its own cannon against its allies; hurling it around here feels impotent in comparison.
Characters have their own obstacle-breaking specialties, and you’ll cycle through them at various points to move through levels. Yoda and other Jedi can use the Force to lift objects, machine gunners can overheat and shatter gold bricks, heavy gunners can blow up silver bricks with their rockets, and so on. There aren’t any real puzzles to speak of, aside from variations on the “This is in the way, how can I get past it” theme.
The 3DS version’s biggest attraction, the additional visual dimension, adds little. I was particularly surprised to see that it didn’t enhance any of the platforming sections. The game clearly wasn’t designed specifically with Nintendo’s latest hardware in mind, but I was hopeful that the effect would help compensate for those sometimes tricky areas – a weak spot for the series regardless of platform. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The only difference was that I got to see my characters fall into the abyss in eye-popping 3D.
A few other additions, such as snowball fight minigames and Street Pass-enabled unlocks, don’t reduce the sting of omissions like the console version’s large-scale ground battles. The 3DS version’s gameplay is virtually unchanged from one of Traveller’s Tales’ first LEGO titles. That may have been adequate a few years ago, but it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Ultimately, LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars isn’t irredeemably bad, it’s just another in a long line of disappointments. In many ways, it’s a lot like the Mega Bloks version of an excellent game. It’s similar enough if you’re desperate, but your money is better spent on the genuine article.
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