Game-A-Week: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes

Game Title: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes (PC)

The Gist: Another Star Wars game, they’re plenty in number these days and I don’t think a year goes by without Lucas approving a new game of some sort. This game in particular extends the Clone Wars TV series and allows players to take control of Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Clone Troopers and various other characters along the way. The game is spliced with scenes similar to that of the Clone Wars series in order to carry the Story similar to that of an episode that bridges the gap between the first and second season. The game feels like it’s been set up as a clone wars based imitation of The Force Unleashed and designed for kids. Levels take place on a third person view for both characters themselves and vehicles such as speeders. You fight enemies and navigate obstacles occasionally finding a vehicle or a boss fight such as a giant battle droid.

Pros: You get to play with a lightsaber pure and simple. No matter how bad a Star Wars game can be as long as you have a lightsaber to swing, it’s got something in it most people want. I like the ‘attempt’ at bridging the first and second series of Clone Wars however the first hour of game play revealed little in the way of Story and felt more like an excuse to use the characters from the series. Bizarrely whilst Jedi levels feel pretty boring the Clone Trooper based ones feel rather fun and make me wonder if this should have been the concept for the game instead, in fact I have the urge to load up Republic Commando sometime soon.

Cons: Graphically this game is ugly. With full settings, max AA and such the game still has a distinct feel that it’s nowhere near as polished as it could have been. The difficulty settings for the game essentially consist of normal or hard…hard being easy enough for a gamer of any calibre to beat the game. The challenge sections of the game are clearly designed for two players only, anyone doing these on single player even on hard will find no challenge at all and most likely find themselves bored. The cinematics do not match the quality of the series which is a shame as the voice over work is spot on and utilises the same cast as the series itself. The in game dialogue does however seem badly ‘edited’ and often feels like someone’s rushing the lines in order to make game play occur sooner. Whilst this might be what some gamers would like, more pew-pew less chatter, as a Clone Wars fan I’d actually like to sit and watch both cinematics and dialogue from characters. One of the features of the game is being able to jump onto battle droids and stab your lightsaber into them enabling you to take control of the unit for a short period of time, blasters and all. The game utilises Games For Windows Live which brings achievements to the game, however these achievements are essentially a child’s way of building up his game score, being rewarded for completing a level or jumping onto a battle droid.

Musical Note: The music is a collection of classic Star Wars style music mixed with specific Clone Wars music that is overplayed as it should be to each area of the game.

Hunger Level: After playing for an hour I felt little desire to continue playing. Even after watching the latest episode of Clone Wars the game did not entice me to play on.

Conclusion: This game is one of those Star Wars games that uses the franchise as motivation to play a bad game. You’re much better off playing The Force Unleashed if you’re looking to use force powers and a lightsaber, not that TFU is without flaws itself. Give it a miss unless you happen to find a copy of the game inside a box of cereal, at the bottom of a well or if it’s incredibly cheap and you’ve nothing better to do.

One Hour, One Review, One ‘Game-a-Week’ @ Black Vinculum

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‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Falls to the Darkside

 

In the past two months Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Season 3), has drifted away from season three’s politics and fallen to the dark side by means of not one but two trilogies.

The Nightsister Trilogy’ finds Dooku’s assassin Asajj being deemed too powerful by the emperor, Seeing her as a threat Dooku’s ordered to dispose of her. Surviving and seeking revenge against her former master Asajj brings a new character into play, Savage Opress, allowing him to become Dooku’s new apprentice and her aid in battle against Dooku when she wishes it. The episodes feature several well choreographed fight scenes and insights into the Sith training process which bring a much needed change of pace to the events we’ve been following in the Clone Wars this year.

The second trilogy steps away from the battlefield that is the Star Wars galaxy and ends up becoming an echo of things to come. Both Shimi Skywalker, Anakin’s mother and Qui-Gon Jinn make an appearance (guess voiced by both Liam Neeson and Pernilla August from Episode One). We return to the prophecy of Anakin being the one who will bring balance to the force, interplay between the light-aligned Daughter, the dark-aligned Son (voiced by Sam Witwer/Starkiller of The Force Unleashed!) and their neutral farther on the Force imbued plane of…wherever it is. We get a glimpse at a few interesting concepts such as Anakin discovering his fate, his decisions after discovering this and Dark-Side Ahoka Tano. Interestingly ‘The Son’ at one point in development was going to be the character Darth Revan from Knights of the Old Republic. Being a major fan of that character myself I’m sort of glad I didn’t see this happen, yet I’m intrigued of course. It seems his scenes were actually animated for the episode but pulled by Lucas himself. I rather hope we’ll see this footage surface someday, perhaps on the DVD/Blu-ray for the episode.

Both trilogies contribute a lot to the Star Wars galaxy, quite honestly more so than the entire Clone Wars series has done to date. I look forward to storylines spun from these trilogies in future episodes and rather hope one will become the thread for the fourth Clone Wars series as it’s rather dark, exciting and may just bring back a character from the first film we believed to be dead. You will cast aside your political storylines and embrace the dark side more frequently…I have foreseen it…