on April 17, 2011
My children are 4 and 6 and LOVE playing the previous Star Wars lego game (the complete series one). However they often argue about which direction to go. I loved the idea that this new game would do split screen and thought, HA! no more arguing! For the most part that's true, other than they now argue over who gets to be the jedi character (but once they unlock everything for freeplay, I assume then they can both be the same jedi as in the previous game).
The issue that I really have with this new game is two fold.
1. It is MUCH more complex than the previous games. The puzzles are harder to solve, there are many more actions that can be performed and it requires more fine motor skills (like targeting your light saber when you throw it).
2. There is a lot more happening on the screen at many times, it's distracting. In fact at times it's hard to find 'your guy' or the other guys in your party because there may be 200 attacking battle droids on the screen with you.
I had to resort to googling to figure out how to finish the R2 vs evil R2 level.
Oh that reminds me, another complaint.... some of the levels are WAY TOO LONG. I like to limit the amount of time my kids play PS3 to about an hour long session a couple of times a week. Some of the levels I've seen take WAY longer than that unless you've done it before and make a beeline to complete the level. I wanted to tell the kids, OK that's enough TV, time to turn off the game, but then they lose all progress and would have to start over the next time.
This is a new game to everyone here, so I'm sure given time, the kids will adapt to the new controls and it will all work out, but these are my initial impressions anyway. I would buy it again, but I agree with other reviewers that say it's a step forward in graphics, but a step backwards in terms of actual game play.
This LEGO video game franchise is like the James Bond 007 movies --- even though some aspects get repeated again and again, it's still a ton of fun for many people. I haven't even come close to getting annoyed with the LEGO formula, so "LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars" has been a very enjoyable experience for me. Gamers who are tired of this series might want to sit this one out, because aside from sharper graphics and new strategy-style mode, there's not much new to check out. As for the rest of us, I think you can get into this one just as much as the other LEGO games.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
---"LEGO Star Wars III" probably looks better than any other LEGO game to date, especially with the character animation and lighting effects. Lightsaber combat looks so exciting, whereas previous "LEGO Star Wars" games had kinda clunky action. There's a lot more background action going on, the levels have a more epic scope, and it all runs very smooth. Keep in mind, though, that the series has started to make the levels look less like LEGO blocks, and more like realistic graphics. In other words, it's not all made of LEGOs, just a good chunk of it. The trend seems to be realistic worlds, LEGO-style characters. Personally, I'm okay with that. The music is very good in this game, and avoids recycling John Williams' music from the 6 feature films. In fact, I find "The Clone Wars" music to be enjoyable to listen to outside of the show or game. The sound effects are the typically-strong quality since they're from the "Star Wars" universe. Aside from that, this is a great-looking and great-sounding LEGO game.
---If you're looking to play these LEGO games for the story, you're going to be disappointed. The cutscenes are meant to move things along at a rapid, comedic pace. I'm okay with the quick slapstick approach, because trying to treat these stories seriously has always made for awkward moments in previous games. I can remember how the earlier "Star Wars" tried to make character deaths seem sad, and it came off more weird than dramatic. One thing I will caution is that because these 18 levels (3 chapters) are based on random episodes from a TV show, it can feel a little disjointed when a few villains reappear in more than 1 chapter. But again, we're talking about a LEGO game, so whatever.
---Good news, there are a ton of different Jedi, evil Sith, robots, bounty hunters, and other bizarre aliens to use. The bad news, there are way too many different Clone troopers that look very similar, and it can be very confusing. There are different abilities with the guns (rockets, machine guns) and special functions (some throw grenades, some command squadrons in the strategy-style levels), but I can't tell you which trooper is who without switching over and trying them out. It's not a big deal with the Story Mode, because each levels has a few specific characters. But in Free Play Mode or in the Hub, when you're free to explore and choose from dozens of characters to find the secrets, it's a bit of a mess. After a while, you might learn to recognize the different troopers, but I still struggle with it. Thankfully, though, each character is very fun to use. Get past the learning curve with the troopers, and you'll be alright.
---These levels aren't any more fun or less fun than any other "LEGO Star Wars" game. You still smash stuff to pick up bolts to buy things, build weird LEGO contraptions to advance in the levels, have infinite lives, face a few bosses, and use a variety of characters to explore and combat. The only level that really annoyed me was a cave level on Geonosis, where the only source of light are the Jedi lightsabers and Clone trooper flashlights. It's graphically-impressive, but disorienting. There are a couple of major differences to the "LEGO Star Wars" formula. In "The Clone Wars", there is less of an emphasis on spaceship combat. In fact, most of these spaceship sequences have very simple combat, with you eventually landing your ship to continue on foot. The other major addition to this game are the Assault levels. When you play Story Mode, there are a couple levels where "The Clone Wars" becomes a strategy game. You'll have to collect bolts, build you own bases, and take out the enemy. It sounds a bit weird, but there's actually some nice depth to it. Certain enemy building can only be destroyed by certain kinds of vehicles. For example, a Silver building requires a powerful cannon or rocket, whereas a Gold building can only be destroyed by rapid-fire weapons. Or you could work your way to a Torpedo bay, so that you can destroy a base's energy core and wipe it all out. Then again, if they have a Shield Generator, you'll have to send some troop squadrons in because vehicles can't breakthrough. You see how deep this can get? The Story levels do a decent job of teaching you how to play. Unfortunately, the standalone Assault missions have a time limit. It'd be nice if players could take their time with this mode, rather than being forced to rush everything. However, Assault is such a good addition to this LEGO game, I hope someone chooses to expand on this in a future video game.
---The Hub is the areas where you just goof around and find some secrets before choosing your level. Thankfully, this game doesn't use the system used in "LEGO Indiana Jones 2", where players had to spend more time in The Hub than the actual levels. However, The Hub in "LEGO Star Wars III" is a lot more complex than in any of the previous "LEGO Star Wars" games. When you start, you'll be aboard a Republic battleship with a couple corridors you can't access yet. Eventually you'll find The Hub is quite large with a half-dozen rooms, a few of them quite large. Each room has its own computer where you access the main menu to pick your level, so that's not a big deal. Where things get tricky is deal with the Separatist content. In order to get those characters and those secret levels, you have to fly a ship out of the Republic ship and the nearby Separatist spaceship. You can't even play the Assault game mode as the Separatists unless you're curious enough to find this other spaceship. In other words, you have a pretty big Hub when you start, and there's a whole 2nd Hub waiting for you to unlock the other 50% of the characters, ships, and secrets. It's not as maddening as "LEGO Indy 2", but it's still a little overkill. Thankfully, there are computer stations all around the Hubs so that you can just play the Missions and Assault mode if you want to. Also, you can use these computers stations to choose any character you've purchased at any time, so that you don't have to fly to one spaceship to bring an evil character to the good guys' spaceship, and vice versa. It might be exploration-heavy, but The Hubs will reward your patience.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO OTHER LEGO GAMES?
---This is a tough question, because your fondness for "Star Wars" is just as important as your fondness for LEGO games. I personally like all of these games (even "LEGO Indiana Jones 2"). I think fans of the previous two "Star Wars" games will love this, even if they're not familiar with the TV show. I hope gamers who are tired of the LEGO franchise give this one a try, just so that they can see the improved presentation and try the new Assault mode. But I'm not nearly tired of this LEGO franchise, because LucasArts and Travelers Tales put so much enthusiasm in treating their projects with respect ("LEGO Indy 2" was a flawed experiment) that it's hard not to feel like a kid playing with a immense toy set that comes to life. It's nice to feel like a kid once in a while.
8.5 / 10 ---> LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
8.5 / 10 ---> LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
8.5 / 10 ---> LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
8.0 / 10 ---> LEGO Star Wars
8.0 / 10 ---> LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
7.5 / 10 ---> LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
8.25 / 10 ---> LEGO Batman
8.0 / 10 ---> LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean
8.0 / 10 ---> LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
??? / 10 ---> LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
on October 15, 2011
I have played all of the Lego PS3 games except for Harry Potter, and I have to say this one was one of my least favorite. For one, the ground battles are just plain confusing. They tell you to get to "level 8" but they never tell you how - and to do the side missions... is just plain repetition. In fact, even some of the levels have the same exact puzzles. This game really seemed "phoned in."
With the previous Star Wars titles filled with humor and inside jokes - this just felt like a sequel for the sake of a sequel. Usually when you unlock bonus content you're excited, when I did it, I was like "what? There's more? Ugh...."
Also it was super hard to get money in this one - the multipliers are so expensive and in many of these ground battle missions, you die a lot. (or at least I died a lot) so when the level is over, sure you made it, but you have no money left over.
I think they had some great ideas with this game, it clearly was trying to be more creative, but in the end fell flat. Even as I write this there are characters that are locked up in the brig and I have no idea how to free and I am almost 90% done with the game.
My little boy loved playing Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean, but he quickly looses interest with this one. There just isn't enough going on the screen to keep him interested.