Lego Star Wars III

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

The goal of any video game is entertainment, and Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars does that well. Building upon the work of its predecessors, Lego Star Wars III has an improved graphics engine and a whole host of new features to keep gamers satisfied. However, perhaps the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether the magic that worked with turning the Star Wars films into Lego worlds would work as well with The Clone Wars television show: the answer is yes.

Lego Star Wars III brings a lot of changes from the previous two Star Wars Lego games. First off, the story missions in this game follow the episodes of season one and season two of The Clone Wars (TCW) animated television show. Each mission follows one episode from the series for a total of 20 story missions overall (though there may be a few unlock-able story missions). Not every episode in either season one or two gets a mission, but there is enough to cover the spectrum and to keep things from getting boring. There are also two levels based on Episode II: Attack of the Clones, both revolving around the Battle of Geonosis.

Aside from the storyline, Lego Star Wars III also brings a new array of game elements that help break up the pace. Amid the destructive grind of smashing everything for Lego coins, the player will occasionally be stumped with a puzzle that will force them to manipulate the environment in order to proceed. Many of the levels break up the on-foot action by introducing vehicles, either walkers or starfighters, in order to move on to the next area. Sometimes you’ll be forced to use your lightsaber to cut holes in walls, and other times you’ll have to scene swap to a character in a different area of the level. There are also a lot of subtle additions to the game that become apparent as you play. Most characters have secondary attacks, be it a lightsaber or a grenade, but if you can also engage in hand-to-hand combat. Sometimes the characters will rip off droid limbs and use them as weapons. Other times a Jedi will start using Force punches to defeat a foe. However, one of the biggest change-ups is the new base battles.

The base battles are a simplified real-time-strategy element that recreate the on screen battles in TCW. By themselves, the base battles are a mildly fun element, but when added together with the rest of the game, it really amps up the fun factor. Typically you are given three friendly bases with the objective of destroying the enemy. Some of the units you can build include massive artillery cannons, factories that churn out little clone brigades, and vehicle landing pads that call in all terrain walkers. All of those items will automatically go into battle for you, but you can also jump in and personally commandeer the cannons and vehicles. Furthermore, if you are a clone commander you can command the formations of clone troopers and lead them into battle. In order to liven things up, there are certain emplacements that can only be destroyed by certain types of weapons, and the objectives can vary between destroying/building certain units and escape. The base battles are not only thrown in on the story missions, but are also available as a standalone feature that is co-op friendly as well as a versus mode.

Another nice feature is the redesigned game hub. In the old Star Wars Lego games, the game hub was the Mos Eisley Cantina. In the cantina you could run around and walk through different doors to select your mission. There were areas that showed off your minikits and a place where you could buy extra goodies. Lego Star Wars III has completely revamped that with making the Resolute the new game hub. The Resolute is a Venator-class Star Destroyer that served as Anakin Skywalker’s flagship during the Clone Wars. Unlike the Mos Eisley Cantina hub, the Resolute is massive and gamers can spend over an hour just exploring it. If by chance you get bored you can also jump ship and fly over to Grievous’ flagship Invisible Hand which is just as big. The more you wander, the more you find, and the game hub is big enough to be considered a level or two in itself.

Exploration is a big factor in the game and one that shouldn’t be overlooked. On the surface, the game appears straight forward, but the more you play it, the more you discover. At first there’s the familiar mechanics of unlocking “True Jedi Status” or completing a minikit. Yet to find all the pieces for a minikit you will need characters with special abilities. You’ll unlock a lot of characters just playing through the story mode, but it won’t be enough to start completing minikits. The game doesn’t tell you where to find a bounty hunter or how to get a dark side Force user either. You might also notice that there is a planet you can’t go to even after completing the story mode. Little mysteries like these keep the desire for gameplay going. Each time you make a new discovery, you’ll congratulate yourself, and each time you’ll unlock a new element of gameplay.

Graphically the game is par with what you would expect from a new release on the current gaming consoles. The graphics are way better than the outdated Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The lightsabers, blasters, and environments are all done very well. Even the Lego pieces and characters have an added element of detail to them that makes them look like their real life counterparts. Though the graphics are not on the same scale as The Force Unleashed or the Call of Duty franchise, they still make the game enjoyable and accomplish quite a lot. The content of the graphics is also worthy of some praise.

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game versus Lego Star Wars III

The final fun factor of the game is without a doubt the humor. When telling the story, the game takes some artistic license that often portrays the characters to ridiculous limits. Every mission starts and ends with a cutscene and the game designers take every opportunity to make the scenes funny. Of course some humor works better than others. An oft running gag early on was the romantic relationship between Anakin and Padme. Quite a few jokes revolved around the clone troopers and things squashing them. Yet some scenes went well beyond chuckles and were absolutely priceless. One scene in particular involved Captain Typho interrogating a Separatist droid in Blue Shadow Virus that was simply beyond telling. Another dealt with the Mon Calamari Jedi that was killed in Lair of Grievous. In the actual episode Jedi Knight Nahdar Vebb’s death was touching and dramatic. In the game they treat him like the black knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The constant humor does more than keep the game fun; it elevates it to an experience.

Jammed pack with action, fun, and humor, Lego Star Wars III excels in taking The Clone Wars and making it a game worth playing. The core storyline is both challenging and entertaining. Elements of humor and exploration provide the necessary incentive to keep players interested. On top of that, the limitless amount of options stave off boredom and open up massive replay possibilities. From a player’s perspective, there is more than enough content in the game to justify buying it, especially for Star Wars fans. In the end the game designers not only continued the magic they captured with Lego Star Wars: The Video Game and Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy but topped it.

Written By: Skuldren

For reader reference, I played the Xbox 360 version of Lego Star Wars III, and without the handy use of the strategy guide. Total game time for completion of the nineteen story missions was just over 11 hours (note that there is a twentieth bonus story mission Hostage Crisis that I unlocked later).  There are also over a 130 characters, dozens of controllable vehicles, 16 star systems, and several gameplay modes (including story mode, free play, bounty hunter missions, and base battles).

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