Star Wars The Clone Wars
Feed me to the Sarlacc pit for heresy, but I actually prefer Clone Wars' terrestrial take on dogfighting to the traditional but tedious X-Wing loop-the-looping. From assault walkers to Wookiee pack animals, impressive ground-based toys abound. Of these, half are such a pleasure to handle that even the ubiquitous escort assignments don't feel like mundane babysitting gigs. Plus, slick visuals give the game cinematic grandeur. Too bad, then, that some of the other segments look and play like a hodgepodge of aborted Star Wars projects tossed aside in the final moments of the 32-bit era. Just when you're enjoying a tense tank fight, for instance, out pops Mace "lifelike-as-Legos" Windu. You've gotta move his hardly animated ass across a battlefield while armies of clones and droids pause to stare curiously at his clunky movement. But kudos to the cool multiplayer modes in which Windu has the decency to stay in his damn seat. And the shallow but fun Live games put this prettier version of CW a few parsecs beyond its PS2 and Cube cousins.
This visually enhanced CW comes to the Jedi Council table with an extensive single-player campaign, lots of cool vehicles, and massive environments. I agree with my fellow Padawan Shawn, however, that the piss-poor, tacked-on lightsaber fightin' would make Episode I's Qui-Gon Jinn roll over in his grave. Luckily, trying to obliterate Shawn's AT-XT Walker in the new online modes upped my enjoyment considerably. It's not quite as good as Rogue Leader (GC), but it's worth a look.
Here are some definitive CW moments: 1) When yappy wing-woman Luminara finally shut her advice-spewing Jedi pie hole. 2) When Obi-Wan got stuck on the side of a building during a speederbike chase. 3) Any of the 50-plus times I piloted a ship and blew up endless waves of boring foes. Yes, solo missions are a drag, but not all is wrong with the Force. Thank the midi-chlorians for the wonderful online modes that go beyond simply "kill 'em all and let George Lucas sort 'em out." It's a solid choice for avid Xbox Live players.
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In spite of all their mythological posturing, the Star Wars movies are ultimately about one thing: nasty, bust-your-head-open battles populated by fresh ships and their suicidally daring pilots, and peppered with enough blaster fire to lighten the dreariest, most jaded soul. It's a good thing that they translate well to the realm of video games, considering how many titles LucasArts releases every time there's a new movie. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the latest manifestation of this, and if you're at all familiar with Rogue Leader, then you'll know just what tree this game's trying to measure up to. Sprinkle in some Twisted Metal, and you're that much warmer...
As the title would imply, The Clone Wars takes place during that nigh-legendary spot in the Star Wars continuum, which is currently located just after Episode II. It was a time of great unrest for the Galactic Republic (no thanks, in large part, to Jar-Jar Binks), which equates to a whole mess of tanks, walkers and heavily-armed Jedi, among other units, being deployed to bring down the house. Much like in Rogue Squadron, you'll get to use different vehicles in different scenarios, with some sections calling for a bit of hands-dirtying third-person Jedi lightsaber action.
For a majority of the time, though, you'll be behind the wheel of a zippy fighter tank. It's a quick little number, with the ability to tear speedily through enemy ranks, as well as pummel them with fire from its heavy blaster and concussion missiles. The battles you'll engage in when piloting said tank are unrelentingly thick in terms of headcount, so its high mobility and respectable offensive power will definitely keep it out of the scrap heap, provided you're careful, of course.
You'll spend a good bit of time off of the ground, and in the air. In these situations, you'll get to ride a Republic Gunship, which is both nicely hooked-up in terms of armaments and is as swift as a hungry bat. Apart from the standard allotment of blasters and missiles, it's strapped with a crazy-cool concen-trated laser beam that can rip right through enemy hulls like no one's business. Just like the tank missions, insanely populated battlefields are the order of the day here, so you'll need all the firepower you can get.
In truth, though, there doesn't seem to be a battlefield in Clone Wars that isn't filled to the brim with the richness of carnage. Take your tank to a mountaintop, and you'll be able to peep aircraft dogfighting above you. Look down, and you'll see infantry and lighter hardware doing their thing. Spend too much time gazing at your figurative navel, though, and you'll catch some flak to the rear--there's fighting on your stratum, too, so you'll have to stay with it.
Throughout most battles, you'll maintain a certain level of control over the units on your side. By means of the directional pad, you'll be able to issue rudimentary commands like "defend," "attack" and "regroup." Your men are decently responsive and can actually carry their own weight in battle. In some scenarios, though, you'll simply be supporting groups of autonomous wingmen-such was the case in a level we played, which had us playing backup for a group of friendly assault walkers. Regardless of whether you're giving or receiving the orders, all sorts of banter will color the battles, much of which will be uttered by some real Jedis.
On your side of the battlefield will be most of the Force-wielding all-stars from the recent Episode movies including Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu and the whiny Anakin Skywalker. You'll get lots of play time with them in the third-person segments, but in most cases, you'll just take on their roles from inside the cockpits.
A whole mess of multiplayer modes will further beef up the action (see the accompanying side-bars), some of which are genuinely loads of fun. On the whole, it's clear that developer Pandemic is shooting for a Rogue Squadron-level of polish with Clone Wars. Here's to it working out.
The Star Wars universe has always been a field ripe for excellent video games, and The Clone Wars is no exception though it doesn't deliver quite as well as some of its predecessors.
Clone Wars the game starts off where Episode II the movie let off, with you taking on the roles of Obi-Wan, Skywalker and Windu as you try to help the Republic crush the separatist uprising. But unlike the movie there isn't a whole of twisted and shallow plot lines to slow down the impressive action and epic battles'instead you'll do a lot of light saber wielding and speeder bike riding as you mow down tons of bad guys.
The game does a good job of rotating game play between combat on foot, where your main weapons are The Force, your light saber, and vehicle combat, where you get to control everything from a tank to Speeder Bikes to Walkers and Gunships.
Control is well mapped out, with the triggers allowing strafe movements, the thumbstick controlling camera angle and movement and the buttons firing weapons. However, it can be hard at times to quickly switch between weapons or to fire multiple weapons while maneuvering around an enemy.
Clone Wars has little in the way of puzzles. Mostly it's a run and gun game with a serious number of enemies to destroy. There is a smidgen of tactics used later in the game when you're able to control a group of people with simple commands issued with the directional pad, but for the most part consider this a first-person/third-person shooter.
The graphics are very impressive, though there are a few horrific lapses in judgment when it came to rendering. For instance when you smack into an object in a Gunship you sort of bounce off it with the trill of your R2D2 unit and automatically swivel around. It feels more like you're in a bumper car than massive space ship. The audio is suitably impressive, leaning heavily on the familiar strains crafted by John Williams and pumping it up with tons of sound effects.
Although Clone Wars has already been out on the Playstation 2 and Gamecube for a bit, the Xbox version does have one big difference ' Live support. This addition of broadband multiplay, turns what would be a quick trip through the world of Stars Wars into a game worth holding onto. The online features include scoreboard, chat and four methods of play. Duel is your basic deathmatch, Control Zone is a bit like siege where you have to hold a ring of ground, Academy is a cooperative gladiator game where the last player standing wins, and Conquest. Conquest is the most interesting of the lot. In the game, players are put in two teams each with their own HQ. The players have to defend the HQ while trying to destroy their enemy's. This can be accomplished with a player's unit or by taking control of outposts and launching attacks. Outposts can be gained and lost throughout the game. It's a ton of fun.
Clone Wars is an excellent addition to your Xbox Live experience, blending a well-rounded third-person action game with enough multiplayer features and maps to keep the game fun long after you've beaten it.