Whether you had a childhood fascination with LEGO or not, there’s no denying that whoever came up with the idea of combining the LEGO figures with some of the most popular movie and comic franchises in history (Batman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter) deserves a medal.
Not only do the LEGO adventures give you a chance to play through your favourite film scenes, but you can have endless fun demolishing and rebuilding scenery, solving puzzles and enjoying the knockabout humour. As the two Star Wars trilogies have already been covered in the LEGO game series, the latest outing turns instead to the first two series of the animated TV series The Clone Wars.
Familiar characters from the films such as Obi-Wan, Padmé, Yoda, Anakin, R2D2 and C3PO can be individually controlled, as well as lowly droids and troops – but lest you think it’s a case of just more of the same, LucasArts has thrown in a host of new gameplay features.
Massive battles and swapping scenes
The most significant addition to the LEGO game series is the inclusion of massive ground battles in which you begin with a small force and gradually have to clear the map of enemy bases and troops, replacing them with your own and calling on reinforcements where necessary. This brings a welcome degree of strategy to the combat. There are also a host of new boss battles where you can play solo or in co-op mode to concentrate your attacks on known weak spots.
Another creative new feature is SceneSwap. This lets you flip at the touch of a button between two scenes, taking control of the separate missions simultaneously. Split-screen combat is also enabled, and there are a number of space battles that involve a mixture of hitting targets, taking out other vessels and performing clever manoeuvres. Individual fighting skills have been expanded as well, with a new set of lightsaber and Force abilities.
Revamped graphics engine
Thanks to the use of a brand new engine, the graphics and lighting effects are much improved. Fans of the films will also be delighted with all the usual Star Wars music themes and sound effects from laser weapons and lightsaber fights. Some of the puzzles involve a good degree of head scratching and might prove too taxing for the target seven-year-olds – and the same might be true for the larger battle scenes, where the waves of droids are unrelenting. But you’ll still have many hours of entertainment working out which character you need to possess’ to progress the campaign.
- The sheer scale and variety of the battles.
- Some of the puzzles might be too testing for seven-year-olds.
Undoubtedly LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is the LEGO game that fans of the genre and the Force have been waiting for, with much improved graphics, expanded gameplay options and the chance to explore 20 story-based missions.