Gamescom 2010: LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars Preview - One Block at a Time
Written Tuesday, August 31, 2010 By Lee AbrahamsView author's profile
Wait a minute, more LEGO Star Wars? Haven’t we already seen all of the film series transferred into tiny block form? The answer is obviously yes, so what source material is going to form the basis of the latest incarnation of plastic Jedi? Thankfully there was a little skirmish known as the Clone Wars going on between episode two and three that spawned any number of spin offs and created plenty of back story. It is this wealth of material that makes up the bulk of the new title, though you can expect to see plenty of familiar friends and foes along the way too.
Lucasarts’ Nick Ricks – epic name indeed – was on hand to run us through the latest instalment and highlight the improvements that will make this the most block rocking version yet. Considering the number of Lego games that have graced our screens in recent times, can there still be anything new to see and experience?
Thankfully the answer seems to be in the affirmative. First of all, the whole game has been given a facelift with a brand new graphics engine and lighting system. The real improvement is obvious in the backdrops and levels, which have a beautiful level of variety compared to some of the more static equivalents from years gone by. Obviously you do not want to tinker with the characters too much as that would diminish what the series is built on, so the changes to them are minor by comparison, but you can expect a whole roster of cute characters to entrust on your missions.
The central hub will take place on a Star Destroyer this time around, with twenty three different levels branching from this hub. We asked Nick if the multi-hub system seen in LEGO Indy 2 had been scrapped for good, along with the shorter levels and bonus challenges that accompanied it. He said that the multi-hub system has been too much of a love and hate affair amongst gamers, and had confused some of the younger players, taking away from the overall experience. The single hub was designed to keep things simple and would ensure that all of the levels, all the bonus items and all of the builder options were together – so people could just do what they want, when they want. The levels will weave in and out of the Clone Wars story and take in the events of the films as well as those from the TV shows. Not to mention a few unique scenarios to whet your appetite.
A key addition to keep that familiar Star Wars feel are the interweaving storylines that see your characters on different paths during certain levels. So while Anakin fights to shut down a key generator, Ashoka has to fight off a rather peeved General Grievous. You can switch between the two battles at the touch of a button and, regardless of which one you are currently in, the other will appear as a mini battle on your screen. Obviously playing two-player split screen will simplify that a bit, but for single players it is a neat touch.
From the Jedi point of view, you can now use your force powers to turn your foe’s weapons against them or use them to solve puzzles. You can use your lightsaber to cut through doors, dual-wield to kick even more ass and even utilise the classic saber throw to dispatch your enemies from afar. The game’s wide accessibility modifications are also present here too, as the combo system has been reduced to a single button press. Hold down 'square' and you will be able to reel off a string of moves, as opposed to the specific timing required in previous games. The reason behind this is so that even youngsters can get the full experience from the game and enjoy that sense of power and outright coolness that comes from being one of the galaxy’s most powerful warriors.
The other two major additions to the series are both bound to have an impact too. The first are the multi tiered space combat missions, which have added a number of layers to the standard shooting action. At the touch of a button you can fly up and down tiers to attack a variety of foes and accomplish your goals, it means that you can really get involved in combat and makes the flying missions far more interesting. Another neat touch is the ability to land your fighter in certain spots and then hop out to dish out some punishment on foot, before nipping back to your ship and flying off into battle once more.Next up is a chance to re-enact some of the epic battles that the Clone Wars is famed for. Things are not going to be at the level of an RTS game, but you will get to throw vast armies against one another and have to ability to call in reinforcements and manage your teams of death dealing weaponry. Sounds like good times.
LEGO: Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is shaping up to be the best LEGO Star Wars game to date and the new additions really seem to offer something a bit different. Obviously it all plays in exactly the same way as every LEGO game so far, so if they didn’t float your boat then, don’t expect this one to be any different. Come 2011 though, LEGO: Star Wars III: The Clone Wars will offer more than enough to keep fans of plastic figures and overly powered, hood wearing badasses satisfied.
LEGO: Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is scheduled for a 2011 release.