Posted in: Game Reviews by Archive Authors on May 27th, 2003
Star Wars certainly is a mega-franchise. Not counting the films, the galaxy far, far, away has shown up in toys, lunchboxes, and other assorted paraphernalia. One thing that we didn’t have when the original trilogy made its way through the theater was a videogame based on the films.
That has changed dramatically over the last six or seven years with numerous Star Wars games coming to several different platforms. Arguably, many of those games were shoddy and fans agreed that they were not repre…entative of the stellar film work of the movies. All that is changing however, now that there are home consoles that have the processing power to display the massive universe that is Star Wars.
With that being said, the title for review today is Star Wars: The Clone Wars from Lucas Arts. Any fan of the most recent film will be able to immediately recognize key players from the movie here in the game. Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even Count Dooku all make appearances here in the game. Some are playable characters–such as Mace Windu, but the overall draw to Clone Wars is a good mix of flyable/drivable vehicles and on-foot combat action.
Displaying visuals that can only really be seen on the Xbox, Clone Wars is, at times, a great looking game to play and watch. This isn’t to say that there are not the occasional hiccups in framerate or instances of draw-in, but thankfully these visual bugaboos have been kept to a minimum. At the very least, the Frames Per Second hover near the 60FPS mark while the player is speeding along in the many vehicles.
This alone is an impressive feature when one considers just how much action is going on all over the screen at a given moment. Laser fire, explosions, and running troops all populate the screen and it all seems to run seamlessly together. Here is where the muscle beneath the Xbox console comes into its own–having several spacecraft flying around while hundreds of troops and vehicles mix it up on the ground below.
Another nice feature to the Clone Wars is the level at which the vehicles and many personal are detailed in. All of the vehicles appear to benefit from a healthy poly count, as does Clone Soldier and Mace Windu alike. The different environments that are the levels in the game are unique and well planned out. At times, it looks like sets right from the movie.
Quite possibly the coolest feature with Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the sound and music in the game. Not only is it presented in Dolby Digital–which the Home Theater buffs out there will thoroughly enjoy–but it was created and produced by Skywalker Sound, the arm of the Lucas Film division that does all the sound for the films.
This adds an incredible amount of realism to the game that ties in heavily with the films. This is thanks mainly to the use of many of the original sound effects and music used in the movies. The same John Williams score that played during the movie can be heard in this title as well.
Players will be mixing the action up between several types of vehicles and regular combat with the Light Saber. The vehicles range from land speeder to troop ship and all carry an assortment of lasers and homing missiles. Scattered about the levels are power ups such as health and ammo which will aid the player in getting through some of the more challenging sections of the game and special power ups can be attained from time to time.
The Campaign mode of play is mission based and follows a plot loosely based on events that happened during the last third of the film Attack of the Clones. The Campaign missions have several main objectives which must be met in order to complete the level. In addition to those, there are bonus objectives which can be achieved each level also which unlocks bonus items.
Even though the Campaign levels are chocked full of content, Star Wars: The Clone Wars not only has a solid multiplayer feature for console link of up to eight players, but it also supports the LIVE service for some great team based action online. Modes of play to be had here are Duel, Control Zone, Academy, and Conquest which is a team-based feature that can be enjoyed on both split-screen and on the LIVE network.
Gamers have a chocked-full game to complete when they take on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the LIVE enabled feature just makes that much more content to download and play–so the game has infinite play time attached to it.
Even though there have been some crummy games created in the Star Wars name in the past, Star Wars: The Clone Wars is proof positive that technology in the console market is catching up to a designers vision of a game worthy of the Star Wars logo. Any fan of the SW universe should take this title for a spin.