Star Wars Clone Wars XBox Review

Star Wars: Clone Wars begins with the Jedi raid on a gladiator arena to save Skywalker and friends, which is a scene from the Clone Wars movie. Then the game continues past where the movie ends with a new story. This game is a mission based arcade action style game. To start with, there are different planets, which are all backdrops for where these missions  take place. Each planet has at least three major missions to complete, with objectives to each mission, such as fighting your way on foot with your light saber, defending five clone soldiers to pilot a landing ship. That is one objective, then the ship takes off and you must pilot the ship and cover ground troops by destroying cannons and the larger vehicles. Once that is done the third objective will be the enemy begins to retreat from the planet in gigantic rockets, and you piloting your landing ship must destroy the ships before they reach orbit.

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Now that is just one mission and the game offers diverse aspects of game play. One scene you will control a speedy hover tank, pressing the A button for lasers, pressing the X button for missiles, the next scene you could be on foot playing as a Jedi using your light saber, defending against lasers, pressing the A button to slice, and the X button to throw your saber (it boomerangs back). There are also missions that put you on a speeding bike pursuing guards, landing ships destroying things and picking up allies, there are also star ships and jet fighters to pilot as well. Yes the controls are very simple, analog stick to move the craft or your character, X button for special weapons and A button for a laser.

When you command a squadron of tanks or star ships you may control the party by pressing Up on the directional pad for them to attack, Down to regroup, Left to split up and search for things, Right for them to guard a position (to set up an ambush while you do other things). There is also a nice “lock on” feature, once you get an enemy in your sights, they will be locked on, until they move out of range.

Its tough to get lost in the game, because you’ve always got an arrow guiding you somewhere on screen. It allows for a casual sort of experience that almost anyone can get through pretty easily. Death respawns you where you where and this gives you a forgiving chance to get better and push on through the game.

This might be seen as too easy for advanced players, but the graphics are great, the game makes use of X-Box’s incredible power, because it can have hundreds of soldiers and robots firing lasers on the same screen and the game is still very smooth, the loading screens happen at the beginning of each mission. Also, at the beginning of each mission and sometimes objective there is a cut scene, an animated story that continues the game’s story.

Star Wars has never been as good with dialog as it is with the overall story and action, so don’t expect movie scripting. There are no “cinematic” movies, but the cut scenes are when the graphics really shine, when you can see Skywalker’s pores on his face that is detailed. Although there are secret objectives like destroying all 100 soldiers, or completing the a mission in a few minutes, the game still does not add much replay value for those who do not like the Star Wars series.

The game can really hang its hat on the use of the X-Box’s power to have so many fodder enemies on screen at once. You’ll always be facing dozens if not hundreds of foes all at the same time. You can shoot them, plow through them or in some cases fly around them while they give you a beautiful laser light show firing at you. It truly feels next gen in terms of graphics and everything going on around you.

The soundtrack lacks any originality, its still the same soundtrack that seems to be in all other Star Wars games (symphonic music). There are songs taken straight from the movie, which is a good use of the license, but it makes me feel like I’ve heard and played it already.

The online play lacks psychology in a big way. There is no game of cat and mouse when competing against other players with the X-Box Live play, instead its just you and other people seeing who can fire the missiles the fastest. There are team-based missions to play via X-Box Live that can be enabled by competing levels in the game. The game is rated Teen, because it can get quite difficult sometimes and for its swordplay violence. Clone Wars can also be found as a part of the X-Box Live 2003 X-Box Holiday Bundle.

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