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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

LucasArts

 

Developer

Pandemic Studios

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Great Xbox Live multiplayer choices
- The magnificent Star Wars soundtrack and score
- Variety of different single-player levels decreases repetitiveness of gameplay

 

 

- Itís based on a mediocre movie
- Flying missions are frustrating
- Unless youíre a big fan of the movie (there are a few of you out there) single-player game is not as entertaining as multiplayer

 

 

Review: Star Wars: Starfighter (XB)

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Review: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (XB)

 

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Score: 8.1 / 10

 

star wars clone wars xbox review          star wars clone wars xbox review

 

From E.T. and Jaws on the Atari 2600 to Shrek, Superman, and Batman releases on todayís consoles, some of the most dreadful video games ever made are licensed titles, which rarely do justice to the movie/book/TV series they are based on. With justification, games created with some kind of licensing usually are regarded with high skepticism as to how good they will be. Star Wars has been one of the few licensed series of games to have avoided, with few exceptions, the licensing curse. Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the Xbox zooms into the ranks of yet another decent Star Wars title, although even with strong multiplayer options, because of a short single-player game filled with some frustrating flying missions it isnít quite able to measure up to some of the better Star Wars-based games LucasArts has released over the years.

I am personally an old-school Star Wars aficionado, so I havenít even bothered watching either The Phantom Menace or The Clone Wars movies. If they donít have

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Han Solo and Chewbacca, Iím really not too interested in viewing them. So I played The Clone Wars with nary an idea of what to expect story-wise. Itís set right where the events of Episode II left off. Your goal throughout the single-player campaign is to lead the Republic army with Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the ageless muppet himself, Yoda. Your mission is to

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stop the Separatists from creating a Death Star-like super-Sith weapon of mass destruction.

Primarily The Clone Wars is a vehicle third-person action game covering 16 missions on six worlds from the Star Wars cosmos. But there are some scant missions where you will actually get to play as one of the gameís heroes in a third-person perspective using either a lightsaber or the force to defeat ground-based enemies. These missions werenít bad, but since the thrust of the gameplay is done in one of the five crafts you will pilot (depending on which level you are on) they did feel out of place in The Clone Wars. Each mission has specific goals that must be completed to advance and reminiscent to GoldenEye on the N64, there are bonus goals that can open up hidden easter eggs. Overall, the well-developed, yet too-linear single-player campaign mode is unfortunately too short and not entirely challenging. But there is a facet of gameplay that usually is associated with warfare titles that allows you to manipulate the functions of more than one craft at a time as the squad commander. You canít employ the squad commander controls is every mission, but when you can the gameplay is a lot more strategy-based and becomes more enjoyable.

What throws a damper on that fun are the specific missions where you will be flying the Republic gunship. No question about it, trying to complete these missions is the worst part of The Clone Wars. You cannot actually stop the constantly-in-motion gunship as a result youíll be constantly smashing into not only the ground, but the surrounding environment like mountain ranges. I was never happier than once I completed these aggravating and headache-inducing gunship-flying missions.

 

star wars clone wars xbox review          star wars clone wars xbox review


Controlling any other Star Wars craft in The Clone Wars is a complete 180 from the gunship, especially in the Republic Fighter Tank -- the vehicle you will be hyper-driving most in the game. Each vehicle features laser cannons (rendered with some nifty particle effects) as its chief weaponry, but there is also a secondary weapon like missiles and a special ability such as shields inherent to every craft. Controlling these weapons, abilities, the speed boost, and having the ability to strafe from side to side while also engaging in battles is easy to do because of the tight control setup. Strategy must be used in using your more powerful secondary weapons, because there are in a limited supply. But power-ups will replenish them and also provide health and a temporary super blaster at times.

Visiting all the varied worlds and having to learn the intricacies of the crafts youíll maneuver in The Clone Wars keeps the game from getting too repetitive. The development team at Pandemic did a great job of making The Clone Wars sensually appealing. The soundtrack naturally features the magnificent John Williams score that is some of the best music ever created for a movie, and in kind any Star Wars game benefits from this. Visually, The Clone Wars features Xbox-enhanced graphics that really bring alive the Star Wars universe as you travel through highly detailed snow-covered frozen tundra, welcome-to-the-jungle forests, and Mars-like desert environments.

Multiplayer modes, particularly played online, really save The Clone Wars from mediocrity. Playing on Xbox Live in a full spectrum of multiplayer modes elevates The Clone Wars to an enjoyment level it doesnít reach in the single-player campaign. Among others, the basics king-of-the-hill and deathmatch are available, and also a team-based conquest mode that allows you to play multiplayer with the squad command feature that is one of the better aspects of the single-player campaign. Playing conquest mode, when I docked my ship and took command of a base reminded me of the Command & Conquer series, and any time a game can be compared favorably to great games such as Command & Conquer should give an indication of how good The Clone Warsí Xbox Live gaming can be. Even offline, The Clone Wars offers a few multiplayer options such as the Russell Croweís Gladiator-inspired Academy mode that really extends the life of the game tremendously.

Fans of all things Star Wars will be most enamored with The Clone Wars. Xbox Live players who love MechAssault may also enjoy playing The Clone Wars because of the similarities in the type of combat and destruction machines that you can use online. But casual Star Wars fans without Xbox Live are better off renting The Clone Wars.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(June 8, 2003)

 

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