Since 1977 every generation has in some way experienced an incarnation of Star Wars. It was only natural that the franchise would eventually cross over into the gaming industry. While some gave you the opportunity to fight with the space opera’s signature lightsaber, none truly captured the feeling of wielding the iconic tool of destruction.
When it was announced that the same company that was releasing The Force Unleashed was also developing a game specifically for the Wii, speculations were a plenty. At long last were we going to be able to duel with our friends with something more than sticks, or plastic toys? Kinda……
The game is based, both in looks and story, on the latest installment to the franchise. Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a CG-animated film and television show, intended for primarily the younger members of the fan base. This throws you smack dab in the middle of Episodes II and III. The two coincide very nicely, using pre-rendered cinematic clips from the film and following the story line very closely.
As previously stated, the story is pulled directly from the film and television show. Jabba the Hutt’s son, or huttling, has been kidnapped by the separatists. With the happiness of the galaxy in the Jedi’s hands, Anakin Skywalker (Pre-Darkside days) and his while new padawon, Ahsoka Tano join forces with Obi-Wan to thwart their plan.
Game play is set up in the standard best out of three format. The game does introduce a refreshing way to progress through the rounds by using little cinematic clips between them, allowing the player to get to know each character a little more. During a battle, usually at random moments, the two fighters will lock light sabers cueing another cut scene with an old western style show down where the winner is decided by a mini game.
The appearance of the game was neither stellar nor lacking. For what the game was intended for, the graphics pulled it off well. There are some moments that, had you not known it was the game, one may make the mistake that they are watching one of its counterparts. The environments are well modeled and very interactive. From being able to force throw crates and rocks (will get into that in more detail later), or to droids shooting at you, each level provides something new to deal with.
The sound is right on par with the graphics. There is nothing particularily spectacular or awe inspiring, but fitting for the style of game. Though it can get redundant, the voice acting is done very well. Using voice talent from the film and show, added a little authenticity to the game play.
Through out the fight, each combatant will say little insults to each other. If the battle is between Skywalker and Kenobi, they speak to each other as if it is a training exercise. If a death match between General Grievous and Asajj Ventress ensues, bickering about who should be Dookus’ number one will follow. As far as general sound effects, they are your run of the mill Star Wars sounds, though why should they change.
While the graphics and sound are an important appeal factor for this game, due to the fact that is goes along so well with the other installments, the concept is what attracts most players and fans. Sadly enough, in the end it falls short of everyone’s expectations. The theory behind it was a no brainer. Finally we were given the chance to control and effectively fight with one of the most iconic and recognized weapons in history.
From the films, shows, and even other video games the lightsaber has always been used with style, grace and samurai type elegance. There is nothing elegant or stylish about the execution of the games fighting system while brandishing the Wii’s controller and nun chuck. As refreshing as it may be to no longer control a melee weapon with mashing buttons, the hope that fighting would be based on skill and finesse was crushed.
When waiting for the fight to begin, a loading screen shows you potential combos of the character you will be in control of, however the execution of said combos looks much easier than what it is. The remote is responsive to the various movements you make, for instance if you “waggle” it side to side you will perform a slicing motion. Push the remote forward and you will stab at your opponent. Combine the waggling with your force powers and force jump and it becomes less of a contest on who is more skilled, and more “I can shake my controller faster than you.”
When you are in the shoes of a Jedi, you have the ability to force throw objects from your surroundings at your foe. The way you perform the move is cool, making you use the nun chuck attachment for more than just a joystick, but the move is primarily useless due to the fact it causes little damage and depletes the majority of your force energy. As a Jedi you also have the ability for a special force power. Unlike the force throw however, these can be used a little more effectively. You are able to push your opponent off the side of a cliff, or fry them from the inside with force lighting.
When you are able to land the suggested combos, not only are they extremely damaging but you also refill your force energy. It becomes very clear that the key to victory is a matter of landing combos every once and a while, and using force charged attacks the rest of the time. The only true defense you have is blocking, unless it is a force charged attack, which will penetrate every time. There is no true dodge feature, but using force jump compensates for that.
While the fighting system lacks, the graphics and sound aren’t the only redeeming component to this game. There are several modes that you can play through and possibly “master” dueling. The story mode is painfully short taking roughly thirty-five minutes to complete. Single player also hosts challenges, battles, free play and quick play. Challenge mode pits you against someone where not only do you have to win but you also must complete some criteria set for you.
Battle mode is a sort of endurance mode where you take on opponents one right after the other seeing how long you can last without losing. Free play allows you to choose your character and who you are fighting, for practice, while quick play will pick them both at random.
Where this game truly shines is multi player. This is what the game was meant for. It didn’t inject some complex story that would take away from the game play experience, faulted as it may be. With multi player you are able to take on a friend in an epic battle of sorts. Though the controls may be frustrating while play the AI, it becomes enjoyable when playing someone with the same handicap (not being pre programmed to rock).
Though there are obvious things the game could be improved upon, it is what it was meant to be. It is not for you die hard Star Wars fans that were expecting to finally know what it feels like to be a real Jedi. It is for the kids, or the young at heart that don’t care about how bad the reaction time is. It is made to be fun and for their target audience it is.
Designed to look like the film and show, the game is neither groundbreaking nor lacking.
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While the concept was amazing, it just didn't deliver due to unresponsive controls, and lackluster mini-games.
Using the voice talent from the film and show was a nice touch, while the sound effects are like every other installment in the franchise.
Story mode is extremely short, but due to multiplayer, challenges, and unlockables based on the difficulty you play on, it has the potential to last longer than one would think.
Though it may not meet most people's expectations, the game was designed for a younger audience and is pure entertainment for them.