mikeinsc's Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (Xbox 360) review

A Shocker of a Lego Game

 Ah, the first Lego game based on a property I just don't give a crap about. I'm barely aware of the existence of the cartoon and that isn't going to change unless somebody presents me a reason to give a shit. But Traveller's Tales' Lego titles have been a lot of fun and they seem to really be starting to diversify the game style.

LSWIII:TCW actually is one of the more dramatic changes from the usual Lego game. They provide some unusual level types (some pseudo-RTS levels abound) and some considerably different overall game systems. Unlike prior games, the hub consists of two large ships to explore. Cheat codes cannot unlock all of the characters with some of them actually requiring more than a little bit of work to unlock them. You still need the multiplier to hit the Total Jedi score in all levels. There are hidden things to find in the hub --- heck, the second major hub isn't apparent until you try something and get over there.

In spite of the updates, the basic game play is the same as the usual Lego fare. You bust up stuff and build up structures. You come back after beating the game and use different people to uncover all of the hidden collectibles. It will take the usual 20-30 hours to get everything and you will have a decent time doing it, even if the property is not your cup of tea.

The story is --- OK, I ignored the story pretty badly. It follows the plot of the first and second seasons of the cartoon, so if you watched that, it will probably rock your world. My 6 year old liked it a lot, to be sure.

It is hard to review the game if you've reviewed the other Lego games. "It's a lot like that" doesn't really fill a lot of space in a review. They bring back the bounty hunter missions from prior LSW titles and they are still quick and rather fun parts of the game where you have to locate a specific target with a usually tight time limit generating a lot of stress.

The 360 version is unexpectedly pretty. It doesn't look like an up-resolutioned prior-gen game anymore but, instead, like a really nice-looking game with a consistent visual style. The shiny plastic work is drop-dead perfect for the franchise it is covering.  I like that they don't seem to try and have the different version similar (my son did try the DS version and it wasn't all that similar to the 360 version from what I tried of it).

But the game isn't bad. It really, really isn't. I like the new additions to the game (OK, the RTS areas could grind on you after a while as you get flooded with LOTS of foes). I like that you have to play as two opposing groups. I think it is the best of the Lego games to date. Not liking the property won't be enough to kill the game for most people, including me. In fact, I'm REALLY looking forward to Lego Pirates of the Caribbean now as the Lego games have been changing, a lot, from Harry Potter and now Star Wars III.

I've been a fan of the Lego games to date and this is the first one I had little interest in playing when I started it. But, it shocked me in its quality. It's well worth playing. Hopefully, TT keeps improving on the formula.

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