Clone Wars review, pt 1

I’m dividing my “review” of Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the XBox into 2 parts, one covering offline, the other online. Here’s the smack on the offline mode. Rather than rewrite stuff, I’m just going to post a couple of rants I left on an XBox message board.

The solo game is, to me, more annoying than fun. It’s very much a “you against the world” twitch fest. I thought it’d be slightly more simulator-ish with a bit more strategy to it. But its really a straight forward thumb-numbing shooter. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I was just expecting something slightly less arcade-style. I also hate games with whiney wingmen. 🙂 And ones where, if your wingman gets his or her self killed, its game over for you. And enemies spawn behind you. OK, enough grumping… 🙂

On the plus side, the controls are pretty crisp. When you first start playing they actually seem way oversensitive, but you get used to them pretty quick. Switching vehicles keeps things a bit fresh, though the on-foot segments are god-awful, but also so short that they don’t really matter. There are wingman commands, so eventually I’m hoping I get wingmen and battles that are a bit less insanely chaotic. Although I have to say from a technical point of view, these massive battles are pretty amazing…there are a LOT of targets onscreen at once!

I just hope that eventually I get out of canyons and other very enclosed areas where the name of the game is circle-strafe until one of you dies.

After a bit of time at normal difficulty, I dialed down the difficulty to Easy (Padawan). If you just need to zip through the solo game to unlock stuff for online play, this’ll be a great mode. It’s *REALLY* easy in this mode!

I visited two more planets before I called it quits: the “mandatory-in-a-star-wars-game” ice planet and a planet that’s one huge junkyard. In the latter, there was a short speeder-bike mission that was a lot of fun.

In fact, I’d say the game engine *is* lots of fun. Its the “level design” that annoys me. Really tight goals that you can’t really stray from. I just want to fly around and blow stuff up, but so far I’ve never really been allowed to. It’s always like I’m being led by the nose. “Go over here and shoot that. Now go over there and shoot this. Hey! Come back, you have to shoot THIS now! Don’t go wandering off!”

Couple examples… early on there’s a “protect the convoy” mission. In the beginning of this mission I killed the local baddies then figured I’d shoot out ahead to scout things out and eliminate the enemy before the convoy came into danger. But as soon as I got a little ways away, my wingman started screeching at me to come back and protect the convey, over and over. So I had to go back and wait for the convoy to get ambushed, and then the wingman was screeching at me that the convoy was under attack. In another example, while defending a base long enough for it to get evacuated (because every Star Wars game needs a mission like that) I was sent north to pick up some Jedi at an outpost. I did that, and as soon as I lifted off, the wingman started screeching “We need your help defending the base! We need your help defending the base! We need your help defending the base!” just over and over, even though I lifted off and immediately sped towards the base at full speed. It was like the old Simpsons skit where Bart and Lisa are in the backseat of the car going “Are we there yet?” and Homer says “No” and they said “Are we there yet?” and he says “No,” on and on, looping until your head wants to explode.

Heh, maybe I just need to turn off the voices!! I actually don’t know what would happen if I just ignored them; they were so annoying that I would’ve done anything to shut them up.

Offline mode gets the DC Thumbs Down.

Gotta try the online play next…