E3 2010: Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Hands-On PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Jun 03, 2010
If you're reading this, chances are Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures wasn't designed for you. You might be a fan of the Clone Wars television series, but still, Clone Wars Adventures, an online collaboration between LucasArts and Sony Online Entertainment, wasn't created with you in mind. Clone Wars Adventures is targeting the younger market, the kids who are looking for something new to play online for free. But here's the best part: you're going to enjoy it, too.
Think of Clone Wars Adventures as MMO-lite. Sony Online Entertainment has developed a persistent online world themed after the Clone Wars show, but it's an experience without many of the traditional MMO tropes, including level grinding. Clone Wars Adventures is more about earning equipment and other vanity items by playing the different mini-games. You want to make your friends jealous with your sweet new lightsaber, not a level 57 lightning spell.
Sony Online Entertainment's pre-E3 demo of Clone Wars Adventures in Los Angeles was loaded with the obvious caveats for an unfinished game -- the game is early, many features still aren't in -- and punctuated with a keen reminder this is an online experience designed specifically for kids. That did little to stop myself and others watching the same demo from laughing up a storm while witnessing a Crazy Penguin-esque mini-game involving a bouncing Gungan trying to avoid piles of feces and Stormtroopers or simply picking out the subtle difference between two photos.
What made it all work? Star Wars. Without the Star Wars audio and visuals, without all of the nostalgia being tapped, Clone Wars Adventures would have more trouble moving the needle for anyone clearly outside the target demographic. But it has the advantage of leveraging those emotions to reel you in. Like LEGO Star Wars before it, Clone Wars Adventures is a simple concept aided by proper implementation of a beloved universe.
Most importantly, trying out the game doesn't cost a thing. You just point your web browser to the game's website and voila. CWA is based on the same successful business model driving Sony Online Entertainment's other younger-oriented MMO, Free Realms, which makes money by providing free content and hiding the rest behind a premium account.
It's Star Wars, man. What's the harm in loading up a web site?