Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes ReviewBy Paul Semel - Posted Oct 07, 2009
A third-person action game, Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes is based on the CGI 'toon that just started its second season on Cartoon Network, with the same great voice cast and recognizable sound effects. But unlike the show, which is clearly designed to be for Star Wars fans of all ages, this game is clearly aimed more at its younger viewers, despite the T-rating.
- Is faithful to the show.
- Fun co-op.
- Paul Jr. will love it.
- Is too easy for older gamers.
- And too shallow.
- Clearly, The Force isn't with the camera.
A third-person action game, Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes is based on the CGI 'toon that just started its second season on Cartoon Network, with the same great voice cast and recognizable sound effects. But unlike the show, which is clearly designed to be for Star Wars fans of all ages, this game is clearly aimed more at its younger viewers, despite the T-rating. If you saw The Empire Strikes Back in theaters, own only three Star Wars DVDs, or pre-ordered The Old Republic, this is not the Star Wars game you're looking for.
But if your DVR is set to record The Clone Wars this Friday at 8:30PM (7:30 central) so you, you and your kid, or you and your dad can watch the show, then this is the game for you.
Defenders Of Peace
At its core, Republic Heroes is pretty typical. When you play a Jedi, it's a hack & slash action game with tons of platforming and the power of The Force, while Clone Troopers shoot up the place with Robotron-ish controls that have you moving with one thumbstick and aiming with the second.
And that's basically it. With the exception of jumping and then slashing, there aren't any combos, or any other real depth.
That's not to say you haven't learned any new Jedi tricks. You can now, by jumping onto their shoulders and ramming your lightsaber into their heads, take over a Super Battle Droid or other “clanker,” turning their guns against them. Similarly, you can jump onto a Single Trooper Aerial Platform, the flying things the B1 Battle Droids drive, and, uh, STAP-jack it.
Clone Troopers can also toss grenades, occasionally use jetpacks, hack panels with a simple minigame, and even knock droids upside the head with a melee attack, though there really is no substitute for a good blaster at your side. They can even also use the left trigger to get down on one knee and finally propose to their girlfriends. I mean really, what are you waiting for, guys? Oh, and to squat behind cover.
Breaking up the never ending parade of battles are some optional timed-challenge moments where you compete against your partner to see who can do things like destroy the most droids while only using other droids you've jacked.
As is par for these kinds of games, there are collectibles, your performance at the end of each mission is ranked, you earn point multipliers for killing sprees, and said points can be redeemed for combat upgrades, masks and hats (some of which are kind of funny), and - no foolin' - “Droid Dances.” You haven't lived until you've seen a droid get down with its bad self.
Throughout the game, you'll have a constant companion, be it a fellow Clone Trooper or your faithful Padawan. And you're more than welcome to play the game solo; especially since your companion's A.I., while not brilliant, isn't a total idiot. Usually. But the game also features drop-in/drop-out co-op (though, sadly, offline only), and is a lot more fun when you play with a pal, preferably one who is obsessed with Star Wars and video games, but isn't old enough to realize Jar Jar was a complete tool. But hey, he's your dad, so cut him so slack, okay?
The Hidden Enemy
The problem with being so simplistic, though, is that it makes this game - unlike the cartoon on which it's based - decidedly more for kids. And small ones, at that. Take, for example, your Force powers. For the most part, you can use Force Push during combat, though there are times when it can be used to perform contextual tricks, like activating switches. But, again, that's basically it. Unlike most Star Wars games, you don't have a variety of Jedi tricks at your disposal.
There's also no penalty for dying. Not only is there a generous regenerating health system, but thanks to an equally liberal amount of checkpoints, reincarnation usually pops you right back where you were, joining the battle already in progress. Which seriously curtains any challenge this game might've had.
The stationary camera also doesn't do you any favors (though really, when does it ever?). As a result, there are times when the perspective makes certain jumps unnecessarily tricky, and other when, while fighting in a large area, your character will be so small that it'll be hard to tell which one is you and which is the droid you've been looking for.
However, if you are a kid - one equally into Star Wars and video games - this game kicks ass. But don't take my word for it; let’s ask an actual Star Wars-loving, video game-playing six-year-old his opinion of the game: “I think I love it.”
Star Wiirs: The Clone Wiirs: Republic…uh…ah forget it.
Given that the game skews decidedly younger than the 'toon, we decided to pop in the Wii version for a couple hours - though not, we must admit, to completion - to see how it compares.
For the most part, the 360 and Wii versions are comparable: same voice acting, same sound effects, same plot points, etc. Of course, the graphics and sound aren't as crisp on the Wii, though because of the characters' stylized designs, the difference is fairly negligible.
What's odd is that the controls aren't all that different either. You use the Nunchuck's thumbstick to move, and most actions are assigned to the buttons. Including, oddly, swinging your Lightsaber. While there are occasional moves that require a little wiggle motion - such as pointing the Wiimote to aim when you're a Clone - a 'saber slash isn't one of them.
Children Of The Force
Okay, yeah, so it ain't great, especially if you're old enough to get into Chalmun's Cantina on Tattoine (they have a great jazz band). The Jedi parts don't come close to what we got from Jedi Knight or The Force Unleashed, while the Trooper levels pale when compared to Republic Commando and Dark Forces. But if you're a youngling, or have a youngling to play it with you, Republic Heroes can be a lot of fun. Well, until next Friday at 8:30PM (7:30 central) rolls around.