What We Already Know:
It’s Lego Star Wars, so you know the drill. Traipse around locales from your favorite Midichlorian-rich films and kick lego-ized stormtrooper butt with ultra-cute versions of beloved (and sometimes, less beloved) characters. Smash blocks, collect “bits,” construct bridges, and generally revel in blocky geekdom. You can expect much the same from the cartoon-inspired Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, though it’s not without its innovations.
What We're Seeing Now:
Our E3 demo was strictly hands-off and featured a fairly early version of the game. As per usual, LucasArts and Traveller’s Tales seem to be taking an incremental approach to building on the previous games, with various new ideas and little details scattered throughout. Yoda, for example, now has acrobatic new attack animations drawn directly from his fights in Episode II and III, and can throw his saber to take out several enemies at once. Takeaway: You don’t want to mess with Yoda.
A larger scale is also evident, with more expansive vistas forming the backdrop for busier battles. Though we didn’t see any examples of the latter, the devs claim that certain combat sequences will feature 10 times the characters of previous games, hopefully making for crazier, more dynamic-feeling melees.
The larger scale really seems to come into its own in the space battles. One level has you flying as Anakin in an assault on Grievous and Dooku’s massive flagship, which is so big you’ll have to fly up and down between several tiers to take it apart piece by piece. Early on in the battle you can fly to the middle tier and maneuver onto a landing pad. The camera smoothly zooms in as Anakin exits his craft and runs to sabotage a nearby missile battery, then zooms back out as he blasts off just before the explosion. A bit later the heroes managed to blow off an entire side of the flagship, with appropriately epic, chunky debris.
Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Lego Star Wars game, with a little nip here and a nifty tuck there. If you liked the rest then you’ll probably enjoy the latest, but The Clone Wars looks unlikely to convert the Wookiee-hating skeptics.