Unfortunately, while these new mass-battles certainly look impressive, with bricks bouncing everywhere, they aren’t actually all that fun to play through. In fact, they quickly become very frustrating – mainly because there’s a heavy focus on vehicle combat. The action is also incredibly twitchy, which introduces a sudden change of pace and difficulty for a series that’s meant to be targeted at a wide age range.
On the plus side, several of these huge brawls pitch your own clone troopers against large numbers of separatist droids in arenas that are strongly reminiscent of the excellent Star Wars: Battlefront. Ahh – good times.
Rather than these new big war scenes, it’s the enlarged boss battles that become the main highlight of the game. There’s a huge amount of imagination and work that’s gone into each one, with a multi-staged siege against a huge, robotic walker being a particular stand-out. One scene, which had us force-flinging debris at the metal beast while balancing precariously on a plummeting platform, had us on the edge of our seats!
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Unfortunately, the extra scope of the boss battles and the combination of new features and engine improvements do mean that Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars has a noticeable step-up in difficulty compared to the rest of the series. Even the tutorial sequence has a huge number of droids attacking you at once. While it's incredibly satisfying to wade through them all, slicing them into tiny bricks or flinging them into the middle distance with the force, it can be a strain on the thumbs.
The design of some characters also enters into the difficulty problem too, we found. Each of the mini-figs that you get to play as in Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is slightly different, be it the colour of their lightsabre or the special abilities they can access. We spotted quite a few characters whose design actually hindered their abilities, though, such as when it came to attack-speed or reach. It’s constantly annoying to not be able to use your favourite characters purely because they attack so much slower than other Jedi characters.
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Not that dying costs you too much in the Lego universe, mind. It’s just annoying when it happens every other five seconds.
That said, while Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars does suffer from some slight niggles due to the new additions, it’s still very similar to previous games in the series. If you’ve already played a Lego game before, you’ll know if you’ll enjoy this or not. All the staples of the series are back, including the drop-in drop-out co-operative play, and it’s these which define the title more than the new features.
If you’ve not played a Lego Star Wars game before, however, it’s worth approaching with caution. It’s not that this is a bad game in any real way; merely that it’s not much better either. The older games are just as good and likely to be cheaper too.