|System: PC, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS|
|Dev: Traveller's Tales|
|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A||Cartoon Violence, and Comic Mischief|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars on the 3DS is the best example of how much things stay the same the more they change. Sure, the 3DS presents developers with an opportunity to expand their gameplay, but what will probably end up happening with massively multiplayer games is a truncated handheld experience will be created, slapped with some shiny 3D, and then sent to print. Though I expect this type of porting to become more common in the future, we can see the beginning of the end in LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars. The 3DS version of the game is most certainly inferior to the console versions of the game, and despite some cute 3D moments, if you want to experience The Clone Wars in all its glory, don't use the 3DS to do so.
The console versions of LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars present players with a deep world to explore, plenty of puzzles, and memorable boss fights. In the 3DS version you get linear side-scrolling and a lot of switch pulling. Though you can use the force to build things, it is rarely needed to do anything more than build a bridge or operate a broken-down machine. The format of the game in the 3DS version is so simplistic that most players will be able to run through it in just a handful of hours. And while the console versions encourage exploration, the 3DS version encourages going in a straight line. Even the unlockables are in plain sight. I know the LEGO series is meant to be for everyone, but the lack of any kind of difficulty here just seems out of place in a series that has been quite challenging in the past.
But if you don't mind the incredibly easy gameplay and truncation of the Star Wars universe in the 3DS version of the game, there is one other element that may trouble those who want to pick this game up, and this problem is not just limited to the 3DS: the story. One of the big reasons why LEGO Star Wars worked so well is that it took familiar story elements and poked fun at them. There was no real plot, but in the Star Wars series (as well as other LEGO-ized franchises), it worked well because we were all familiar with the source material.
Though the development team took the same approach with LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, the effect isn't as streamlined. Events just sort of "happen," and if you aren't a devout follower of The Clone Wars TV show, you probably won't get most of the jokes. The game doesn't make much of an effort to explain anything that goes on in the game, and if your interest in LEGO Star Wars III comes purely from affection for the old LEGO Star Wars series, you may be disappointed at how the events of The Clone Wars TV series are portrayed. There's almost no nods to the original or prequel movie series in the game, and even though I have watched most of The Clone Wars series (I won't claim to be an expert, but I'll watch it when it's on) a lot of the content in the game left me scratching my head. Because The Clone Wars is a lot less mainstream than the Star Wars movies, I expected some kind of content there to help those who didn't closely follow the series. But unfortunately, none was included.