Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review for PlayStation 2 (PS2)

Success Leads to Greed. Greed Leads to Shovelware.

Taking a fine-tooth comb to the Star Wars franchise, LucasArts once again emerges with a new tale from The Clone Wars. Republic Heroes is an action-adventure based on the popular animated series for kids, and it’s also proof positive that even the great power of The Force can eventually begin to wane.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes screenshot

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes will have players take on the role of various Jedi, including, of course, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. In addition to wielding a lightsaber and commanding The Force, you’ll also play missions as one the myriad clones of the empire. The story isn’t hard to follow, since it all boils down to a simple division of factions. The Separatists are the bad guys, you need to destroy something in order to allow your troops to move forward, and The Force is, presumably, with you.

Republic Heroes plays with a mission-based progression, though there’s no hub. You simply play a level, switch up characters, and move on to the next mission. The levels are fairly bite-sized, making it an easy game to pick up and play (and just as easily put down), and you can play through the entire adventure cooperatively with a friend or family member.

The heavy focus in Republic Heroes is on playing as a Jedi, which is unfortunate, really. Jedi characters wield a light saber and can take limited control of The Force, but missions are usually bogged down by glitches, poor design, and an utter lack of creativity.

Jedi can jump and double jump, use The Force, and throw their lightsaber short distances. When the controls work, the action feels fine. However, there are so many moments throughout this game where your character simply will not respond to your command inputs. For instance, the very first boss in the game requires you to hammer the Force button in order to hold down the leg of your enemy, but often your character will bring their lightsaber to bear instead.

Combat is mildly amusing in short stints, though it’s completely button-mashy. You can double jump onto some enemies and gain control over them and their abilities, but it’s mostly a pointless affair, since it’s such an unwieldy mechanic with very little payoff.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes screenshot

You’ll be required to use The Force to trigger various elements within levels, but here, too, the mechanic is very hard to master. Character movement is clumsy, making it difficult to aim your Force power properly. Navigating environments isn’t much better, with poor collision detection and 3D perspectives that will often force you to repeat the same jumps over and over. The level design is haphazard, and the objectives are contrived errands that corral players along dull corridors. Some of the environments look interesting, but the platforming is either too forgiving or a complete mess.

Playing from the clone perspective is actually the more entertaining of the two mission types, though it does present its own issues. Levels are straightforward, consisting of little more than shooting a bunch of drones, blowing something up, and moving on to the next checkpoint. Controls feel good, however, and the formula works with a greater level of consistency than the Jedi missions.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes screenshot

Had LucasArts completely stripped out the Jedi missions, put the camera behind the back of your clone, and discarded all the extraneous gimmicks, Republic Heroes could probably be a pretty darn fun game – Battlefront, anyone? In the end, however, young Star Wars fans are getting the shaft. The gameplay is completely derivative, sometimes broken, and usually dull.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes screenshot

Adding insult to injury, the presentation is a slapped-together collection of cheap set pieces and level design. The Clone Wars should be a great candidate to make a strong visual impression on either the Wii or PS2, since it’s based on a cartoony take on the Star Wars universe. Instead, character models are ugly and low res, and they animate laboriously under a constantly chugging framerate. Environments do a decent job of conveying the Star Wars feel, but bland texture work makes for a mere cookie-cutter presentation.

The music fares okay, but it feels somewhat lifeless up against the experience fans are used to when sitting down to watch one of Lucas’ epic masterpieces. There are a few themes that come off as fresh, though, and the fidelity is decent enough. The voice work is competent, but if you weren’t sick of hearing Obi Wan yell the name “Cody” before, you will be after playing through this unoriginal and uninspiring addition to the Star Wars canon.

For some of us, Star Wars never grows old, in spite of the constant barrage of media and merchandise the Lucas empire has been throwing at fans for almost 30 years. But I sense a disturbance in The Force. The padiwans are getting one poorly conceived adventure after another, and at this point, it’s really hard to convince anyone that LucasArts isn’t merely going through the motions each time they set out to make another new game. Republic Heroes for Wii shouldn’t be scrapped altogether, though. The clone missions have some promising elements that could likely be fine-tuned into something really entertaining. Until that time, however, fans of Star Wars should probably stick with playing one of the LEGO games.

The visuals get the job done in terms of offering a Star Wars presentation, but the framerate is consistently choppy and character models are poorly rendered. 2.5 Control
Whacking drones with your lightsaber is good fun in short bouts, but the platforming is a mess and controls are generally unresponsive. There’s a spark, though, to playing as one of the clones, but it needs a bit of fine-tuning. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundtrack sits fine alongside the overall presentation, though it does little to stand out. The voice work might prove entertaining for new Star Wars fans, yet it will likely grate the nerves of most other players. 2.5 Play Value
The obligatory checklist of unlockables is present here, but it’s not enough to really sweeten the pot. The gameplay feels like it was phoned in to the programmers by the creative team, and the overall execution is really sloppy. 2.5 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Experience an all-new and exciting Clone Wars storyline that bridges the gap between season one and two of the TV series as you learn more about the mysterious bounty hunter Cad Bane and hunt down the all-new Skakoan super villain Kul Teska.
  • Play as your favorite Jedi heroes including Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Mace Windu, and Kit Fisto.
  • Slice and dice your way through Separatist droids with your lightsaber and Force powers and use your agility to perform amazing leaps and navigate levels filled with interactivity.

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