Star Wars: The Clone Wars Preview
Probably one of the biggest names in American entertainment, no system is complete without a massive lineup of Star Wars games. Out of the two which are currently in development, Clone Wars takes gamers on a Star Wars saga where players will utilize both RTS and action elements.
Taking start where Episode II left off, Clone Wars takes players on an interesting quest, which is divided into 16 separate missions and sectioned off into six planetary systems. Throughout the levels, according to the setting, you'll take the role of one of three protagonists -- Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. You'd think that you'd take role of the various players in different situations for a sole reason, but in actuality, it's just mainly for story telling purposes, as all three boast the same moves and attacks.
The score of missions are all impressively diverse and include the usual type goal you'd expect from a Star Wars title, such as seeking and destroying, protecting ally bases, escorting associate forces, and infiltrating enemy bases. Furthermore, each level includes multiple missions, as to add some longevity to the single-player mode.
While you'll enter many missions in the given levels, there will also be times where you're not currently involved in an objective, in which case you can exit whichever vehicle you're in and explore the terrain on foot. Here, you can use a number of on-foot maneuvers in order to dispatch surrounding foes. Believe it or not though, your vulnerability to attacks on-foot is increased to a great extent.
Clone Wars is set up as a vehicle shooter, and controlling the different vehicles is both effortless and comfortable. Your attack buttons are situated to the face buttons, and each ship has a primary and secondary attack, chock-full of lasers and missiles. The different vehicles all move accordingly, as well, so manning a tank and then a ship feel and respond totally different. The game also allows you to make the camera pan into a first-person view so that you can aim more efficiently.
Once the single-player fun dies down some, or even if it doesn't, Pandemic Studios has created a very enticing multiplayer section, featuring numerous ways to play against and with friends. One of which is entitled Jedi Academy where you and your friends vie to finish a given goal in the least amount of time; Death Match lets players duke it out for an allotted time and whoever accumulates the most kills in that time wins. King of the Hill gives players control over a sectioned-part of the map, and you and you friends have to try and take over other people's territory; Lastly is Conquest, wherein you'll be assigned to one of the two bases -- red or blue -- and your goal is to completely demolish the oppressor's base. Indeed, this one can get very interesting, especially since it integrates elements from real-time strategy games.
Graphically, Star Wars: The Clone Wars impresses delightfully, replete with lighting as well as other visual quirks. What compliments the lighting effects so much are the sullied environments that are somewhat illuminated as lasers and flair-like objects are fired. Pandemic Studios has also done a stellar job with the smoke effects, and the game runs on a steadily-moving rate, too.
Keep a lookout for Star Wars: The Clone Wars around Thanksgiving time. With the well-thought-out single-player mode and the solidly-designed multiplayer modes, we're looking at a game that Star Wars fans will most likely love.
7/29/2002 Joseph Comunale