Back in the Christmas season of 2003, Microsoft decided to do the pack-in thing
again like they did in 2002, by giving new Xbox owners Tetris Worlds and Star
Wars: The Clone Wars on one disc. As I've said in the Tetris Worlds review, this
was a much weaker package than the Sega GT 2002 / Jet Set Radio Future pack that
was offered in 2002. I can understand Microsoft's intentions on providing games
for people to play over Xbox Live, but these two games offered are probably the weakest
games to give people as their first game. As you've read in the Tetris Worlds review,
that game was sub-par. Does Star Wars follow the same course? Let's find out.
Clone Wars is pretty much a port of the Gamecube and PlayStation 2 version released
almost one year prior to this version, only now you can play online in the Xbox
build. I kind of wonder why Lucas Arts even decided to port this one to the Xbox,
and even go the extra mile to slap on online support. It's not a very big or lengthy
game for a single player experience, and the multiplayer modes would almost mimic
vehicular combat games of the past. The graphics also seemed to not have changed
that much, either. Sure, there's some bump mapping thrown in on the terrain on
some stages, but the textures still seem a bit blurry, the color scheme is off
in some stages, almost as if there is no lighting, and the framerate is not locked
down. You would think that some of the simpler things such as the framerate would
be fixed, but the developers seemed more intent on giving players an online mode.
The gameplay itself seems rather simplistic in most cases, but suddenly throws
a curve-ball in gameplay that kind of disrupts the flow of the design. Most stages
will play something like a vehicular combat game, except you really just fight off
hoardes of oncoming enemies than an identifiable character. Some stages will call for
you to defend an armada or a caravan of commrades, or clear all enemies out of an area
so a ship can land. But a couple of stages break up the driving action with on-foot
action, which really doesn't match the game design as a whole. It almost seemed like
a last minute addition to the game, or the designers felt that there should have
been some Grand Theft Auto influence thrown in. Whatever the reason, it really doesn't
work. There are some times where you will have to fly around, but that seems more
relevant than an on-foot portion.
It doesn't take long to finish the game through the single player campaign. There's
16 or so stages, which could be completed in five hours or so, maybe longer if you
go for a tougher difficulty level setting. There's some secrets to unlock, but that
pretty much goes towards the multiplayer modes. Depending on how much you like playing this
game, there are some multiplayer modes to get into, as well as online play. But it
really doesn't make the game better.
Microsoft really missed the mark on the 2003 holiday game package they offered.
It seems like they pulled out the cheapest games that had online support to throw
in a package and make it seem like something special. As for Star Wars Clone Wars
itself, it's an average adaptation to a boring movie. There's more action, but that's
about it. I don't mind the fact that this seems like a vehciular combat game, but
the design should have been more consistent and offer more types of enemies to fight against.
This game really doesn't take much advantage of the Xbox in terms of it's hardware,
but it does offer Live support. It's not a terrible game to go online with, but there's
better action titles that are online enabled for the system.