Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Hands-on impressions
Sony Online Entertainment, the team behind Star Wars Galaxies, have released another Star Wars MMO; this time, marketed towards the teen audiences with Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. With the massive success that came from Free Realms and the millions of people that supported the title, SOE decided to take the concept and implement the Clone Wars setting.
This move comes as no surprise due to the success of The Clone Wars as a television show on Cartoon Network, especially since it's directly aimed at younger audiences. Clone Wars Adventures shares the same visuals that fans across the country have come to know and love, so it feel like a safe haven for supporters of the television show.
For selectable races, the title includes: a human Jedi, clone trooper or Twi'lek. More might be available at a later date, but for now, the options aren't extravagant. The in-game store lets anyone customize their armor or equipment, even though it is all purely cosmetic. Ever wanted an AT-AT as an adorable pet? The appropriately named SP-OT can be yours to follow you around, no feeding required.
The structure of Clone Wars Adventures is quite different from other MMO's on the market. Rather than presenting the player with a big, open world, it rather relies on a central hub. That hub then connects the player to varying areas with different shops, mini-games, and famous characters from the movies and television show to interact with.
Mini-games are the big focus in Adventures. Much of your time will be playing and mastering each game. The game has 19 mini-games in total, with 13 of them being free-to-play, while the other 6 require a paid membership to access. Each game also has difficulty settings, and the higher difficulty requires membership on the free games as well.
The games include: Blaster Training, Speeder Bike Racing, Lightsaber Duels, Starfighters and more. Each one has a different play style, and the varied games are all enjoyable. The Starfighter game is an on-rails shooter, guiding you through a massive space battle, much like the beginning of Episode 3. Stunt Gungan lets you launch everyone's "favorite" Gungan across a field, attempting to obtain the longest distance (think Kitten Launcher, except with Jar-Jar). Watching the Gungan landing face down in a big pile of Bantha Poo-doo is satisfying.
Though it is a shame I won't be able to explore Tatooine or walk on the moon of Endor, the game is trying to appeal to the younger crowd, and doesn't bog down the gameplay with difficult controls and mechanics.
Each player also has a house that can be decorated with items bought from the in-game store. A second room houses the players trophy collection, where all trophies earned from mini-games can be showcased, much like Achievements on Xbox Live or Trophies on PSN. They add a sense of accomplishment and each trophy makes up a piece of diorama. Having all these trophies and not being able to show them off would be a wasted opportunity, so it's a good thing other players can come visit your trophy room and gaze upon your conquests.
While not a true MMO, the kid-friendly environment will ensure that parents can rest easy knowing their Youngling is safe to duel with Obi-Wan, blast droids with Commander Cody, and shoot Jar-Jar halfway across the field into a pile of poop. It might not be the appetizer that fans waiting for the main course that is the Old Republic have been hoping for, but is definitely a fun enough diversion for any Star Wars fan.