previews\ Jun 2, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes - PS2 - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

George Lucas took a big risk when he decided to make a Star Wars cartoon for kids. Aside from alienating most of the existing fans, he stunned the world when, contrary to the unparalleled effects of the Star Wars movies, the cartoon series used a much simpler (and, in a way, stiffer) animation style that looked awful compared the work of Pixar, Sony or DreamWorks.

Still, Star Wars: Clone Wars was a hit with the under-10 crowd. And just as bad games come from great movies and TV series, there are also times when bad films and/or TV (both in this case) inspire really fun games. That’s exactly the case for Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes, which is great news for kids – and even better news for all other Star Wars fans who were hoping for more Forceful action but were fearful of the Clone Wars name.

Featuring eight playable Jedi, Republic Heroes lets you control many fan favorites, including Obi-Wan, Mace Windu and Plo Koon. Each offers a host of Force powers and cool attack combos that allow them to pummel any and all incoming threats.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Republic Heroes Xbox 360 screenshots

That, however, is far from the best part. Jedi are smart, sophisticated, and have the ability to manipulate the minds of those who are weak. In this game, they also come with the ability to jack into every single droid they come in contact with – and take control of them!

With a droid under your control, you’ll be putting the enemy against the enemy. Their weapons become yours, so you won’t have to run in close to attack. Just stand back and fire away.

If that was the end of Republic Heroes, many Star Wars fans would be happy. It’s a complete package as is. But the developers wanted to go further and thus included another set of playable characters – eight Clone Trooper – that create an entirely different gameplay experience.

As a Clone Trooper, you attack not with a lightsaber but with guns and rocket launchers. The controls are different as well: similar to classic shooters like Smash TV, you’ll fire your weapons by pushing the right analog stick in any direction. The camera also looked a little different, though that probably had more to do with the levels (which were not the same as those shown with the Jedi) than anything else.

Visually, LucasArts was able to use some of the movie/TV series art within the game. But if you ask me, Republic Heroes looks better. The backgrounds are crisper and the characters are much more believable in video game form (where their animations are very fluid) than they were as choppy CG actors on TV.

Thus far, the sounds and music mirror those of the series, which is exactly what the developers wanted. They’re working hard to ensure that the aural and visual aspects of the experience don’t change just because this part of the Clone Wars series is interactive.

Last but not least, Republic Heroes offers drop-in, drop-out co-op that will make running through the game a blast.

Coming to a galaxy near you later this year, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes looks like it’s going to be a great, highly entertaining Star Wars game regardless of your show, movie or trilogy preferences.


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