|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Krome Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: LucasArts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
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 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 formula is pretty predictable: Play a couple of Jedi missions, switch over to the clone perspective, rinse and repeat. The heavy focus, therefore, is on playing as a Jedi - which is unfortunate, really - and controls are mapped mostly to button presses, with optional waggle for slashing with your lightsaber. When we say "optional," we mean it's always on. So, if you happen to jostle your Wii Remote when attempting to execute some other action, your Jedi will whip out their lightsaber and attack. It can and likely will create all sorts of problems for players throughout the duration of the game.
Jedi can also jump and double jump, use The Force (with the Z button), 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 Z-trigger in order to hold down the leg of your enemy with The Force, but pressing the Z button will often cause your character to bring their lightsaber to bear instead.
Combat is mildly amusing is 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. Waylaying hordes of enemies with your lightsaber is much more effective, and it's a guilty pleasure hearing the sounds of your saber emanating from the Wii Remote.
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.
Oddly enough, taking on the role of one of the clones is actually a fair amount of fun, though it, too, is not without its share of problems. Character movement is basically the same, but you'll be armed with a blaster, which you aim with the Wii Remote. You can take cover behind crates and such by gesturing downward with the Nunchuk - it doesn't feel great, but it gets the job done. Clones can also toss grenades by pinpointing an area with the Wii Remote and pressing the Z button.<
Aside from having to use the Nunchuk to take cover, the mechanics and controls for playing as a clone feel really good. Unfortunately, the camera is pulled back to an almost isometric view, yet aiming your weapon stays within a true 3D perspective. What happens when these two elements collide is that your gun will slope downward, and rather than shooting your enemy, oftentimes you'll end up shooting a crate or some other object obstructing your top-down view.