jedi academy: i am not a jedi

I rented a pile of games today, including Star Wars: Clone Wars for GCN. I’ve been letting the list of “games I want to play but not buy” get longer and longer, and it’s time to get some names off the list.

I’m not a big Star Wars fan – either of the movies /or/ the games. The old movies are great, but everything since, say, Empire Strikes Back has been a little… meh. Still, I got Rogue Leader with my GCN and I was pretty impressed with the graphics, so I thought I’d give all the new SW games a try.

The graphics in SWCW are even better. Textures have more texture, lines are smoother, and things just look better. There’s a lot of haze and smoke in the first few missions, and it looks good. I saw one or two framerate drops, but nothing that annoyed me. The sound is fine. It looks and sounds good, but not so much that I need to say much else. While I would’ve wet myself for the game in ‘97, in 2003 it’s nothing fantastic.

The basic plot is as follows: there are Clone Wars going on, and you need to, like, fight in them. You shoot things, rescue people, defend things, fly around, and do other stuff. I’ve been in a hover tank, a speeder, a starfighter, a troop transport, and on foor. They all have different, but similar, controls.

At first, I thought the controls were pretty good. They felt easy to use, but unlike a normal game. That’s good: I’m piloting a freaking hovertank, it /should/ feel weird. It seemed pretty clear that figuring out just how the tank handled and how the controls could be exploited would be the key to success. Unfortunately, once I got into every other scenario, the controls were pretty vanilla. I guess they want to stay relatively consistant with the other SW games, but… I think my problem is that when you see the inside of these things, there are always about nine million buttons. Meanwhile, I can control them with a joystick and four buttons, or five if I want to change perspective.

I don’t feel like I’m Mace Windu. If the game is going to let me live vicariously through Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker, I want to feel like I’m really them, dammit. The on-foot missions are the weakest, so far. There are just too many enemies at too close a range to feel like I’m not button-mashing.

So far, I’ve been playing at Padawan, the easy setting. The missions were all cake-walks, which made it easy to see how things work. Next up, I’m going to try the normal difficulty and see I start to need a strategy.

Written on January 4, 2003
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