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'Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures' is more arcade than cantina

"Star Wars: Clone War Adventures" seeks to create a universe, but merely achieves a fun video arcade.
"Star Wars: Clone War Adventures" seeks to create a universe, but merely achieves a fun video arcade.
  • "Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures" puts players in world of animated series
  • Arcade-style mini-games are fun but allow only single-player action
  • Interacting with Obi Wan and other characters starts fun but gets old

(CNN) -- "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." -- Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope"

While it isn't the cantina on Tatooine, "Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures" tries to put players inside a vast, virtual world. But it ends up feeling more like hanging out at a 1980s arcade than starting an exciting shootout in a dive bar.

Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts teamed up to bring the "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated series to life with a new free-to-play (most of the time) online setting.

The game will put fans of the cartoon into its animation to interact with all the main characters from the series.

The graphics, art and voices are all directly from the cartoon. The movements and animations look very much like what is seen on the TV series.

So if you ever wanted to chat with Anakin or Yoda, this is probably as close as you are going to get.

Players are tasked with becoming the next great hero of the Republic by completing mini-games and missions and generally trying to gain experience with every interaction.

A space station acts as the hub for all the activity and a place where gamers can gather to talk.

Most of the gameplay happens in arcade-like games that have players doing shootouts against enemy fliers, matching colored gems or solving puzzles.

Getting the highest score is the goal, but it's all one-player action, which means you'll have to wait to see how you did against other players later.

Games are controlled with the computer mouse, using it either to shoot or for steering. Some games will also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to help with the steering while the mouse is used for shooting.

This comes in particularly handy fighting battle droids in the Tower Defense game. The games aren't that difficult in the beginning levels but do get more challenging as players progress.

Some game levels are restricted to players who purchase a monthly "Jedi membership," and that's where the free-to-play aspect begins to crumble.

For $5.99 a month, players will have access to new game modes, levels of difficulty and extra items to personalize their characters.

While Station Cash (the term used for in-game credits) can be won with success in the mini-games, points can also be purchased through micro-transactions, which allow for a small amount of real money to be spent in exchange for game money.

Despite the mingling together of characters in the station, this is not a MMO game (massively multiplayer online game). This is a game designed for fans of the cartoon, who are mostly in the pre-teen age group.

As part of the game, "Clone Wars Adventures" will be updated after each TV episode to include new characters and scenarios as they play out in the cartoon.

Parents can also customize the safety options in game to protect younger players.

Interacting with Obi-Wan or Ahsoka will be cool the first few times but quickly loses its luster.

The items players can purchase in-game, like a droid pet or a new speeder, are only for show and have no impact other than visually.

The mini-games are fun, but without direct competition, they feel less than stellar despite their good looks and ease of play.

A lot can be done for no cost, but if you are the type of player who needs to get every accessory or finish every level, be prepared to pay to play.


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