A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a fighting game involving lightsabers, throwing of objects, and using the Star Wars "Force." But there is no blood. Your kids will be constantly flailing around with the Wii remote during play. Make sure to remind them to use the strap. While there's a lot of story here, some kids may be frustrated when they try to pull off more complex moves during fighting because they can be tricky. This is a game based on the Star Wars Clone Wars animated TV show.
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What's it about?
Does anyone still care about Star Wars? Yes. Since there aren't any more live action movies, the new animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, first launched as an animated movie and now continuing as a cartoon on the Cartoon Network, is creating the buzz. Fans of this new series can play a video game set in its universe in STAR WARS THE CLONE WARS: LIGHTSABER DUELS. On the surface, the game makes perfect sense. In various scenarios, you'll relive some of the more fireworks-fulled moments of the animated movie and TV series as various Jedi, all the time using the Wii remote as the fabled lightsaber. In the single player campaign, the tale centers upon a new secret weapon in Separatist territories and you're on the front lines of colorful battles against Droids.
Before you play, you'll attach the nunchuk to the Wiimote and go through a helpful tutorial. Miss something? You can press "1" to start that section again. LucasArts has made the various powers of the lightsaber surprisingly robust, including the always-fun Force Throw, which allows you to lift objects and toss them at enemies. The Wiimote can be moved in four directions to create various vertical and horizontal hits and if you shake it in the correct order, you'll pull off some special moves. You can also perform these moves by using the D-pad. You will use the "B" button to block.
Is it any good?
All of this sounds great. And there are some nice touches like creepy laughter from enemies coming through your Wii remote. But in the single player campaign, the fighting stages are vast. So there's a lot of running around, trying to get in position to attack your foe. Plus, the intelligence of some of the creatures could be better. If you get them in a corner, you can pretty much have your way with them unless you're in Grand Master expert mode. Also, the video cutscenes, full of British-accented narration, go on too long. These scenes are also interspersed a few times when you fight your foe. While wondrous to look at, they slow down your fighting action appreciably. It's kind of a buzz kill.
The multiplayer action is limited to adding one other player to create a duel. Kids will need to remember to wrap that Wii remote strap around their wrists because there'll be a lot of willy-nilly flailing (even though the tutorial discourages this kind of hack-and-slash). Otherwise, you might have the Wii remote flying into someone's head or into your fancy TV screen. Perhaps kids will learn to pull of the more intricate moves quickly. But they may find that they are simply being battered by thier opponent if it takes them too long to pull off a more complex move. Using the WIimote is never an exact science, however. Using the D-pad is far more precise. Sadly, there's no online play for this game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their favorite Star Wars characters. Which character would you be in real life? What is your favorite use for the lightsaber? Do you like using the Force best? Does playing this game make you want to watch the TV show on which it is based? How about the movies?
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