Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Lightsaber Duels

Publisher:

Lucas Arts

Genre:

Action

Micah Kolding

Nintendo Editor

Released:

11-11-2008

Developer:

Krome Studios

It can be tempting to buy a sword-fighting game for the Wii. Maybe you saw Star Wars: The Clone Wars-Lightsaber Duels for sale and thought to yourself, "Oh, delight and rapture!  Finally, the power of the Jedi's blade is to be commanded by my able, motion-detected hand! How long I have waited for this day!" I hope you rented it instead.

Lightsaber Duels puts you through the paces of Jedi battle training, a process wherein you will discover that not only is the Force not with you, but it seems to have a bit of a vendetta against you as well.  Indeed, while the tutorial offers you promises of powerful combos and counters to be earned if you carefully execute a proper combination of the disappointingly simplistic commands, the game's ability to recognize your movements falls short of being reliable. All too many battles will be reduced to swinging frantically at the screen, shouting obscenities at Count Dooku and wondering how you always end up with the characters who appear to be allergic to the Force..

The game follows the Clone Wars movie and some of the following TV series, feeding you some snippets of plot to justify the one-on-one battles that make up the story mode. This premise offers several unfortunate problems, one being the incredible shortage of characters to draw upon and another being the even greater shortage of likable characters. Obi-Wan will taunt his opponents with that smug rhetoric he does so well, Anakin and his forgettable little sidekick will use those incredibly stupid nicknames they made up for each other, and the famously horrible Star Wars style of dialogue will all around bombard our senses until we finally decide to field only the one fighter who can't talk.

Aside from the story mode there is also a series of challenges that can be used to unlock different costumes and such, in case you think that General Grievous is more of an autumn. You might expect to have a time limit imposed on your battle, or be required to execute so many blocks or combos, or knock your opponent off the stage. On a game with decent controls this would be an all-around amusing diversion, but as it is many of these challenges should be attempted only by the insane or those who aspire to be insane.

The multiplayer option is one of the more redeemable qualities of Lightsaber Duels. When your opponent is just as frustrated as you are it becomes easier to appreciate the Force powers that always fail so miserably against the computer. Blasting your opponent with the Force, hurling loose materials at him, it's almost enough to make you think you're playing The Force Unleashed again. This will last up until you realize that you could be playing The Force Unleashed, and that will be the end of that.

In short, Lightsaber Duels misses the mark. With insubstantial content and a mechanic too frustrating to master with anything short of a metachlorian transfusion, it takes its place as yet another embarrassment to the Star Wars universe.  Rent if you must, buy if you hate yourself, and keep those games spinning.

4 of 10

About the author:

Micah Kolding is a teacher, writer, and cartoonist from Davis, California. His sharp and satiric edge has appeared in the likes of The California Aggie and The Sacramento Book Review, as well as on stage.

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