Our copy of LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars for the XBOX 360 arrived today, and of course Jake ripped it open the moment he walked in the door from school. We played for about two hours tonight altogether. What I’ve noticed so far is that it is kind of a hybrid between the original Lego Star Wars saga and the newer Lego games like Indiana Jones 2. The “hub” is more like the Cantina in the first set of games, except it’s a space ship. You’ll still be looking for canisters similar to the original games, and of course you’ll want to find those power bricks to unlock the extras. But rather than going through doors to reach each mission in a precise order, you’ll unlock different systems and be able to play the game in a slightly less linear fashion. Now, I should admit right now that while I’m fairly well-versed on the original Star Wars movies and at least up to date on the newerones, I’m lost when it comes to Clone Wars. Jake knows far more about it than I do. I’ll probably buy him an encyclopedia and use that to catch up. So while I could at least kind of predict what we were going to do in the first set of games, I’m totally oblivious this time around. That put me at a major disadvantage when the game started in the middle of some battle arena.

Unlike the older Lego games, the newer ones have added a lot more functions for the buttons, and each function depends on which character you’re using. When it flashed “press B button” and then tells me to switch to a Jedi, then to Padme, and back, I shouted at the screen “whatever happened to the freaking tutorial?!?” Once we figured out what the heck we were supposed to do, the battle was over in seconds. The next level we tried took forever, so I can tell already that this game is going to take months. Again, during this battle, the game did not feel the need to tell me how to aim the items I was lifting with my force. It was a split screen, and Jake had already beaten his boss. After about five minutes, my five year old son heaved a heavy sigh and said “Mom, just give me the controller.” Let me once again reiterate, for those who haven’t read my past video games reviews, I love gaming! I used to be awesome. How did my kid get better than me after less than two years of playing???

The split-screen feature sucks this time around, at least for the second player. I keep losing my character. The screen doesn’t center on him at all, he goes off the edge and I have to wait a minute to find him again. Also, I dropped out at one point during a flying scene, and the game would not let me join back in. So it does seem like there were a few glitches they neglected to work out. Still, overall, Jake and I will enjoy this game for months to come. While he’ll never grow sick of it (he still plays the original, as well as the regular Clone Wars game on a weekly basis), I’ll grow bored of it just in time for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. The graphics are gorgeous, and of course the silly Lego game humor permeates every scene before and after the level. Yoda is my favorite though, look how cute he is!