A War for Kids? A Look at the Clone Wars for Parents
As any fan of Star Wars, you might want to introduce your kid to the vision that some guy named Lucas had. With the popularity of the Lego Star Wars games, does the Clone Wars have what it takes to continue the tradition? Is it kid friendly?
The Clone Wars
In a galaxy far far away, a devastating war took place that would change the course of all those involved. Star Wars fans first heard the tale from Obi Wan Kenobi in Episode IV: A New Hope when he was describing what happened to a promising Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. Fast forward, nearly thirty years later, and the first animated series detailing the Clone Wars appeared on Cartoon Network, giving fans their first look at what happened between the prequels of Episode II and Episode III.
The success of the Star Wars franchise has, of course, given fans reasons to buy up the movies, TV shows, and video games, but what about parents who aren't familiar with the Star Wars universe? Crazy as it seems, these parents don't know or haven't heard about the conflicts between the Empire and the Rebel forces and when comes time to give their kids the game, many aren't sure what it will do.
Here, we'll take a look at Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, which is the last in the Lego Star Wars games, and examine what parents need to know about it, and how they can decide if it's the right pick for their children.
What Parents Should Know About Star Wars
The Star Wars universe is huge and someone who hasn't seen or heard about the original trilogy (where have you been,) may be confused when their kid insists on playing something about a war between clones. The storyline of the Clone Wars follows the 2008 CGI show that aired on Cartoon Network, which followed the exploits of Jedi master Obi Wan Kenobi, his apprentice and friend Anakin Skywalker, and Anakin's own padawan, Ahsoka.
The overall show (and game) follows the Clone Wars; a war that begins when several planets within the Galactic Republic start to succeed and then ends with the purge of all Jedi until the start of Episode IV and V (in which we learn that Jedi masters Obi Wan and Yoda survived). While some of the events of the war are mentioned in the prequel movies of Episodes II and III, the war itself isn't shown until the TV show and video game.
As a parent, you might think that letting a child play in what amounts to a couple of war missions just adds to the problems of violence, right? Well that's where you're wrong.
LEGO Star Wars Gameplay
Gameplay in the Lego Star Wars is definitely kid friendly with characters rendered in the familiar Lego likeness that we all loved as kids. Players usually start as a predetermined set of characters, usually two, with the player being able to switch between them. Each character has a special ability that allows them entrance in certain areas. For instance, droids like R2-D2 and C3PO can unlock passageways to electrical areas, while bounty hunters like Jango or Boba Fett can find hidden objects.
The beginning of the Clone Wars game actually starts during the events from Episode II: Attack of the Clones, as Obi Wan Kenobi finds himself the captive of the evil Count Dooku. It's up to Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Queen Padme Amadala to rescue him.
Game instructions will appear that correspond to the gaming console used to help players get a feel of how the controls work; different consoles will have different motions. The Nintendo Wii, for instance, gives a unique ability of allowing players to use the Wii remote as a lightsaber for duels and other fights.
As players go through the storyline, they not only unlock further parts in the storyline but other characters and locations. In free mode, players can go back through any of the unlocked storylines in order to replay them with different characters (thus unlocking those areas that they couldn't before), as well as picking up all of the hidden items such as gold blocks.
Good For My Kid?
With both the popularity of LEGOs and that of Star Wars, as a parent you're still asking, is this the right game for my kid? The answer, of course, depends on your child. If they're a fan of LEGOs or Star Wars, then yes; especially if they already own the first two games in the trilogy. Fans will obviously get different references or characters; however, new players to the series and universe will still understand the story, thanks to the famous opening crawler.
Console play of ease will also depend on how well your child is on it. The Wii is probably the easiest to master thanks to Nintendo's family friendliness; however, you will need to make sure that the strap is secured on your child's wrist. For Playstation or XBOX 360 owners, the game is still easy even for button mashers. The game is for kids 10 and up because of the cartoon violence and humor, but younger kids (like those seven or up) can also enjoy it.
Moreover, parents will get a kick out of it too. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars is available in stores now.