Title: Star Wars The Clone Wars Republic Heroes
Developer: Lucas Arts Entertainment (Publisher)
Game Type: PlayStation Portable
Download: 1.0 GB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Currently Unavailable
PSTV Support: Yes
It is officially Star Wars week with May 4th as Star Wars Day, so all of you gamers should have spent this week, playing Star Wars games and watching Star Wars movies and TV shows. Be it playing Knights of the Old Republic on Steam or Mobile, watching Revenge of the Sith on your HDTV at home, or streaming Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Netflix, all of you should do something to celebrate Star Wars and anticipate the upcoming movie this December.
PS Vita fans are lucky enough to be able to do pretty much all of these. You can stream Clone Wars with the Netflix app. You can buy and download the digital movie collection from the PlayStation Network. You can also play a multitude of Star Wars games on the Vita, from LEGO Star Wars III to Star Wars Battlefront II.
Many of the Star Wars PSP games were not compatible with the Vita outside of a PS3 transfer. Thankfully, Sony has been kind enough to make many of these games available. This is the start of more PSP reviews as well as Star Wars reviews. Here is my official review of Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes!
The plot of Republic heroes takes place between Seasons 1 and 2 of the Clone Wars animated series. During their missions on liberating a ship as well as two planets, the Jedi and Republic Army discover a Sith plot made by Count Dooku. To avoid spoilers, I will not say what that plot pertains to. Anakin, Obi-Wan, Mace Windu, Ahsoka, Commander Cody, Aayla Secura, and others go to various planets to discover the plot and thwart it.
The story of Republic Heroes plays out very much like episodes of the series plays out. It’s not an epic tale like the movies, but it could definitely pass as a set of episodes from the show.
Republic Heroes is an action game with platform elements. Whether you’re playing through a stage as a Jedi or Clone Trooper, you’re going to me platforming your way through areas and attacking enemies to get to the next area as well as the next stage. With the way the game progresses, I would imagine the game like a LEGO title, but without the building mechanics and properly proportioned characters. The way they progress is similar.
The game plays out in stages, where you will have access to your character and an AI partner. This could be two Jedi Knights, two Clone Troopers, different types of Clone Troopers, or a different combination. In each stage, though, you will be going through an area with an AI partner with you to help you out. They will help you fight off enemies as well as solving various puzzles, like splicing into computer or opening up new paths for travel.
Progressing through the stage is a matter of wiping out enemies to open doors as well as solving minor puzzles. The puzzles will be as simple as walking up to a computer terminal and either spinning discs to match colors or splicing into it with a light-saber to disable it. The puzzles aren’t hard to figure out at all, especially when the puzzles are basically the same types of puzzles over and over for the entire game.
Repetition is also something to consider here. This is probably the easiest Star Wars game I have ever played. Aside from bosses, waves of enemies don’t pose much of a threat to you. The game will tell you different moves you can do to take down enemies, but really, you can just run up and button-mash your way through practically every group of enemies in the game. You won’t take damage quickly, but when you die, you’ll re-spawn at a check point and won’t have to re-do anything, which makes the game even easier. Bosses do have small strategies to them, but outside of that, there is virtually no sense of difficulty at all.
The way the repetition works is that you’re doing the same thing in every mission. Every mission you’re button-mashing through enemies. Every mission you’re jumping on enemies to control them to get past obstacles just like the obstacles you got past in the previous dozen missions. The game has a fair bit of length to it with 40 stages that will take you 6-8 hours to finish. However, after the first few hours, it’ll feel like you’re just doing the same thing as before and only there to see where the story goes next.
Controlling the game is something that is simple, but also a hassle at the same time. The controls are not hard to learn, but the way the game flows with those controls isn’t exactly optimal. You can move your character with the Left Analog Stick. You can attack with your weapon with the R trigger and defend or use your sub-weapon with the L trigger. The face and D-Pad buttons can be used to switch sub-weapons as well as interact with different objects.
The controls of the game has a guided system to help you cross various platforms. This is a helpful technique if kids are playing, but it doesn’t work the way it should. There are many cases where you will jump, the guiding system will move you to land on a platform, and you won’t land on the platform, resulting in you falling and dying. This is very apparent and happened to me in practically every stage where I was playing as a Jedi.
Aside from the guiding system, the control scheme is pretty easy to get used to. The game also does a nice job at explaining things to you in the first mission of the game.
This is where the biggest problems of the game are. If you’ve seen reviews of the other versions of the game, you will note that one of the biggest complaints is that the game didn’t look very good, visually. Many complained because the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game looked like PS2 games. The same complaint can be said here. On the Vita’s screen, the PSP version looks degraded, visually. There are jagged edges almost everywhere you look and it’s hard to look at, at times. Some games are hurt a bit by the stretching, but this game is hurt a lot by it, whether you’re on the PS Vita or PlayStation TV.
Another thing to note are the load times for stages. When you’re going from stage to stage, the load times for the game are going to be very long. We are talking 18-20 seconds or more for each stage. In some stages, I waited a good 30 seconds to get it to load. Thankfully, re-spawning happens seamlessly, but these loading sequences will irritate even the patient gamer.
The frame-rate is the next thing to discuss. The PSP version got props for getting the full console version of the game (whereas the Nintendo DS got a completely different, watered-down game that didn’t even have the same story), but it doesn’t play very well. Outside of boss fights where you’re stuck on a single platform, the frame-rate is extremely low for the game. Some stages have constant slow-down and others go back and forth between having somewhat smooth frames to sluggish.
One last thing to note about the presentation is freezing and glitching. There are a lot of situations where the system will glitch up and new story elements in stages will never load. I got into several endless loops with waves of enemies because the game wouldn’t initialize the next sequence to go to the next part of the stage.