Who's Making This Game: LucasArts, the developer/publisher that makes official video game adaptations for all of filmmaker George Lucas' Star Wars franchises, including the Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series, on which this game is based.
What the Game Looks Like: Republic Heroes looks like a colorful and cartoonlike game that very closely resembles the TV cartoon. This is probably because the game developers at LucasArts have full access to all the art assets from the cartoon show. In fact, the story is being written by the writers of the actual TV series and bridges the gap between seasons one and two of the show.
What There Is to Do: In Republic Heroes, you can play as one of two character types: Jedi or Clones. The game will have eight playable Jedi characters, including Anakin and Obi-Wan. It will also have new characters, such as Mace Windu. It'll have 10 playable Clone characters, six of which are characters from the TV show; four of which are original characters being created specifically for this game. As a Jedi, you will fight melee battles with your lightsaber and use your force powers to fight battles, navigate the world, and solve puzzles. Your catlike Jedi agility will also let you do some "droidjacking." This means you hop on top of any droid in the game and take control of it while riding on top of it; you can use its weapon systems to fire on enemies and any other abilities that droid has for your benefit. You can also do this to any droid in the game. As a Clone, you are a "grunt" soldier of the Republic who's generally sent in to sweep warzones clean for Jedi to come in and do their thing. Clones will have a variety of blaster weapons and can get new ones as pick-up items that drop from fallen enemies. They can also throw grenadelike thermal detonators.
How the Game Is Played: The game seems to be played like any third-person shooter but is intended to be accessible to players of all ages and skill levels. Jedi characters fight with their lightsabers and can perform dazzling lunges and combination swings, though there is only one attack button for Jedi characters, which should make things easy enough to pick up. Clones fire their blaster weapons with a clearly defined transparent firing arc superimposed onscreen to help guide your aim, and you can pick up heavier weapons, such as miniguns and rocket launchers, to blast enemy droids to bits. However, you fire simply nudging your right analog stick, and by pressing and holding it in circles, you can rotate your character 360 degrees while firing continuously, which is similar to such classic arcade games as Smash TV. You can also toss thermal detonators, which have a handy transparent arc that shows where your projectile will land. As in other third-person action games, you'll fight your way through enemies, explore new areas, solve puzzles, and collect "force orbs," which can unlock character hats and masks, as well as other hidden items.
What They Say: QA lead Troy Sims described Republic Heroes as being a game with lots of fun action, but one that's also going to be very accessible to players of all ages.
What We Say: It does look like Republic Heroes should be easy enough to play, and assuming the gameplay holds up, the simplified combat, item collection, and puzzle solving should be a very effective way to burn through a couple of afternoons for the young (or the young at heart). Republic Heroes is being released on September 8, 2009, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, PSP, PC, and in North America only, the PlayStation 2.