E3 2008: Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels Further Impressions

The Force seems strong with this upcoming Star Wars fighting game for the Nintendo Wii.


Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels

At E3 2008, there's a ton of buzz for LucasArts' upcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. But if you listen carefully, you will quickly realize that a major part of that hubbub is actually for a different game coming out on the Wii, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels. In this fighting game, based on the upcoming movie and television series, you will wield your remote like a lightsaber, slicing and dicing opponents as any of several beloved or feared characters, and even some new ones.

Admit it--you've often pretended that your Wii Remote was a lightsaber.
Admit it--you've often pretended that your Wii Remote was a lightsaber.

If you aren't familiar with the Clone Wars, it's the source of a 3D animated movie that will hit theaters in August, as well as a television series set to debut in October. Sometime after that, in the holiday season of 2008, Lightsaber Duels will land on the Nintendo Wii. Though we were not able to get our hands on the game, we saw a good deal of real gameplay featuring saber clashes, collapsing levels, and tense showdowns between characters old and new. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were on display and showing good form with their sabers, as was General Grievous. New to the scene was a character named Ahsoka Tano, who resembled a Twi'lek Padawan, but who is actually of the Togrutan race. A Togruta is like a Twi'lek, but whereas the latter has two lekku (or head tails), the former has three striped ones.

We witnessed an intense showdown between her and Grievous, in which the lightsaber controls were on full display. Despite Grievous' four sabers, he was no match for Ahsoka, controlled as she was by a nimble and deft demonstrator who made short work of the evil robot with controlled flicks of his wrist. We were told that a horizontal slash would be light and fast, a vertical slash would be medium in both regards, and that a thrust would be slow for heavy damage. We also saw commands during loading screens for each character's super moves. These required movements of the remote similar to what you might find in a Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat game, and are certainly the most ambitious controls ever attempted in a Wii fighting game. However, given the quickness and lethality of the demonstrator's moves, it seemed clear that with practice, anyone will be capable of some serious swordplay in Lightsaber Duels.

Hey, where did that third lightsaber come from?
Hey, where did that third lightsaber come from?

As if that doesn't sound cool enough, the game looks amazing and captures the exact look of the upcoming film and television shows. The characters are clearly drawn, they animate fluidly, and occasionally, they even crackle with Force power as they unleash devastating attacks on one another. This includes the ability to lift up environmental objects with the Force and hurl them in the direction of foes. If you think that sounds like a nifty environmental detail, you should have seen the level on display. At first, it seemed like a normal battle on a sky-high platform in a sky-high city. Then the first round ended and calamity struck in the form of a falling space ship. It struck the platform's support column, and sent the whole thing crashing down, down, down, as the Jedi pressed on with their dire battle. It looked epic, and so does Star Wars The Clone Wars: Lightsaber Duels for the Wii. Although there's still a lot that we don't know about this game, we look forward to training with it when it hits store shelves in the 2008 holiday season. May the Force be with it.

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