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Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures


Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures

Platform: PC Games
Category: Action Games, Adventure, Arcade, MMORPG, Puzzle, Racing

Thanks to Sony Online Entertainment, fellow staffer Gemma Francisco and I recently had the chance to get in the beta for Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures. This web-based, online game is obviously set in the Star Wars universe and is based on the television show, The Clone Wars. Clone Wars Adventures features a variety of mini-games and social aspects. It's family friendly and fun for children and adults alike. Not only did Gemma and I get to preview this new game, but we also got to go on an in-game tour with Lead Designer Matt Higby while discussing the game with him!

Clone Wars Adventures is played completely in a browser. Initially there's one small download and installation of a plug-in. After that, there are no more downloads. New areas and content are streamed to your computer as you access them. Clone Wars Adventures is free to play but offers additional content for a fee. By paying $5.99 (US) per month, you can unlock Jedi status. This gives various additional content, such as new mini-games, more levels in other mini-games, and items. In order to reduce over-crowding, players are divided across different servers. This isn't permanent and isn't even visible to players usually. The only way it's noticeable is that sometimes Gemma and I would be at the same location but unable to see each other. This was because we were on different servers. Luckily the game accounts for this by allowing you to teleport to a friend, bringing you to their server. Unfortunately we had some trouble getting the teleport function to work, but the idea was sound, and I'm sure the kinks will be fixed by release. Higby said that they'd like to eventually have the game automatically place you in the same server as your friends if they're already playing.

Like a lot of online games, Clone Wars Adventures features an online world in which your character exists. When you create your character, you can choose gender, species, and clothing. When I first created my character, the available species were human, clone (which is actually a human as well), and twi'lek. Later in the game you can customize your character more through the purchase of additional clothing and weapon options. Higby informed us that there are plans to allow these options to be changed later, although currently they can't be changed once set. Higby also said we can expect new species in the future! Before I even had to chance to post this preview, more races had already been added. You can now pay to be zabrak or togruta! Once your character's been created, you're free to walk around the world and explore. I made a clone because I've always really loved Clone Troopers.

While walking around, you're able to see other people as well as chat. Unlike some games that filter certain words, Higby informed me that they took a different approach with Clone Wars Adventures: Only certain words are allowed. This list of approved words is constantly growing, and it ensures that the game remains safe for younger gamers. I chatted in game for a while, and there were certain words that got filtered that seemed fine to me (usually less common words). Despite the filtering, I was still able to communicate just fine. Even names must be pre-approved! Players are given default names until their names are approved. In addition to the allowed word list, the chat is constantly monitored to guarantee safety. Most of this goes unnoticed but allows for children to remain safe while enjoying the game.

Another interesting aspect of the social experience in Clone Wars Adventures are the player houses. Currently there are two houses included in the game – the Jedi Living Quarters and the Padawan Dormitory. You're able to visit your own house or the houses of others and can visit in groups, adding to the social side of the game. In your own house you're able to decorate with various furniture that you've purchased in the game. When visiting a friend's house, you can give his or her house a thumbs up or thumbs down. I actually didn't spend much time with this feature, but it seemed pretty fun. What I liked most about player houses were the trophy rooms! Each house contains a trophy room that gives a public display of your accomplishments in the various games! I'm a sucker for those kinds of rewards in games, so I was happy to see it. Oh, what games, you asked? I guess I should get to that.

The mini-games are my favorite part of Clone Wars Adventures! Currently there are 19 different games available, and more are planned. Six of the current games are Jedi only, and some games that are available for everyone still have additional features only for Jedi members. My favorite games were Starfighter and Speeder Bike Racing. Starfighter is an on-rails space shooter. It's lots of fun and features 12 levels (eight of which are Jedi-only). Obviously it's kid-friendly like all of Clone Wars Adventures, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It can still provide quite the challenge! Speeder Bike Racing is a simple racing game in the spirit of more light racing games like cart racers. Just like with Starfighter, I had a lot of fun playing Speeder Bike Racing. This game even allows you to play with your friends! I had a blast playing Gemma and Higby. It has two levels available to everybody and four available only to Jedis. Other games, like the Daily Holocron, are less in-depth. Daily Holocron is a Jedi-only game that can be played once per day. It's sort of like playing the lotto, so make sure to check it daily! Games are full of trophies that are visible both in your profile and in your house.

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