In the single-player campaign, you are limited to playing as only Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka, and the simple fighting system negates the individual skills of each fighter. They are each rated in Force attacks, combos, Force energy, and speed, and though spry Ahsoka seems twice as fast as the plodding Kenobi, the nature of the fighting system forces you to play each character in exactly the same way. After you beat the campaign, you can unlock Dooku, Ventress, Mace Windu, Kit Fisto, Plo Koon, General Grievous, and EG-05, the Jedi-hunter droid created exclusively for Lightsaber Duels. Any character is available for a Challenge mode, but it's merely a series of goals within a battle, such as win in less than three minutes and execute two combos. You don't fully appreciate each individual character and the differences between them until you engage in multiplayer.
As expected, the more spontaneous actions of a friend remove many of the repetitious elements of single-player duels. Battles tend to be long and intense, if light on strategy; waggling as fast as possible is often effective. But characters such as Grievous and EG-05 are ridiculously overpowered. They don't have a Force meter or any Force powers, but they somehow have unlimited (and unblockable) Force strikes. If you miss with a Force strike, you leave yourself open for attack, but more often than not you blast right through your opponent's defenses and take off a good chunk of health in the process. And...repeat.
On the other hand, the arenas are excellent, and you'll do battle in Jabba's rancor pit with stormtroopers firing at you, or onboard Dooku's flagship as an epic space battle takes place in the distance. Each area has several tiers that can be reached via Force jump, and destructible items can be used to your advantage, such as thermal detonators. If you squint your eyes in the middle of a Force combo in these engaging arenas, it almost appears as if you're watching the animated series.
The Clone Wars introduces several new characters, including the dark assassin Asajj Ventress.
Although the game is technically proficient and accurate, it all comes down to how you view the animated features, which are clearly geared toward a younger set. With that in mind, Lightsaber Duels has superior production values that younger fans of the animated series will truly appreciate. Of course, there is also a set of disenfranchised older fans that have tried to erase The Phantom Menace from their memories and shudder at the thought of a Star Wars cartoon, but at this point, there may be no pleasing them.
For fans eager to finally wield a lightsaber, there will be no pleasing them, either. There is no suspension of disbelief due to the simplistic fighting mechanics and imprecise controls, and your dreams of feeling like an all-powerful Jedi remain unrealized. LucasArts gave it a great try, with faithful graphics, sound, and cinematic flair, but for legions of rabid Star Wars fans, it's do or do not. There is no try.